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State Archaeological Museum

An interesting stopover in the visitor’s tour of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad is the Andhra Pradesh State Museum. Established in 1930 by the Nizam of Hyderabad, this museum is a show window of the rich cultural, artistic and archaeological heritage of this region. The treasures on view here date back to pre-historic times, to thousands of years before Christ. There are Paleolithic, Neolithic and Megalithic remains and also ancient pottery and Buddhist idols and inscriptions from a more recent era when Buddhism was the dominant faith. The sculptures and other priceless artefacts trace their origin to the 2nd century B.C. and later.

You will find exhibited in the museum an extensive collection of arms belonging largely to the Hyderabad State of medieval and modern times. The weapons, made from the special steel that Hyderabad was noted for, reveal a great variety and superb workmanship. Of special note are the exquisite miniature paintings on palm-leaf manuscripts and paper from the 11th and 14th centuries. There are also beautiful pieces of Nepalese and Tibetan art.

The Tibetan Thankas are splendid examples of traditional, religious art, where the artisan’s spiritual and devotional energies find expression. Also on display are some contemporary paintings by leading artists of Andhra Pradesh, and Bidri handicrafts. Bidri, that renowned craft born in the Deccan, has characterised the life style of the people for some 400 years. The art originated in Bidar and reached its zenith in beauty and excellence under the rule of the Bahmani kings. Bidriware has gold and silver designs delicately inlaid on a nonf errous metal alloy of dull, leaden colour.

The alloy never rusts or corrodes. A breathtaking collection of lovely Bidriware like cups, plates, goblets and jugs from the earliest age to modern times is preserved for the connoisseur. Also of delicate workmanship are the ancient gold ornaments acquired by the State Museum from excavations and treasure-troves.

There is also a scintillating array of coins painstakingly collected and tastefully exhibited and marked by range and variety. You will find the early punch-marked coins as also those of the comparatively recent Mughal and Asaf Jahi dynasties. A truly invaluable and eye-catching collection of particular interest to the avid numismatist or student of history and culture. The museum timings are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except on Mondays and public holidays.

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