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National Museum – Chhauni


National Museum, the fist public museum of Nepal till 1938 was not opened to general public. It was an arsenal museum and repository of weapons as well as a private collection of Royal family and Rana Prime Ministers. It was accessible to the general public in 1938 AD and was named as “Chhauni Silkhana“. The rate of first entrance fee was |4 paisa for children and |8 paisa for adults (Paisa – small unit of Nepalese Currency). It was renamed as Nepal Museum in 1942. It was formally named as National Museum (Rastriya Sangrahalaya ) in 1967. Ever since its inception, the museum has collected thousands of pre-historical,  archaeological, history and culturally important objects and thus occupies as very prominent position as a repository of ancient Nepalese art, culture, sculpture and painting.

National Museum has three exhibition buildings in its premise named as Historical building, Juddha Jatiya art gallery and Buddhist art gallery. Its collections are able to give clear and detail information about Nepalese art and culture to its visitors.

Historical Building

The main building, as the birthplace of Nepalese museum is called the Historical Gallery. First Prime Minister General Bhimsen Thapa had built this building or the purpose of military barrack. The influence of French architecture can be seen in this building. Till 1938 it was used as repository of arms and weapons because it was popularly known as Slikhana.

National Museum
The main Historical Building of National Museum

In 1938 A.D. it was officially opened for general public with the name as Chhauni Silkhana Museum. The building consists of a courtyard where various kinds of worshiping are made on the auspicious occasion of Dashain and Chaitra Dashain. The main building consists of many galleries with different type of collections.

The Art Gallery (Juddha Jatiya Kalashala)

The Art Gallery is located just opposite to the main historical gallery. The architectural style of this building represents typical features in many respects. The building is named as ‘Juddha Jatiya Kalashala‘ after the name of then Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher who had built the building with personal spending in 1999-2000 B.S. This building was the first building constructed for the museum purpose.

National Museum Nepal
Juddha Art Gallery

In the narrative panels of the main entrance, there are beautiful images which reflect the events of nativity of Buddha as explained in the Buddhist jatak literature. On the upper part of the entrance, there are images depicting the event of samundra manthan which means churning the ocean based on the Hindu mythological story. As the building was designed for a museum, the main entrance appears to have been a rough copy of torana of Sanchi stupa in India from first century B.C.

This building also provides numerous galleries for the exhibition of various Nepalese art forms in stone, terracotta, bronze, wood and painting.

Buddha Art Gallery

The Buddhist Art Gallery is here with the spectacular display of rare Buddhist exhibits of archaeological and iconic-graphical importance. It is important to note that the Buddhist Art Gallery was established with the Cultural Grant Program in 1995 and grant assistance for grass roots project (1996) from the government of Japan. It was inaugurated by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino of Japan in 28th, February 1997.

The interiors of the gallery are well designed. The ground floor has been divided into three sections; the southwest Tarai – the birthplace and palace area of Lord Buddha, Kathmandu Valley – the center of Buddhism and Northern Himalayan Zone with some Buddhist arts of High Himalayan region.

National Museum- Buddha art Gallery
Buddha Art Gallery

The Tarai section contains extremely rare and valuable art and antiquities discovered from the excavation of Lumbini and Kapilvastu. A few of the significant stone, bronzes and wooden sculptures and many ritual objects of the Newar-Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley are displayed in the Kathmandu section. The Northern Himalayan section displays small miniature bronze models of skull shaped cups, purbhadorje, as the accessories of Buddhist rituals.

The first floor is named as the Mandala Gallery, which was specially designed by Prof. Tachikawa, from the Ethnological Museum of Osaka, Japan. The mandala represents a symbolic diagram in Tantric Buddhism, which is considered as ‘universe’ endowed with sacred values. All around the body of mandala, 220 Bodhi sattvas are painted in the panel in various colors.


SAARC Countries

Per Person Rs. 50
Still Camera Rs. 75
Movie Camera Rs. 150

Foreign Countries

Per Person Rs. 150
Still Camera Rs. 100
Movie Camera Rs. 200


Adult Rs. 25
Children Rs. 10
Still Camera Rs. 50
Movie Camera Rs. 100

Museum Visiting Time

Every Monday (Both Season) 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Summer Season 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Winter Season 10:30 – 3:30 PM

** Tickets Sale on Monday until 2:00 PM

** Tickets Sale on Ordinary Days (Summer) until 4:00 PM

** Tickets Sale on Ordinary Days (Winter) until 3:00 PM

** The Museum  remains closed on Tuesday and other public holidays.


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