19 Sep 2022 10:08 AM GMT
It is one of the world’s largest museums. (Photo credit: www.indiatourismguide.in)
New Delhi: Salar Jung Museum, one of the most visited sites in Hyderabad after Charminar and Golconda Fort, is well-known for housing one of the world’s largest one-man collections. The museum is situated on the southern bank of the river Musi and is not far away from other tourist spots in Hyderabad such as the Charminar, Mecca Masjid, High Court, and State Central Library. It began as a private art collection of the Salar Jung family and was bequeathed to the nation following the death of Salar Jung III. The museum has a beautiful collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artefacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America.
The museum, which we see today, is the result of the dedication and hard work of Nawab Abul Quasim Owaisi also known as Mir Yousuf Ali Khan or Salar Jung III, who spent a substantial amount of his income for a period of thirty-five years and collected artefacts from all across the world. After Salar Jung’s death in 1949, his collections were formerly exhibited at his ancestral palace, Dewan Deodi, as a private museum, named the Salar Jung Museum. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1951. Later, in 1968, the entire collection of the museum and the library were shifted to the present building of Dewan Deodi. And in 2000, two additional buildings were also added.

The museum has a total of 39 galleries spread over three buildings, viz., the Central Block, the Eastern Block (Mir Laiq Ali Khan Bhavan) and the Western Block (Mir Turab Ali Khan Bhavan) on two floors. The Central Block consists of 26 galleries, including 13 on the ground floor and 13 on the first floor, while the Western block has seven galleries and the Eastern block has six galleries.

Besides that, the museum has many coordinating sections, such as the education wing, chemical conservation laboratory, photo section, display section, reception, and a sales counter. It is secured by the Central Industrial Security Force.

To facilitate the visitors, seating arrangements have been made at all significant locations. Restrooms and wheelchairs are also provided for those who need them. Additionally, there are public amenities, including cloakrooms, restrooms at each of the four cardinal points, and a cafeteria run by the Telangana Tourism Department.

The museum has a vast collection of printed works on a variety of topics, as well as a significant collection of tens of thousands of manuscripts in the Persian, Arabic, and Urdu languages. Students can access the library upon request by requesting passes from the front desk.

Divided into Indian Art, Middle Eastern Art, Persian Art, Nepalese Art, Japanese Art, Chinese Art, and Western Art, the museum has a collection of over 46,000 art objects, over 8,000 manuscripts, and over 60,000 printed books.

The Indian Art collection consists of miniature paintings, modern paintings, bronzes, textiles, ivory, jade, bidri ware, arms and armour, stone sculptures, wood carvings, metalware, and manuscripts. While the Middle East has been represented through its art objects from Persia, Syria, and Egypt, covering a wide range of carpets, paper (manuscripts), ceramics, glass, metal ware, furniture, lacquer, etc., the European collection comprises art objects ranging from resplendent and excellent examples of oil paintings, and aesthetically attractive glass objects, to majestic furniture, splendid examples of ivory, enamelware, and clocks.

The museum has frequently made headlines in print and electronic media, not only for its collection but also for its efforts to preserve history through digitalisation and other cutting-edge methods. With a magnificent building that paves the way into a rich history from all over the world, the Salar Jung Museum is a place that no art lover or a history enthusiast would like to miss. It is nothing less than a treasure house that honours and respects the exceptional accomplishments made by Europeans, Asians, and eastern nations in a variety of sectors, including literature, science, and the arts.

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