Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Mysore Rail Museum

An old brake van doubles up as the ticket counter, and ancient iron seats are used as swings. Where else can you see such sights, but at a Rail Museum?

Set up in 1979, the Mysore Rail Museum was the second such museum to be set up in India, after the National Rail Museum in Delhi.

The brake van, being used as the ticket counter

And the swing..made of an old train seat

Like the one in Delhi, this too is an open air museum, spread over a garden, which has been allowed to grow wild at places, with the old, discarded engines and coaches standing here and there, blending into the wilderness. Some have been provided a canopy, which is supposed to preserve them from the elements, but better maintenance would be needed, to preserve them for posterity.

An old railway signal...
The best part of the Rail Museum is the detailed explanation for each and every engine or machine on display. More than the explanation, it is the mode of explanation which makes the description interesting. Take a look at a couple, and you will understand why I loved them!

This steam pump reminded us of Samhith's Thomas the tank engine books!

The inspection car was fun to enter, since it has been maintained just the way it was (well, almost)
Besides, they are all kept open, which makes the entire display even better. Climbing into every engine and coach is not just fun, it also gives us an idea of just what travel was like, in bygone days.

Imagine yourself inside one of these – a narrow gauge coach, built in 1927…

Samhith tries out the narrow gauge coach seats
Or think of operating one of these – a travelling crane, used for loading and unloading heavy items from goods vans, and also used during accidents. Though this is over a century old, built in 1885 at a cost of Rs.4734, it has been restored, and is still in working condition.

While I walked around, lost in the past, Samhith had a blast, trying every gear and wheel in sight, and he ran and climbed excitedly, in spite of the searing summer heat.

The USP of the museum, at least for kids, is the toy train which runs on rails around the park, even going through a tiny tunnel.

For us, however, the USP was this Austin Rail Car…

Brought to India in 1925, this was a regular Austin car, which served several owners before being sold as scrap. Eventually, it was found by a railway man who resurrected it, and also replaced its regular wheels with rail wheels, thus converting it into a railway car. It worked for years, carrying officers on inspection before finding its way to the museum. It was nuggets like these which made the museum really interesting.

There are two enclosed sections in the museum, both filled with interesting items. The Chamundi Gallery is a small gazebo like structure, filled with old photographs, drawings, letters, postcards and such items, collected over the years.

More interesting is the Sriranga Pavillion, which houses items from old trains, engines and coaches. The highlight here is of course, the Mysore Maharani’s Saloon, the companion to the Maharaja’s Saloon, which is now at the National Rail Museum, Delhi.

Built in 1899 at the exorbitant cost of Rs.29,508 /- , this has every comfort the royal women might need. Attached bathroom and kitchen-cum-dining car aside, the bedroom of the saloon has a gilded ceiling, fitted with chandeliers and fans! And of course, an ornate bed!

The bedroom part of the Maharani Saloon

The Mysore state emblem emblazoned outside the Saloon

A view of the kitchen-cum-dining car 

While such opulence would be expected in a royal saloon, this part of the museum also shows us what the first class coaches would have looked like, in those days… going by the accessories on display here, first class travel was truly first class!

Chairs, mirrors and desks, all from first class coaches!

But these aren’t all. There are loads of other interesting things.. such as this miniature railway track….

Miniature engine, to show how the steam engine worked… 

Here is a miniature goods van…

And then here are some of the actual things used in trains… to run them, such as these signal lamps and fish plates.

Clocks used in the Mysore State Railways..

And a model of the Loka Pavani Bridge, between Bangalore and Mysore

I can go on and on, and show you every item displayed here. But that isn’t the purpose of this post. The purpose was to show you just how interesting we found this museum, and, hopefully, to encourage you to visit when you are in Mysore.


Location: The Mysore Rail Museum is located very near the Mysore Railway station, opposite CFTRI (Central Food Technology and Research Institute) on Krishnaraja Sagar Road.

Timings: The museum is open every day between 10:30 AM and 5:30 PM. During lunch, there might be no attendants around, since they go for lunch, but the museum remains open.


  1. nice one!!!! place to be visited

  2. museum looks spacious. thanks for taking us through your nice clicks.

  3. Nice account, Anu! Basically, the museum looks just like the one in Chanakyapuri. The signal was a semaphore signal and it was really good.. Thanks for making me revisit my collection and making me think about the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri.

    1. Thanks Akshay. yes, it is similar to the one in delhi. in fact, it is even better maintained. i remember the delhi museum from my childhood and it was a vibrant place then, the place looks almost dead now, comparatively of course. in that sense, i enjoyed the mysore one more. and what collection are u talking of? photos or actual model trains?

  4. Is it just coincidence that a friend of mine in Mysore visited the museum today? :) I had been in Mysore for over 2 years and never once heard anyone talk about visiting this place and now in one single day, I see two instances related to it.

    So its added to my list to see next time I visit Mysore.

    Well written and arranged with pictures :-)

    1. Thanks Vivek! Maybe the world is conspiring so that you go visit the Museum!!! hope you can visit soon!


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

The Power of 8 - The Ashta Dikpalas and Ashta Vasus at Khajuraho

The four cardinal directions form the axis on which a temple is built, and are thus the basis of temple architecture. Leading from them are the eight directions, which are believed to be guarded by the eight guardians, or Ashta Dikpalas . In the temples of Khajuraho, great care has been taken by the sculptors to carve the Ashta Dikpalas on the walls, both inside and outside. They not only guard the temple, but also look over us as we circumambulate the shrine, protecting us by their presence. They are augmented by the Ashta Vasus , celestial beings which represent natural phenomena. Together, they enhance the idea of the temple as cosmos, enfolding within it, all the aspects of nature, both, on earth, as well in space.

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis