National Science Centre
National Science Centre in Delhi
The National Science Centre established in 1992, is a science museum in Delhi, India. It is part of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), an autonomous body under India's Ministry of Culture. It stands close to Gate no 1, of Pragati Maidan overlooking the Purana Qila.
Constructed in 8 floors, this museum houses working science exhibition as well as exhibits on the history of architecture. It has various sections for all age groups such as Heritage & Dinosaur gallery, Human Biology gallery, Fun Science Library etc. There are also a number of hands-on displays explaining the laws of physics. The Cyberlkool of this museum is the first fun-packed multimedia centre in the country. At least a whole day is required to go through this children's paradise.
History of National Science Centre
The National Science Centre is the northern zonal headquarters of the National Council of Science Museums. The first Science Museum under this Council, the Birla Industrial & Technological Museum came up on 2 May 1959 at Kolkata. Thereafter another Museum, the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum was opened in Bangalore in 1962. These Museums were inspired by the vision of Dr.Bidhan Chandra Ray, the first Chief Minister of West Bengal and was encouraged by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who always had a soft corner for scientific temper. Dr. Amalendu Bose, a young chemistry graduate at that time, was recruited by Dr.B.C.Ray to commission the first Museum at Kolkata. Thereafter several smaller centres came up, but for over two decades, there was a lull in the science museum movement in India.
The coming to power of Rajiv Gandhi saw a fresh impetus for science popularisation. The Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai came up as the third major Science Centre. During this period, the movement also witnessed a shift from traditional science museums like the London Science Museum, the Deutsches Museum etc. to what were called 'Science Centres' in the line of the Exploratorium in the USA. With Rajiv Gandhi inaugurating the Mumbai Centre, the Science Centre movement embarked on a period of explosive growth, with science centres opening in most state capitals of India. With Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai Centres functional, a need for a big Centre in the Nation's capital in Delhi in the north was felt, and work started in earnest in 1984. Starting with a small shed near a municipal swimming pool in R K Puram and thereafter within a shrub forest in Timarpur, the National Science Centre was conceived, designed, built and made operational in 1992. It was inaugurated on the January 9, 1992 by the then Prime Minister of India, P.V.Narasimha Rao and is situated between the Gate Nos. 1 and 2 of the Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds, on the Bhairon Road, across Purana Qila, Delhi. It is open all seven days a week from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM except on the Indian Festival days of Holi and Diwali. The building was designed by noted Indian architect Achyut Kanvinde.
Collections in National Science Centre
The entry plaza to the Centre welcomes its visitors with a huge exhibit spanning four floors, one of the largest exhibits in the world, “the Energy balls”, in which nylon balls six inches in diameter, are lifted to a height of fifty feet, letting them gain potential energy, and then dropped, letting them travel all kinds of paths, performing work to expend their potential energy into other forms of energy.
Next is a gallery on Human Biology - the miracle of Human Life. The gallery aims to portray the human body in all its aspects: anatomical, physiological, biochemical, structural, functional and systemic. The concept for the gallery arose out of the feedback that the Centre had been receiving from its visitors, to set up more exhibits on the Human Body, its structure and functioning. The Human Body is something, which we all possess and are familiar with, but at the same time, is an eternal source of mystery.
An escalator takes them up to the first gallery on the third floor - Our Science and Technology Heritage. Indian Heritage in Science & Technology has a long history of 4500 years. The exhibition on "Our Science and Technology Heritage" depicts how, in course of time, side by side with art and literature, there grew up on Indian soil, a very rich scientific and technological culture. In ancient Sanskrit texts, we can find shades of twentieth century thinking.
The next Gallery is Fun Science. This gallery is most liked by the younger visitors because this is full of hands-on exhibits explaining the fundamentals of science. Science has always been a subject which has been dealt with a lot of seriousness in schools. This text bookish approach has made science a very drab and uninteresting subject in the impressionable minds of young children.
Location of National Science Centre
The National Science Center in Delhi is a science museum located in Bhairon Road between Gate No. 1 and 2 of the Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds, across Purana Qila.
Other Places to visit
Moreover, there are many interesting places to visit in the close vicinity including Pragati Maidan, Craft Museum, Nila Gumbad, Purana Qila, Delhi Zoo, Sabz Burz, Nili Chhatri, India Gate, Ashokan Rock Edict, Nizam-ud-din's Shrine, Khairul Manzil and so on.
Shoppers Horlick Point
For those who like shopping can visit nearby shopping venues like the Sunder Nagar Market, Connaught Place, Central Cottage Industries, Janpath, and Palika Bazaar.
Timings and Closing Days
Timing: 10:00 am to 5.00 pm.
Closed: Holi & Diwali only.
How to reach
The nearest railway station from the science center is the Nizamuddin railway station and Pragati maidan is the nearest metro station, whereas the Indira Gandhi International Airport is the nearest international airport from the National Science Center. Approximate time required to see the entire center is over 1 and half hours.