Come March 2011, India will get its own Heritage Transport Museum that will narrate the country’s journey in personal and public transport over the last 200 years.
Spread over 6.5 acres on the outskirts of Gurgaon, flanked by factories of Maruti, Hero Honda and numerous other auto component makers, the project has already received a Rs 6-crore grant from the government, the largest so far for such a purpose, that covers half of the total cost of around Rs 12-14 crore.
“India has had a fascinating transport story and it is about time that we chronicle it like it ought to be,” said Tarun Thakral, founder of Heritage Transportation Trust (HTT), which is setting up the project.
“The construction of the building will be over by the end of this year and we intend to throw it open by March.”
From vintage carriages, carts, rickshaws, cars, commercial vehicles lithographs to even vintage rail saloons and aircrafts, the list of what the museum will house is long. But Thakral, a hotelier by profession and an avid collector of vintage cars and commercial vehicles, does not want it to be another drab academic structure.
“Museums in India are perceived to be very dull and devoid of colour,” he said. “The HTT will try to change that. There will be something in it for everybody and the intention is to make a visit to this place informative as well as entertaining. So we are also looking at maybe conducting some rides on old carriages and rickshaws that no longer ply on the roads today.”
There will be a commercial aspect to the museum as well. With so many automobile factories around, the museum will have an auditorium, conference and meeting rooms where white collar executives from the auto industry may script billion dollar deals.
“What better place to discuss automobiles than in an area where you are surrounded by them,” Thakral added. “Our main revenue generation would also be through this.”