Bookmark and Share

National Archives of India

The Indian Government has its exclusive National Archives of India (NAI) which is a major source of gathering all those records that turn non-current. NAI functions this important role with complete secrecy and trust so that such information could be used by the scholars and administrator anytime in the future. It had been originally setup in Calcutta (Kolkata) in the year 1891 as Imperial Record Department keeping in view records of British India’s capital city. Today’s NAI is located in Delhi’s major location at Janpath and Rajpath intersection. Coming under Indian Government’s Ministry of Culture, this office works as an Attached Office with the Department of Culture.


By naming G.W. Forrest to head the Imperial Record Department post its establishment on 11 March 1891 in Calcutta (Kolkata), this department began operation thereafter. Once India had its new capital in Delhi this office was shifted to New Delhi in the year 1911. By 1926, this department got its full-fledged new building and shifted there. The new building was architectural outcome of eminent architect Edwin Lutyens as one out of the four selected buildings designed. This building was used to develop as museum cum archive once Lutyens’ 'Point B' city plan to complete in the city at a location that was the King’s Way and Queen’s Way intersection. This building was the one built while others couldn’t be completed. The neo-classical styled building remained Imperial Record Office for years.

Former president of India, Shri K.R. Narayanan declared on 6 July 1998 the "Museum of the National Archives" open for the common masses. With an aim to develop interest of common masses in the archival holdings of the country, this museum plays crucial role as representative to upkeep and to overview many important items which have been archived through National Archives Department.

By now the NAI has already established its regional offices in the cities of Bhopal besides its crucial Record Centres at Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Pondicherry to fulfil its purpose.


Beginning from the year 1748, all holdings in the National Archives have been archived in the proper series. The major languages in which such records are archived are English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Modi and Urdu amongst others. Key materials for that purposes are those in the category of paper, palm leaf, parchment and birch bark et al. With four categories of records including Public Records, Oriental Records, Private Papers and Manuscripts, they are maintained systematically.