Gurgaon, 31 March 2015: You love automobiles and you love Indian heritage, then just without telling anyone, take yourself somewhere, in those antiques, a destination called Heritage Transport Museum (HTM). The sweetness of design which you will taste, a design celebration… a shore of creativity mingling with automobiles. Such landmarks come from heart, with fountain of ideas.
Blessed at Bilaspur-Taoru, Gurgaon, this lovely place has lush green gardens surrounding the museum full of antique automobiles. Bring in your family over here and let everyone learn about the Indian automobile history. Relax around the garden, grab some food from the in-house catering and soak the day with your presence in truckloads of knowledge.
We tune our lips with melody of automobiles with Founder & Managing Trustee of Heritage Transport Museum, Tarun Thakral, he says, “I started my collection from 1994 when I was 20 years old. I was out of country for few years for my MBA. So there I realized everybody spends a lot of time on their hobbies. In India pressure of studies from parents is so much that we forget our interests. Then we lend up not collecting anything. All our focus is to get good job, have a nice family and then we should get a nice house.” Telling about his first car he said, “It was Morris Eight series E. But it didn’t work, I couldn’t start it, so I sold it that time only. Then I bought the 1932 Chevy which is still my favorite in the collection. And from there onwards the whole thing started.”
He further said, “Everybody was collecting, so I though let me move into other modes of transportation and that’s how I collected the other things. Everything you see over here is from India. All the collection and the museum is all India centric. So whatever things came to India are showcased over here.”
Did you plan the museum? Thakral says, “I didn’t plan a museum, I just started collecting and once the collection became very big then I didn’t know what to do with it. Every month I was trying to put a lot of money just to look after the collection. Then I thought of a museum and I approached Government of India and then they gave me help. That’s how this museum come alive. Museum was opened in December 2013.”
About the advancements in museum Thakral says, “Now many other collectors have expressed their interest to come and park their cars here. So you will see Rolls-Royce and Bentley very soon. We want to keep moving the collection. You will not come again if there is nothing new. That’s the problem with Indian museums, they become very boring because nobody changes it. So here we want to change it. The moment we start getting cars, we will take out this collection and we will put their collection for around 3 months. Then something else will come. Maybe in a year or two I expand the area of the museum.”
The museum is not just about automobiles, it’s full of creativity which will surely ignite your mind, talking over it Thakral says, “I look forward for more and more participation from the people especially youngsters. This is a museum for the country not just mine. All cars you see here are in working condition. We have just taken out the batteries. Creative add-ons with museum is what makes it successful because nobody does it. See if we just put cars it becomes very boring. Our role as museums is to inspire anybody who comes in. You will go back with this idea that they did something like this and you can come up with much better idea.”
Let’s define the landmark more properly, Heritage Transport Museum was launched by Heritage Transportation Trust which is a non-profit trust under the Indian Trust Act, 1882. It’s a centre for collection, research, preservation, education and display of Indian transport history, museum showcases the evolution of transportation in India on a 96,000 square feet area from 3.01-acre land. Essence of museum comes from exhibition galleries, library & reference centre, mini auditorium, museum souvenir shop, seminar rooms and a refreshment area.
Let’s take you to the museum floor by floor:
With vintage car advertisements around the wall you will enter into the basement which comes second after the first floor. We saw the old advertisements of Dodge, Chrysler, Standard cars, Daimler, Graham-Paige, Vulcan, Darracq, Chevrolet, General Motors and other car dealers.
Here you will witness more than 75 vintage & classic cars namely, three-wheel car Badal, 1951 Willys CJ 3-a Jeep, DC 4×4 car made for film Dil to Pagal Hai, 1969 Hindustan Ambassador Mark II, 1962 Standard Herald, 1935 Buick Series Limousine, 1969 Hindustan Ambassador Mark I, 1954 Hindustan Landmaster, 1948 Hindustan Twelve, 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, 1938 Ford V8 Phaeton, 1946 Ford Super Deluxe Station Wagon, 1954 Fiat 1100 Sedan, Standard 10, 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, 1946 Mercury Sedan, 1948 Hudson Commodore Sedan, 1946 Nash 600 Series Slipstream Sedan Delux, 1949 Studebaker Campion, 1957 Land Rover Series I (Short Wheel Base), 1932 Chevrolet Phaeton, 1954 Desoto Diplomat Convertible, 1962 Dodge Dart 8 440 Station Wagon, 1956 Plymouth Savoy, 1959 Plymouth Belvedere Series Sedan, 1960 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop Sedan, 1959 Chevrolet Belair Sedan, 1961 Chevrolet Brookwood Station Wagon, 1955 Oldsmobile Series 88 Sedan, 1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe 2 Door Coupe, 1946 Buick 50 Super Series Sedan, 1949 Pontiac Silver Streak, 1947 Chevrolet Station Wagon, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible and 1962 Pontiac Tempest Lemans Convertible.
