Organisations for cultural activities


Anthropological survey in India

Based in Calcutta, it is a research organization under the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Human Resources Development.  Since its inception in 1945, it carries out researches on bio-cultural aspects of the Indian population, particularly on the contemporary problems being faced by the tribes and weaker sections.  it conducts exploratory surveys in order to unearth, preserve and study the ancient human remains.

Archaeological survey of India

Founded in 1861 it is the leading institution for archaeological research and related activities.  It conducts programmes of large scale problem oriented exploration and excavation of prehistoric, protohistoric and other ancient sites, as also architectural surveys, landscaping around monuments, chemical preservation of sculptures, epigraphical research, publication of archaeological and epigraphical periodicals and books, etc.

Asiatic Society

The Asiatic Society,, Calcutta, was founded in 1784 by Sir William Jones, with the objective of inquiring into the history, antiquities, arts, science and literature of Asia.  This institution proved to be the fountainhead of all literary and scientific activities in India and patron of all the Asiatic societies in the world.  The society has a rich collection of rare books, manuscripts, coins, old paintings, inscriptions and archival materials.  Amongst its important activities is the publication of the Bibliotheca Indica, which consists of a series of oriental texts in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Bengali, Tibetan and other Asian languages and their translations.

Copyright Libraries

National Library, Calcutta; Central Library, Bombay; Connemara Public Library, Madras; and Delhi Public Library, Delhi are four Library entitled to receive a copy of every new book and magazine under the Delivery of Books and Newspaper (Public Libraries) Act, 1954.  These are known as Copyright Libraries.

Manuscript libraries

Libraries which excel in keeping and preserving ancient and medieval manuscripts have been named as Manuscript Libraries.  Among these are: Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Patna; Thanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library, Thanjavur; Rampur Raza Library; Asiatic Society, Calcutta; Government Oriental Manuscript Library, Madras; and Maulana Azad Aligarh Muslim University Library, Aligarh.

Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library

Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna established in 1891 was declared as an institution of national importance in 1969 by an act of Parliament.  It has a rich collection of over 18,000 Arabic and Persian manuscripts and over 2,000 Mughal and Rajput paintings besides 1,70,000 printed books.  More than 850 audio and 550 video tapes of eminent persons have been prepared.  It brings out a quarterly research journal.  The Library has published critical editions of 64 rarities.


TMSSM Library

The Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji’s Saraswati Mahal (TMSSM) Library, Thanjavur is one of the few medival libraries that exist in the word.  It symbolizes a priceless repository of culture and time defying treasure house of knowledge, built up by the successive dynasties of Nyaks and Marathas of Thanjavur.  The Library was made a public Library in 1918 by the Madras Government and was registered on 9 July 1986 as a society under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.  Now the Library is administered by both the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Centre for cultural resources and training

Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), set up in May 1979 as an autonomous organization  by the Government of India, is under the administrative control of Department of Culture.  The broad objectives of the CCRT have been  to revitalize the education system by creating an understanding and awareness among students about the plurality of regional cultures of India and integrating this knowledge with the education.  The main thrust is on linking education with culture and making students aware of the importance of culture in all development  programmes.

To fulfill these objectives, the Centre organizes a variety of training programmes for teachers, educators, administrators and students throughout the country.  It has also been organizing  academic programmes on Indian art and culture for foreign teachers and students.  Workshops are conducted in various art activities like drama, music, narrative art forms, etc., to provide practical training and knowledge in the arts and crafts.  In these workshops, teachers are encouraged to develop programmes in which the art from can be profitably utilized to teach educational curriculum.

Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts

IGNCA was established to commemorate the late Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi.  The centre launched in November 1985 as a fully autonomous trust, is visualized as a centre encompassing the study and experience of all the arts.  IGNCA comprises five main divisions: 1) Kala Nidhi; 2) Kala Kosa 3) Janapada Sampada; 4) Kala Darshana; and 5) Sutradhara.

Lalit Kala Akademi

Established in 1954 to promote the understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country.  The Akademi strives to promote this objective through exhibitions, publications, workshops and camps.  It honours eminent artists by electing them as fellows.  The Akademi publishes monographs, portfolios and journals.  It has a permanent artists’ studio complex at Garhi, New Delhi and Calcutta.

Sathitya Akademi

Set up in March 1954 for developing Indian literature, to set high literary standards, to foster and coordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them India’s cultural unity.  The Akademi hours persons by electing them as fellows and organizes literary gatherings, workshops, seminars, and writers’ meet to provide opportunities for writer to exchange views.  It has established four regional boards for the pursuit of international studies and has introduced a new programme ‘meet the author’ where eminent men of letters are invited to speak about their work.

Sangeet Natak Akademi

Set up in 1953 for the furtherance of the performing arts of India.  Through sponsorship, research and dissemination, it seeks an enhanced public appreciation of music, dance and drama, together with a quick exchange of ideas and techniques for the common gain of Indian performing arts.  It holds seminars and festivals, presents awards to outstanding performing artists, give financial assistance for theatre productions, extends financial help for traditional teachers and grants scholarship to students.


