Friday, April 22, 2011

Joshi's Miniature Railway Museum - A Delightful Experience

Tucked away in a small lane in the suburban middle class Kothrud area, in a quiet house that serves as a commercial establishment, is the Joshi's Miniature Railway Museum, the only one of its kind in India. As the name indicates it is a museum with several miniature railways running over a carefully built model of a city complete with highways, mountains, factories, a circus, railway stations, little people walking dogs (2000 little people), waiting for trains, clapping at the trapeze artists, a drive in theatre, a commercial district, and so much more. Several train models run through these tracks, even the cars start moving just as the circus does too.
Pooja and I at the dummy guard van at the entrance

The Joshi's museum is easily found once you are in Kothrud, next to Sangam Press. An entry fee of Rs. 80 and you are allowed in after a few minutes in which the railway system is activated. There are so many things that are like trains - a guard van dummy at the entrance, a restaurant that has a train and compartment models, small miniatures in a glass case, little nuggets of information. Once the signal is given you can go up and into the room where the entire model is laid out, fragile, detailed and delicate. Once the operator confirms your preferred language, the show begins!

It has a fine voice over talking to children, leading them into a fantasy land. A sprinkle of water from the heavens and we are in the magic land of trains. And as the voices tell us tales and explain the various parts of the layout start moving. Trains start zooming off, cars start and take off, goods trains, ICE trains speeding, trains running up and down mountainous caves it is wonderful to watch and the kids laugh and smile with joy. Why just the kids, even the adults. The lights go on and off to show the sky (stars and plants as seen on April 16, 1853 the day when the first train ran in India to Thane). And at the end of some twenty five odd minutes, the wonderful show comes to an end, with the heavenly water being sprinkled on you again.

Check out the website and the numbers astound you. This is the result of more than 40 years of making railway models. First begun in 1998, draws 30,000 visitors a year. 1000 wires going out of the control panel, adding up to a length of 5 km, 65 signals, fences, lampposts, fences all made by hand, a fully functional railway station yard with 6 platforms, announcement systems, main lines, goods loading facilities, cranes etc. The trains themselves are of different varieties - Steam engines, Diesel engines, High Speed ICE (Inter City Express), Underground trains, Trolley bus, Rope Railway, Furnicular Railway, Wuppertal Hanging Railway. It is wonderful.

If you're in these parts and have an hour to spare do go and visit. And you can always cool off and have a delectable snack at the snack bar afterwards!
For more information please visit

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