Don’t miss: 1934 Humber Sinpe 80 Pullman Landaulette which was once owned by Raja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, former Maharaja of Koriya district in Chhattisgarh state. Under the hood his 7-seater car gets duty from 3498cc six-cyl. engine. Car is currently owned by Harit Trivedi.
You will also witness garages of old times, vintage petrol pump, traffic signs and old movie posters featuring automobiles.
This floor you will enter first after getting your ticket from the reception. You will learn about the evolution of chakra aka wheel which led the start of these amazing automobiles. View amazing aquatints & colored lithographs of Indian transportation of late 18th to mid 19th century.
From here you can also have a closer look to 1962 Chevrolet Car beautifully painted with round mirror glasses, art is titled as Multiplicity 2012 by Hetal Shukla.
Then comes the railway platform where you will see bogie of Jodhpur Saloon developed on order by Maharaja of Jodhpur, Jaswant Singh during the British period around 1880s. The carriage licensed as MG CT-20 originally belonged to Bombay Baroda & Central India Railway. It was built at Ajmer in 1930 which later got discontinued after Independence.
Then you will witness pre-mechanized gallery featuring 1900 AD rath & bullock carriages, 1910 Calcutta rickshaw, 1900AD DakGhary Horse-drivenPost Carriage, elephant Jhool, 20th century elephant Howdah, 20th century Cranchee Horse Hackney carriage and 20th century goat cart, palanquins & camel carts.
Then comes the heavy mechanized transports namely, 1969 Hindustan Bedford, 1960 Hindustan Bedford Van, 1952 International Bus, 1965 Dodge Bus, 1948 Fordson van, 1968 Volkswagen Kombi Van T2, 1967 Tata 1210 School Bus, 1962 Ashok Leyland Comet bus and Standard van. Don’t forget to have a closer look to staple pin sculpture by Pooja Iranna called Towards Another Journey.
As you open doors of Schindler elevator, you will witness maritime gallery showcasing Padua-Swen plank boat of Orissa, The Dragged Boat by G.R. Iranna and pictures of boat makers. Rare collection of match boxes on transport.
There is also a collection Indian toys section and discovery centre which will teach you about engines, brakes, transmission and many technicalities of automobiles. Then comes the wonderful presentation of aviation gallery with vintage airlines posters and scale models of aircraft. Experience an marvellous portrayal of flight moment titled as re(wind)ing by Baptist Coelho made in 2006.
Thereafter enter into rural transport gallery. Near to it is the two wheeler gallery displaying Vespa i50, Vijay Super Mark II, Salisbury Model 85, Royal Enfield, Lamby 150, bicycles and vintage advertisements of Jawa, BSA, Royal Enfield, CSEPEL.
Now you have arrived at the library & reference area which is attached to museum office. Spend time and relax here, choose from the variety of over 2000 books and learn more if your mind is not settling down. There are various books that were printed in the early 20th century.
Indulge yourself into exceptional paintings of Indian transport scene by Pramesh Paul. There is more into this contemporary arts gallery which displays furniture set made of bicycle wheel, Bajaj RE Auto designed by Yusuf Arakkal named as Wheels of Hope, another auto called Urban Tramp by George Martin.
Don’t miss: One-of-a-kind Hindustan Contessa Classic coated with 18,902 one rupee coins and named as Rupee Mobile.
Another stunning art of carved wood sculpture of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus named as The Threshold into a Dream made by T.V. Santhosh.
There is also a conference room built on this floor with a capacity of 300 people which can be used for corporate or special events.
Everyone at temple takes a full round around it before completing the whole puja. So we also did the same over here and found some more unique cars over there namely 1980 Maruti 800 DX, some old truck parts, lots of covered & rusted vintage cars, BMW 316i, Mercedes-Benz E 220, vintage FAHR tractor, vintage water trailer, Willy’s 4-wheel drive, 1990 Chrysler Imperial, Fargo truck, Bedford truck, vintage fire truck, Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI and Cadillac 6 door limousine built by Maloney coach.
It’s not just a museum, it’s more than that, much more when you make love… Defining it would be a guilt.
Tickets: Rs. 300 for single day, Rs. 150 for children under 12, Rs. 150 for students with ID
Museum is opened from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.
Address: Bilaspur-Taoru Road (Major District Road 132), Off NH 8 (Bilaspur Chowk), Taoru, Gurgon, Haryana 122105
Call: +91 99 914 77002, 99 914 87002