The Swatantra Sangrahalaya is also known as the 'Museum of Indian Independence Movement' and is located within the Red Fort Complex in Old Delhi. You will need to enter Red Fort from Lahore Gate to reach this Museum situated on the left hand side immediately after crossing Chatta Chowk and is easily accessible by local transport and from Kashmere Gate Metro Station.
The Swatantra Sangrahalaya Museum, as the name suggests, is a centre of historical and National significance and interest. It strives in preserving all the memorabilia relating to the heroic struggle of Indians during their first battle of Independence dating back to their first attempt during the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857. This was the period when the Northern and Central parts of India revolted against the British Rule between 1857 and 1859. It all started when rumours spread across the country stated that the Indian Sepoys who were a part of the East India Company British Army were greatly disillusioned due to religious prejudice, plans to convert Indian Sepoys to Christianity, loss of their castes due to their overseas travel, Low Salaries and racial discrimination with promotions granted only to British Sepoys for Higher ranks and other factors like ill treatment of the Ex-Peshwas and Mughal Rulers, Political factors like the annexation policy and stripping Mughal descendants off their royal title and moving them to Qutb from their ancestral palaces affected the Indian mass as a whole and angered the mob.
The use of Cow and Pig fat in cartridges of the 1853 Enfield Rifles which had to be bitten by the Indian Soldiers before loading them into the Rifles triggered the final insult to Indian Hindus and Muslims and finally on 10th May 1857, the Indian Sepoys in Meerut broke off from the Army of the East India Company and rebelled against their British Officers by killing them. On 11th May 1857, these Sepoys travelled to Delhi and set fire to the British Toll House and marched towards the Red Fort where they requested the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II to Reclaim his Throne and Lead them to victory against the British. The Emperor agreed though reluctant at first and was proclaimed by them as 'Shahenshah-E-Hindustan'.
The 1857 Sepoy Mutiny spread across the entire regions of North India especially in Meerut where it first started and followed by Jhansi, Lucknow, Kanpur and the adjoining states. The British reacted and reclaimed Delhi after a long street fight from 1st July to 31st August 1857. The final battle took place in Gwalior on 20th June 1858 where the Brave Rani-Ki-Jhansi was martyred by the British. After intense rebellion by the Sepoys and the Indian Freedom Fighters, they were subdued by the British Army and in 1859 the Battle subsided.
In order to remember this great and fierce outrage of the Indians against the injustice of the British Army, the Swatantra Sangrahalaya Museum was established within the very premises of Red Fort where these rebels had collected together to fight their First Battle for Independence and hence reminds us all of the valour, sacrifice and pain they had to undergo. This Museum provides us all a glimpse into this historical event by displaying highlights of this movement through photographs. It showcases how the Indian Freedom Fighters gained enough confidence to revolt despite the low numbers in contrast to the British Army and their tough struggle which is definitely a remarkable effort and worth every admiration. Visual presentation of the Freedom movement Leaders and pictorial presentation of the Indian Map during the different centuries and periods up till the 20th Century, Relics belonging to the historical freedom movement, mementos, tokens and a section displaying every phase and event that occurred during the Indian Freedom Movement right from its inception in 1857 up till the Gandhian time are all preserved and displayed in this museum.
The entry fee into the Museum is inclusive of the entry fee into the Red Fort which is INR 11.00 for Indian Nationalities and INR 100.00 for Foreign Nationalities. The Museum is opened to all visitors between 1000 hours and 1600 hours from Tuesdays to Sundays as it remains closed on all Mondays. Parking is charged extra for INR 10.00 per 4 hours for cars and INR 5.00 per 4 hours for two-wheelers (All rates are subject to change).