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Cultural Institutions of India – UPSC

Cultural Institutions

Cultural Institutions of India: In India, there are organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the country. These groups, both government and non-governmental, work tirelessly to safeguard and celebrate the diverse traditions that make up Indian culture. Some notable examples include the Archaeological Survey of India and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Their mission is to ensure that the vibrant tapestry of Indian culture is not only preserved but also shared and cherished for generations to come.


  • Cultural institutions have a clear goal. They exist to preserve, explain, and share knowledge about culture, science, and the environment. Their mission is not just to store information but also to educate and engage people.
  • These institutions play a role in conserving, interpreting, and spreading information about various aspects of culture, history, science, and the environment. They are like guardians of our shared knowledge and heritage.
  • Think of places like museums, where you can explore artifacts and learn about history, or libraries that house a wealth of knowledge in books. Historical and botanical societies, as well as community cultural centers, also fall into this category.

Some of these prominent institutions are:

1. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

  • In 1861, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was established, and it now operates under the Ministry of Culture.
  • Since its inception, the ASI has grown into a significant organization with offices, branches, and circles all over India.
  • The main duties of the ASI include taking care of centrally protected monuments and sites, ensuring their conservation, protection, and maintenance.

2. Indira Gandhi National Centre For The Arts

  • The India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) is a big deal when it comes to promoting knowledge in arts and culture. They’re all about exploring how arts and culture connect with different aspects of life and other fields of study.
  • It kicked off in 1985 and is named after Smt. Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India. So, it’s kind of a tribute to her.
  • IGNCA is like a cool club that encourages people from all walks of life to get into arts and culture. They want to create a vibe where everyone, regardless of culture, region, or economic status, can mingle and understand each other. Plus, they’re all about making connections between India and other countries.
  • IGNCA isn’t just about the artsy stuff; it’s also a powerhouse for collecting and storing info. They’ve got this National Data Bank thing going on, and it’s like the go-to place for anything related to arts, humanities, and cultural heritage in the country.

3. All India Radio

  • All India Radio (AIR) stands out as the nation’s most famous radio station dedicated to public service.
  • The Indian Government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting manages and operates AIR.
  • AIR’s motto, ‘Bahujan Hitaya: Bahujan Sukhaya,’ reflects its commitment to serving, educating, and entertaining the public.

4. Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

  • Back in 1929-30, when the British were still ruling India, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was originally meant to be the official residence for the last British Commander-in-Chief.
  • After the British left India, the place got a new name – Teen Murti House. This was the spot where the final British military boss stayed.
  • Then, when India got its independence, Teen Murti House became the home of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister. Nehru lived there for a good 16 years.
  • When Nehru passed away in 1964, the government decided to turn Teen Murti House into something special in his honor. They transformed it into a museum and library, now known as the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).

5. Centre for Cultural Resources and Training

  • The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) was set up in 1979 by the Ministry of Culture.
  • Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan and Smt. Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay played key roles in its founding.
  • Although it operates autonomously, CCRT was established with a national mission.
  • The government expects CCRT to contribute to the nation’s growth by connecting education and culture.
  • CCRT is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It has three Regional Centres located in Udaipur (west), Hyderabad (south), and Guwahati (north-east).
  • CCRT’s primary goal is to spread awareness and appreciation of Indian art and culture.
  • It aims to achieve this by integrating education and culture in a meaningful way.

6. National Archives of India

  • This organization is among the first British groups set up to keep track of administrative records in India.
  • Professor G.W. Forrest is the brains behind this archive, also referred to as the “Imperial Records Department.”
  • The archive was created in 1891 and had its roots in the former British capital of Calcutta, which is now known as Kolkata.

7. Indian Council for Cultural Relations

  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) came into being in 1950 under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture.
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the visionary behind its creation, was passionate about fostering global connections through the promotion of Indian culture.
  • ICCR’s primary mission is to execute initiatives that showcase and celebrate Indian culture worldwide.

8. Indian Council of Historical Research

  • The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) came into being in 1972, thanks to the Societies Registration Act.
  • ICHR is not dependent on others for funds. Instead, it stands on its own feet and gets financial support from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • One of its main purposes is to protect and promote the rich history of India.
  • It acts as a hub where historians come together. They share and discuss not only their ongoing projects but also new and exciting ideas in the field of history.

9. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)

  • INTACH, short for the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, is a non-profit organization located in New Delhi, established in 1984.
  • The primary aim of INTACH is to increase awareness about our rich history and inspire individuals to actively participate in its preservation.
  • Think of “Chapters” as the various branches of the organization, each playing a crucial role in carrying out the mission of safeguarding our cultural and historical heritage.

10. Sahitya Akademi

  • In 1954, the Indian government established the “National Academy of Letters,” also known as Sahitya Akademi. The main goal of this organization was to be a national hub for encouraging literature in India.
  • It aimed to foster and coordinate literary works in all Indian languages, contributing to the overall cultural richness of the country. Additionally, Sahitya Akademi played a vital role in promoting national unity by celebrating the diversity of languages and literature across India.

11. Sangeet Natak Akademi

  • In 1952, the Indian government set up the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) as the nation’s first academy dedicated to the arts.
  • The primary aim was to create a platform for showcasing Indian music, theatre, and dances on a national level.
  • The SNA was envisioned as a significant venue for the performing arts in India, with the responsibility of promoting the rich intangible heritage expressed through music, dance, and theatre.
  • It faced the challenging task of preserving and highlighting India’s diverse cultural legacy in these art forms.

12. Lalit Kala Akademi

  • In 1954, the Indian government set up the National Academy of Art, commonly known as Lalit Kala Akademi, to boost the world of fine arts in the country.
  • This academy operates independently and receives backing from the Ministry of Culture.
  • Its main goal is to encourage the understanding and love for the diverse forms of beautiful arts.
  • While the academy engages with both national and international art, its main focus is on supporting and safeguarding Indian art.


Cultural institutions are like the guardians of our heritage. They not only take care of preserving and revitalizing our cultural treasures but also make sure we can all connect with them. These institutions play a crucial role in helping us understand and appreciate different cultures, encouraging conversations between them, celebrating diversity, and passing down our rich cultural legacy to the next generations. In essence, they’re the storytellers and keepers of our collective history and traditions.

Read Also: Indo-Islamic Architecture – UPSC

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