Tethys Fossil Museum Kasauli

Tethys Fossil Museum and Research Center at Dangyari in KASAULI Tehsil Himachal Pradesh India was dream project of Dr Ritesh Arya to show case fossils and rocks collected by him since 1987 from Himachal and Ladakh of Tethyan Himalayan range. The museum symbolizes the evolution and extinction of life in time and space through the geological time scale based on fossils collected from Himalayas.

Aim of the museum

Is to think Beyond boundaries and educate the children adults researchers scientists administrators policymakers and politicians about the importance of studying rocks and fossils. Their role in understanding evolution and extinction, global warming and cooling, and their role in reconstructing paleoenvironments besides helping in paleogeographic reconstruction.


Museum is well connected from International Airport via road and railways ( 100 years old World Heritage track) and journey takes you back in geological time from few million years to 200 million years in 90 minutes

Geologically museum is located on the debris concealing the Dagshai -Subathu boundary which signifies the closure of Tethys sea and the evolution of the terrestrial ecosystem

The museum is built from 20 million year rocks of Kasauli Sandstone beautiful chiseled to give the museum an aesthetic look

Water that we drink in the museum is from a borewell drilled into 40 million years old white quartzite sandstone which is a marker bed extending from Pakistan to Burma in the least.

Tethys fossil museum as the name suggests houses fossils collected from different parts of the Tethyan Himalayas.

The proposed theme of the museum is  Evolution and Extinction and Journey From Fossils to Fuel”. The museum will be a repository of various scientific evidences vividly bringing the Tethys back to life by displaying collected fossils and rock specimens. It will not only cater to the laymen but is likely to enthuse geologists and promote HC exploration in the Himalayan region. 

Signifying the gradual evolution of life on this planet and the development of the mighty Himalayas.  All these fossils  are part of the museum repository.

So anyone visiting the museum will have a glimpse of how different fossils collected from various  geological formations across the Himalayas can help to rebuild the entire paleohistory of  the various events which led to  the evolution and Birth of The Himalayas

Tethys as we all know was an ocean once upon a time separating India from Tibet / Eurasia

 As the Indian plate moved northward the Tethys sea squeezed and when the two plates collided the Tethyan sediments were uplifted forming the mighty Himalaya.

Lots of research has been done in timing the collision of the two plates leading to the evolution and birth of the Tethyan Himalayas. But still, there is no consensus and there are Himalayan opportunities for researchers to come up with a convincing model to time the collision and explain the birth of the Himalayas.

Keeping this in mind, the organizing committee of Tethys fossil museum  and Research center decided to build this museum to understand this geo mechanism of evolution of Himalayas and give a glimpse of Himalayan to anyone visiting.

Museum is divided in 2 halls


Role of nature in developing MAN  

This hall shows natural evolution of universe earth water and life. This has 10 sections

Section 1 Birth of Universe  14 billion years

Section 2 Birth of Earth 4.5 billion years

Section 3 Birth of Water 3,5 and Primitive life 1.5 billion years in . anaerobic environment Shows evolution of life from . unicellular organisms like stromatolites

Section 4 Birth of Early Life Trilobites 540 million years . marking on set of multicellular organism

Section 5 Origin of Fishes and Amphibians (from 330 Million years)

Section 6 Dinosaurs and ammonites in Mesozoic time

Section 7 Evolution of mammals

Section 8 Evolution of Continental environment Paleosols

Section 9 Evolution of angiosperms

Section 10 Evolution of mammoths

Section 11 Evolution of man and his artifacts

Well preserved Fossils from different locations and  ages are beautifully preserved and kept in the museum supporting different ages and stages of evolution


Role of Man in exploiting Nature

And is broadly divided into 4 sections

Water and Climate Section shows how climate change impacted  water levels and was instrumental in the formation and destruction of Saraswati and other civilisations,

“Fossils to Fuel” theme helps to show importance of fossils in making  fuels ( coal and oil) and how it’s discovery helped in bringing industrial revolution and is still is life line of any economy

Economic section displays various minerals and show how geo resources can help change the economy of the nation

Engineering section shows how geo engineering knowledge shape various infra developmental projects roads railways bridges tunnels dam 

Geoheritage sites can educate and  boost geotourism


Prof Ashok Sahni Emeritus Professor, Dr O.N Bhargava Ex GSI, Dr Jagmohan Singh Ex Chief general manager (Geology) ONGC. Dr Kishore Kumar Ex Sr Scientist Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Prof Rajeev Patnaik Chairman Geology Dept PU Chandigarh, Mr Ravi Vundavalli GSI, Prof Parth Chauhan Indian Institute of Science Education and Research. Prof BP Singh

Dr. Dinesh Pande Former Director Exploration ONGC, has agreed to be support creation of Tethys Museum for its technical importance and its role in boosting up and impetus to oil exploration for Himalayas.

Ar. Manmohan Khanna President Indian Institute of Architects Chandigarh Chapter, Ms Osheen Gupta Graphic designer,

Journalist Priya Yadav, YS Rana, Narvijay Yadav are part of the team. IndianGeoparks.in created to promote Kasauli as 1st Geopark of India of which this museum is going to be a part.

