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This Amazing Museum In Goa Will Show You How Smugglers Worked In The 1800s

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If you have time to visit only one museum, then we recommend the Indian Customs & Central Excise Museum. Why? Because you will only find it in Goa.

What Makes It Awesome?

It is a first of its kind museum, and it is a great place to see the evolution of the Customs & Excise practices from ancient times till date. The building by itself is a heritage property, it’s now popular name, the ‘Blue Building’ came from ‘Indigo’ dye, a major commodity that was traded during the Portuguese rule and it’s bright blue colour on the exterior.

It displays some rare items seized from smugglers over decades if not centuries. Sourced from customs warehouses across the country, it displays the craftiness employed by smugglers to avoid custom duties over centuries. It also showcases how it has been instrumental in protecting the culture and natural heritage by rescuing stolen artifacts. And not to mention also the lives saved by seizing good that were illegal, be it guns, bombs, drugs etc.  

Some of the most prized items in the museum include the gold-gilded idol of Jambala. Smuggled into India from Nepal, it was seized by customs officials in Gorakhpur. The other one could be the priceless, handwritten copy of the Ain-e-Akbari, which was seized by customs officials in Patna, while smugglers were trying to take it out of the country.

The ground floor gallery has various displays including artifacts, wildlife pieces and the modus operandi of smugglers and the first floor gallery is for central excise and narcotics items.

The most fun has to be the ‘Gallery of Wits’, showcasing the machinations of smugglers and how they were caught by the even smarter plans of the Customs officers.The heritage gallery explains through models the gradual evolvement of customs and moves over thousands of years going back to Indus Valley civilization. During which time, a dock in Lothal {now in Gujarat}, tax was collected from ships coming into the port even in those times.

Prominently also displayed are how smugglers use opium to manufacture heroin and other drugs, and a lab showing how these drugs are tested by excise and customs officials. Then a salt hedge which was built by the British across the country, primarily to collect salt tax.

Pro-Tip

It operates daily except on Mondays, from 9.30am to 5.00pm, and is located opposite the Jetty, in what they call the Captain of Ports Building, Panjim, Goa.

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