Started in 1977, this group wants to revive guru-shishya tradition in performing art.  Selected young people are given travelling expenses and modest allowances to live with select gurus.  A disciple roughly spends a month with his guru.  Gurus who accepted this project are Kelucharan Mahapatra of Odissi, Gangubai Hangal, a classical singer, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and D.K. Pattamal, the Carnatic Musician, among others.  The organization had organised more than 1,000 concerts, recitals, and lecture demonstrations of Indian classical music and dance.

National School of Drama

Established in 1959 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, to train theatre artists and promote theatre activities in the country.  It trains actors, directors and stage technicians.  Under the three-year training programmes, it awards scholarships to deserving students and also provides on-year fellowships.  It has organised regional theatre workshops and children’s theatre training courses so as to make available training facilities to local theatre enthusiasts and to facilitate training of its students in folk, traditional and regional theatre forms.

National Archives of India

National Archives of India (NAI), known until independence as Imperial Record Department was established on 11 March 1891.  It is the official custodian of all non-current records of permanent value of the Government of India and its predecessor bodies.  National Archives of India, an attached office of the Department of Culture, has four regional repositories at Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Pondicherry.

It houses several million public records, maps, private papers and microfilms.  Major activities include: assistance to ministries/departments in their record management  programmes, acquisition of private papers of national importance of\r records of Indian interest abroad, conducting research for improvement and updating of preservation techniques, giving financial assistance to institutions for preservation/documentation of manuscripts and other holdings of national consciousness among the masses through exhibitions, seminars, etc.

National Council for culture

Set up in 1983 by the Government for coordination of activities of institutions of arts, archaeology, anthropology, archives, museums and for providing guidelines for their future plans and programmes.

National council of science museum

Set up in April 1978 as an autonomous organisation with headquarters at Calcutta, for popularization of science through the two existing science museums in India, the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (Calcutta) and the Visvesvarayya Industrial and Technological Museum (Bangalore); and through the setting up of a chain of science museums and centres of various levels in different parts of the country.  The NCMS has set up a laboratory at Calcutta for research and training of museum personnel in all disciplines.

National Museum

Established in 1948, it is one of the premier museums of the country and its main activities are in the field of acquisition, exhibition, conservation, education and publication of art objects.

Allahabad museum

The Allahabad Museum was declared as an institution of national importance by the Government of India in 1985.  The Museum is famous for its collection of Bharhut, Bhumara and Jamsot sculptures and for the terracotta from  Kausambi, Bhita, Jhusi, Patliputra, Sarnath, Rajghat and Ahichhatra.  the Museum also has parapharnelia and family heirlooms of the Nehrus, including manuscripts of “An Autobiography” by Jawaharlal Nehru and a large volume of correspondence.

NRLC, Lucknow

The National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC), Lucknow, a subordinate office of the Department of Culture, Government of India, is a scientific institution engaged in the conservation of cultural heritage.  Its activities include conducting research in materials and methods of conservation, study of materials and technologies of art objects, training in conservation and rendering technical advice and assistance to museums and allied institutions.

A regional centre of NRLC for the southern region has been established at Mysore.  India, represented by a scientist of the laboratory, has been elected to the Council of the International Centre for the study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) for 1996-99.

National Gallery of Modern Art

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), a subordinate office under Department of Culture, is the only institution of its kind in India which is run and administered by the Government of India, represents evolution of the changing art forms from 1857 onwards.  The aesthetic and educational purposes persuade all activities of NGMA whose objective is to help people look at the works of modern art with understanding and sensitivity and in keeping with this, NGMA, Mumbai has been inaugurated on 23 December 1996.

Salar Jung Museum

The Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad derived its name from Salar Jung (I to III), the erstwhile soldiers to Nizams of Hyderabad.  It is a Museum of National importance and houses rare and varied art collections from all over the globe acquired by the Salar Jungs more specifically Nawab Mir Yusuf Alim Khan, the Salar Jung-III (1889-1949).

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manv Sangrahalaya, an autonomous organization under the Department of Culture, Government of India, is dedicated to the depiction of an integrated story of humankind in global perspective with special focus on India.  The  Sangrahalaya is being developed in the picturesque 200 acre site as a predominantly open air museum, supported by an indoor display related to three broad fields: a) human evolution and variation b) culture and society in pre and proto-historic times; and c) contemporary cultures.  It has already developed four open air exhibitions depicting tribal habitat, life in coastal villages, life in desert village and heritage of Indian pre-historic rock art through life size exhibits in authentic environmental settings.  The museum has 36 pre-historic rock shelters with about 1,000 to 6,000 year old paintings.

Festivals of India

Since 1947,  India had entered into cultural exchange programmes with a number of countries.  Currently, India has cultural exchange programmes with 73 countries and cultural agreements with 106 countries.  Festivals of India have so far been held in UK, France, USA, Sweden, USSR, Japan, Germany, China and Thailand.  Reciprocally, Festivals of USSR, France, Sweden, Japan and China have been held in India.