If you are traveling to Goa and have some time on your hands, I would highly recommend a visit to the Indian Customs & Central Excise Museum (Custom Musium) in Panaji.
This Museum will surely enlighten you with a very different experience of being in Goa. Museum will help you learn about the unfamiliar methods of smuggling good into the border, by showing you some of the various ways by which smugglers tried to avoid the tax laws.
The museum will also teach you a lot about the evolution of the Custom and Excise practices conducted in ancient times here in our country.
The museum is famously known as the ‘Blue Building’ and was once called the ‘Alfadega’, a name put forth by the Portuguese.
The Custom Excise Museum of India is the only museum of its kind, situated on the Mandovi River, in the beautiful city of Panaji.
- 1 Information and geography about the Customs Museum
- 2 Galleries inside the Customs Museum
- 3 Timing and Entry Fee at Customs Museum
- 4 How to get to the Customs Museum
- 5 Things to do around Panjim
Information and geography about the Customs Museum
The Custom museum, built in a Portuguese kind of style with tall doors, broad wooden staircases, and a huge hall, is now well over 400 years old. As you enter this blue building, you will come across a chapel on the right-hand side. The wall panels on either side of the walls of this textured building, allows you to see the tax structure in India.
The building is considered to be a heritage property, displaying rare items taken from smugglers over the earlier centuries. The building also displays the methods, crafts and tricks that the smugglers used to avoid custom duties. This museum teaches us the importance of the custom service in India, and its significance in protecting dangerous and toxic goods from being smuggled across our border.
Galleries inside the Customs Museum
1. Heritage Gallery
On the ground floor of the Museum of Excise, there is a gallery known as the heritage gallery which begins with explaining and showcasing the first documented port in the history of India, situated in Lothal.
The Arthshastra’s is also highlighted and displayed in the heritage gallery along with the ‘Aina-e-Akbari’, the tax structure documented during the times of the Mughal Emperor Akhbar.
The history of the building (Custom Museum) itself is depicted through various paintings and sketches put on display here.
2. Battle of Wits Gallery:-
The ‘Battle of Wits gallery’ is famously known by all those who come to the Custom Museum as the best gallery from the entire collection displayed here. This gallery shows you the tricks and tools used by smugglers over the ages to smuggle in goods.
The extra-ordinary stuff displayed here include Specially designed cars, airplane toilet seats, and special sole shoes, etc.
‘The Battle of Wits Gallery’ takes you into the dimensions of the cunning but yet creative minds of the thieves and smugglers. The most common smuggling of goods done by the smugglers are of animal parts, such as rhinos horns, or elephants tusks. Some of which you can witness over here in the Custom Museum in Panaji.
3. Other Galleries inside the Museum
The rest of the galleries focus on the various finance budgets of India. That decides the tax structure for the coming years. Finance ministers and their policies are the highlights of this section. You can even hear some of the budget speeches by them. A big hall at the top of the building shows paintings and sketches of various customs and excise buildings across the country, especially on the ports in India.
Timing and Entry Fee at Customs Museum
Tuesday to Sunday : 9.30 am to 5 pm
Entry Fee – Rs 10/-.
Children and Students free.
The Indian Customs & Central Excise Museum,
Opp. Panaji Jetty ,
How to get to the Customs Museum
The museum is located just opposite the main ferry station at Panjim, along the Mandovi River road. It is pretty straightforward getting to the site since it is at a very amiable location to visit. Visitors will have to either catch a bus from the Panaji Bus stop and get off at the Panaji Ferry crossing. Or you can hire a taxi or come by car directly to the site.
Things to do around Panjim
Being the capital of Goa there are a lot of exciting places in Panjim.
- The Panjim Church lying hidden in the top of Panjim city. It is one of the most beautiful churches in the Goa. Also known as Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church.
- like Kala Academy which is the home of theatre in Goa. One can catch an evening performance of Goa theatre, known as theatre over here. Kala Academy is an unusual place of creativity and is worth a site visit.
- Other places around Panaji include the gardens, such as Garcia de Orta just below the church
- The Palace of Adil Shah, which stands facing the Mandovi River as you get into Panjim City.
- Miramar Beach which is just a few kilometers away and can be reached by bus from Panjim city.
Come and visit the Custom Museum to learn something invaluable and new. You will be fascinated by what you will see, and some of the showpieces may make you feel that you made a great decision by choosing something new.
Maybe some of the ideas may infuse you with creativity to try and be innovative in the right way, unlike the smugglers who used their creativity for breaking the law and doing wrong.