Some fossils have been contributed by Director Birbal Sahni Institute of PaleoSciences Lucknow, Prof Ashok Sahni Prof ON Bhargav

We are a team of scientists academicians, with a lifetime of conversancy with geological and geophysical landmass of the Indian subcontinent; dedicating ourselves to the cause of scientific progress and development in Earth Sciences. In this endeavor, we have come together along with jounalists, media persons in support of Dr. Ritesh Arya, a renowned Geologist; a Guinness World Record holder, a PhD professional from PU Chandigarh and Director of the Geothermal Wing for International Sustainable Energy Organisation (ISEO) Geneva, affiliated to UN. He is currently focused in creating a museum on Fossils collected by him from Tethys, Himalayas.

About Dr. Ritesh Arya

In his early graduation days in CAS in Geology he was inspired by Medlicott, who had collected the 1st fossils from Kasauli in 1864. Hailing from Kasauli, he started discovering fossils since late 80s from Kasauli Subathu and surrounding areas and having spent lifetime as free lancer on understanding Geology of Tethys Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, India, based on diverse fossil assemblage of fossils collected ranging in age from as old as 1 billion year old Stromatolites fossils to Miocene fossils from multi fossil groups be it foraminifers, molluscs, cephalopods, trilobites or even one of the largest hitherto unknown collection of vertebrate fossils. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction on basis of 6 species of plants discovered from Kasauli Formation to be displayed in the museum shall display that these species are extinct in Himalayas and are today confined to Indonesia Malaysia and Andaman Nicobar islands. Discovery of with Oyster fossils from Leh and molluscs from Nyoma showed affinity with Subathu Formation. This implied that they were homotaxial basins and were deposited near Equator. This will help in basin reconstruction and understanding relationship with oil exploration, movement and development of Himalayas specifically in the northwestern part.


Dr Ritesh Arya has a huge collection of rarest plant leaves flowers roots stems wood 1st mammal from Kasauli oysters bivalves molluscs foraminifera from Subathu and Ladakh outcrop areas.Ammonites from Spiti and Stromatolites and Ediacara from Karol and Sirmour.

KASAULI – Past and Present

With its vast history dating to Sararwati civilization, Ramayan , Mahabharata, Gorkhaa,Mughals, Britishers, World Heritage train track from Kalka to Shimla and a beautifully carved Kasauli township from 20 million year old Kasauli sandstone.

ONGC in Kasauli

ONGC has been active in this area for exploring oil and few years back drilled a parametric well near Kasauli. While our team members had deep rooted relations with ONGC. Being a hydrogeologist and Guinness World record Holder for exploring and drilling highest borewell in the world I was part of that project and contributed my bit by exploring and developing groundwater at ONGC drilling site. It’s proposed to make this parametric well a GEOHERITAGE SITE and make it part of KASAULI IndianGeopark to educate public researchers students and tourists about the efforts of ONGC in oil exploration.

*Collaboration with ONGC*

We take the honour of associating ONGC in this prestigious Tethys Fossil museum with theme ” Fossils to Fuel ” Museum aims in protecting and preserving FOSSILS from Tethys and developing INSITU FOSSILS SITES. ONGC will have a winning situation by investing in this project mainly in terms of popularizing oil exploration drilling and development to researchers, educating students in schools and colleges about this precious resource, to common people in terms of public understanding of earth science, and all this will help to improve in the local economy and boost geotourism benefiting the local populace.

*Kasauli – 1st Geopark* Our broader aim is to integrate Geoheritage, Historical, Cultural sites and make them as part of Kasauli. Tethys museum at Kasauli has all the ingredients to be listed as 1st Geopark of the country. All this will help creating awareness about Geology/fossils/evolution, extinction/ oil exploration and development amongst the students, research community and even tourists nationally as well as internationally. It will be jewel in the crown of ONGC as well as India.*World Class Experience* I look forward to make visit to TETHYS FOSSIL MUSEUM Fuel to Fossils a world class experience and a success story with the help of ONGC by reviving the Tethyan story based on fossils. This will also help in understanding evolution extinction in geological time besides helping in understanding sequence of events related to closure of Tethys and timing Evolution and BIRTH of Himalayas. This should also give boost to much awaited success in oil exploration efforts by ONGC in this part of Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh India.

*OUR EXPECTATIONS* At present Tethys Fossil museum requires funds for infrastructural development (mainly showcases for display of fossils, murals showing various stages of evolution, models for oil and gas exploration and drilling on shore and off shore, samples of crude oil, flooring internal design decoration lighting sound and video etc) to complete partially erected structure for museum. Also we would like to get assistance in PRESERVING RARE NATURAL FOSSILS SITES before their disappearance for ever. More details of which can be revealed if ongc management agrees in principal and our association to write the success story starts. It would be our honor to invite you and your team to visit our site in person to develop a deeper and better understanding of the project. With kind Regards and best wishes for this make in India effort a great success for this unique scientific endeavor.


The Sunday Observer 7 March 1999
Inside of Tethys Fossil Museum