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Nestled in the heart of Hyderabad, the AP State Archaeology Museum stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh. This captivating institution takes visitors on a journey through time, unveiling the region’s fascinating past through an impressive collection of artefacts. From ancient sculptures and intricate carvings to rare manuscripts and coins, each exhibit tells a story of the diverse civilisations that have flourished in this state. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply someone seeking to unravel the mysteries of bygone eras, the AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad promises an immersive and enlightening experience that will leave you in awe of the state’s extraordinary legacy.

About AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad

Exterior of AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad

Image Credit: Randhirreddy for Wikimedia Commons

The Telangana State Archaeology Museum, formerly the AP State Archaeology Museum, resides within Hyderabad’s public garden. It is one of the oldest museums in Hyderabad and South India. The renowned archaeologist Henry Cousens initially surveyed the museum’s site in the 19th century. Conceived initially as a museum and guardian of Hyderabad’s rich cultural heritage, the museum owes its establishment to the last Nizam of Hyderabad. In 1915, he founded the archaeology department during British rule to safeguard the state’s cultural legacy.

Since its inception, the department has been pivotal in uncovering historical sites and excavating and preserving ancient monuments. By 1930, the need for a dedicated space to house its growing collection led to the museum’s construction.

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A door jamb display at the Museum in Hyderabad

Image Credit: Bhaskaranaidu for Wikimedia Commons

The Telangana State Archaeology Museum, previously known as the AP State Archaeology Museum, has a rich history. Established under the guidance of Dr. Ghulam Yazdani in 1914, it initially formed part of the Hyderabad Museum, which opened to the public in 1930 during the reign of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the 7th Nizam. In 1952, the museum transitioned to its current location, marking a pivotal moment. Its renaming in 1960 underscored its statewide importance, reflecting a commitment to preserving and presenting Andhra Pradesh’s archaeological treasures. The museum’s expansive galleries house a diverse collection of prehistoric relics, historical artefacts, and photographs, providing a comprehensive glimpse into the region’s past.

Despite encountering challenges such as the theft of valuable items in 2008, the museum has persevered as a custodian of Telangana’s heritage. Today, the institution remains a pivotal resource for historians, archaeologists, and culture enthusiasts alike. Its exhibits and collections continue to illuminate the past, offering invaluable insights into Telangana’s rich and diverse history.

Collection At AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad

Stone sculptures at AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad

Image Credit: balajijagadesh for Wikimedia Commons

The AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad houses a diverse and extensive collection that showcases India’s rich cultural heritage spanning various periods and regions. They are as follows:

Egyptian Collection: The AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad is renowned for its remarkable Egyptian collection, prominently featuring the mummy of Princess Naishu. Acquired in 1930, this mummy was brought to Hyderabad by Nasir Nawaz Jung, the son-in-law of Asaf Jah VI, and subsequently gifted to Asaf Jah VII, who donated it to the museum. Princess Naishu’s mummy is one of only six Egyptian mummies in India, underscoring its rarity and historical significance. Over the years, the museum has taken extensive measures to preserve this delicate artefact, including a restoration in 2016 that involved placing it in an oxygen-free case. Today, it is a prized exhibit, offering visitors a glimpse into ancient Egyptian funerary practices and beliefs.

Indian Archaeological Artifacts: The museum’s collection includes various Indian archaeological artefacts, prominently showcasing pieces from the Nizam and Kakatiya dynasties. These artefacts encompass various aspects of material culture, such as sculptures, coins, pottery, and more. Each artefact provides valuable insights into the respective periods’ socio-cultural and political situation, highlighting ancient India’s artistic achievements and technological advancements. The collection is a testament to the region’s rich heritage, allowing visitors to explore the diverse historical narratives that have shaped its identity over millennia.

Bronze Sculpture Gallery: The Bronze Sculpture Gallery at the AP State Archaeology Museum is a treasury of exquisite artworks, particularly notable for depicting Hindu deities and mythological figures. Among the highlights are sculptures of Vishnu in the Bhoga Sayana Murthy posture and Viswarupa Sandarsana posture, reflecting the artistry and devotion of ancient artisans. Additionally, the gallery features a statue of Sita, Ram, and Lakshman, alongside other significant pieces like the Bronze Deepmala and a statue of Tara seated on a throne. These sculptures exemplify the skill of metalworkers and provide a visual narrative of Hindu religious iconography and mythology, offering visitors a deeper understanding of spiritual traditions and cultural expressions.

Ajanta Fresco Gallery: The Ajanta Fresco Gallery at the AP State Archaeology Museum showcases replicas of the famous frescoes from the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra. These caves, dating from the 1st to 7th centuries CE, are renowned for their exquisite paintings depicting scenes from the life of Buddha, Jataka stories, and various other narratives. The replicas include details from paintings like Vessantara Jataka and Hamsa Jataka, illustrating moral tales and spiritual teachings. Noteworthy depictions such as Bodhisattva Padmapani in a Compassionate Mood and scenes of royal life provide vivid insights into ancient Indian artistry and religious practices. The gallery serves as a visual archive of the Ajanta Caves’ cultural significance, offering visitors an immersive experience of India’s artistic heritage.

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Timings And Entrance Fees

Historic artifacts exhibit at the Museum in Hyderabad

Image Credit: balajijagadesh for Wikimedia Commons

The AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad operates from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM, except on Fridays when it remains closed. This timing allows visitors to explore its extensive collection of artefacts and exhibits showcasing the region’s cultural and historical heritage.

As for entrance fees, the museum charges a nominal fee of INR 10 per person for adults and INR 5 per child. This affordable pricing ensures accessibility for families and individuals interested in delving into the rich history preserved within the museum’s walls.

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The AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad is a treasure trove of ancient artefacts and sculptures that offer a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage. From intricate carvings to stunning architectural marvels, this museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in exploring the fascinating history of the Deccan Plateau. If you plan a trip to Hyderabad, add the AP State Archaeology Museum to your itinerary. Immerse yourself in the captivating stories of the past and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s cultural legacy. Book your trip to Hyderabad today and embark on an unforgettable journey through time.

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Frequently Asked Questions About AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad

What are the highlights of the museum's collection?

The highlights of the AP State Archaeology Museum Hyderabad include the Egyptian mummy, Indian archaeological artefacts, a Bronze Sculpture Gallery, and replicas of Ajanta Cave frescoes.

Are guided tours available at the museum?

Yes, the museum offers guided tours for groups, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the collections. To ensure availability, it's recommended that you contact the museum authorities in advance and make arrangements for a guided tour. This can significantly enhance your understanding and appreciation of the exhibits.

Is photography allowed inside the museum?

Yes, the museum generally welcomes photography for personal use. Capturing memories of your visit is encouraged. However, it's important to be mindful of restrictions in certain areas. Flash photography and videography might not be permitted in specific sections to ensure the preservation of delicate artefacts. Before snapping pictures, it's always best to check with museum staff for any photography limitations.

Is the museum accessible to individuals with disabilities?

Yes, the AP State Archaeology Museum prioritises inclusivity. The museum is wheelchair accessible, allowing visitors with disabilities to navigate the space comfortably. Additionally, facilities are available to cater to their needs and ensure a pleasant visit for everyone.

Can I purchase souvenirs or books related to the museum's exhibits?

Yes, the museum provides a convenient souvenir shop on its premises. This shop offers a delightful selection of books, replicas of artefacts, and other mementoes related to the museum's exhibits. These souvenirs are a lasting reminder of your visit and the captivating history you encountered.

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