Situated on the southern
bank of the river Musi, the Salarjung Museum is the third largest
museum in India housing the biggest one-man collections of antiques
in the world. It is well known throughout India for its prized
collections belonging to different civilizations dating back to
the 1st century. Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III (1889-1949),
former Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, spent
a substantial amount of his income over thirty five years to make
this priceless collection, his life's passion. The collections
left behind in his ancestral palace, 'Diwan Deodi' were formerly
exhibited there as a private museum which was inaugurated by Jawaharlal
Nehru in 1951. Later in 1968, the museum shifted to its present
location at Afzalgunj and is administered by a Board of Trustees
with the Governor of Andhra Pradesh as ex-officio chairperson under
the Salar Jung Museum Act of 1961.
The Salarjung Museum is a royal treat to the connoisseurs with
a collection of over 43000 art objects, 50000 books and manuscripts.
The collections include Indian Art, Middle Eastern Art, Far Eastern
Art, European Art, Children Art along with a Founders gallery
and a rare manuscript section. Indian Art includes stone sculptures,
bronze images, jade carvings, painted textiles, wood carvings,
miniature paintings, modern art, ivory carvings, textiles, metal-ware,
manuscript, arms & armour etc. Middle Eastern Art contains
the collection of carpets, paper (manuscripts), glass, metal-ware,
furniture, lacquer etc. from Persia, Arabia, Syria, and Egypt.
Collection of Far Eastern Art exhibit porcelain, bronze, enamel,
lacquerware, embroidery, painting, wood & inlay work from
China, Japan, Tibet, Nepal and Thailand etc. Oil and watercolor
form an important part of the European Collections.
museum building is in a semicircular shape with 38 galleries
spread on two floors displays only a part of the original collections.
The ground floor has 20 galleries and the first floor has 18
galleries. The exhibits on different subjects are displayed
1 or the Founders gallery displays personal
artifacts, momentos received and portraits of the Salar
Jungs and the Nizam's.
Royal clothes, porcelain and silver bowls, books, furnitures
like the ceremonial throne used by Salar Jung III etc
can be seen.
3 and 3A contains collection of Indian art and articles.
This section displays Indian textiles; bronze images of Jain,
Buddhist and Hindu deities dating back to later Pallava and Chola
periods; Stone sculptures including a Bharhut rail slab, standing
Buddha statue, Ananthasayi Vishnu, red stone sculptures of Kushanas
etc; brass idols belonging to the Pallavas, Cholas and Kakatiyas
dynasty and brass articles belonging to Vijanagar dynasty; Pancha
Teertha Jaina statue, statues of Somaskadha, Shiva and Nataraja
in Ananda Tandava posture, Narasimha, Ganesha etc.; Kalamkari
paintings on cloth has various scenes of Ramayana, 'Parvati Kalyanam',
Lord Krishna along with Gopis etc.
4 and 5 contains minor arts of South India and wood
carvings. The special attraction is the armed Vishnu of 1st and
2nd centuries found in Nagarjuna hill. Other exhibits here include
wooden chairs, doors, statue of gods, carved screens, chariot
wheels etc. There is also a brass carving of 'Rama Pattabhishekam'
6 presents a fine selection of printed and embroidered
fabrics in cotton, silk and wool belonging
to Indian culture.
Brocades woven with silver and gold thread, silk saris of
south India, Kashmiri shawls, muslin waistcloth, famous 'phulkari'
embroidery work from Punjab, appliqué temple hangings
from Rajasthan, Zari coats, chicken work from Lucknow etc.
are displayed here.
9,10 and 11 is the Children’s section
and has a marvelous assemblage of toys from all over the
displays puppets, model trains and objects acquired by Salar
during his childhood.
12 is a very shallow porch with stags, deer etc in glass
14 contains carved ivory works belonging to 18th and
19th century. Ivory chairs presented to Tippu Sultan by Louis
XV of France, inlaid tables, early 20th century German circus
figures, chess sets, mat with ivory thread, lantern from Mysore
etc some of the exhibits. The Mughal Queen in the standing posture
is the special attraction of this gallery.
15 and 16 contains metal ware and European artifacts
including the world famous statue of Veiled Rebecca, her beautiful
face hazily visible through a flimsy marble veil. Another equally
famous sculpture is a 19th century double-figure sycamore wood
carving done by G.H Benzoni, an Italian sculptor. The front view
of the figure shows the facade of Mephistopheles and the back
view of the figure showing Margaretta is seen reflected in the
mirror placed behind. There are the two of the most famous attractions
of the museum.
16A includes guns, daggers, shields and swords including
that of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, Tippu Sultan, Mohammad Shah
and from the Qutb Shahi period with engravings of the Dasavatara
17 is dedicated to ornately decorated metal ware like
huqqa, trays etc. Gallery 17A contains oil paintings by Ravi
Verma and Abanindranath tagore.
18 shows a representative selection of Indian miniatures
like Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari and Deccani paintings.
20 on the first floor has a collection of European paintings.
The vast collection includes 'Piazzo of San Marco' by Antonio
Canaletto (1697-1768), 'Soap Bubbles' by Fransesco Hayez of Italy,
19th century work, 'Venice' by Marc Aldine of Italy etc.
21 to 24 is the large assemblage of European pottery,
furniture, bronzes and glassware. Pottery items range from Dresden
(Germany), Sevres (France), Capodimonte (Italy) to Wedgewood
and English porcelain. Gallery 24 has glass ware exhibits from
England, Austria, Ireland, Venice, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia,
25, the jade room displays stunning exhibits of jade.
Jade imported from abroad were carved intricately and inlaid
with stones by Indian artists. The workmanship can be seen in
the dainty jade wine bowl, wine cups with leaf and flower motifs,
swords, small jade platters used by the Salarjungs and inscribed
jade book stand of Altamash (1209-10 AD), hunting knife of Mughal
Emperor Jahangir, fruit knife of Mughal Empress Noorjehan (17th
century), 17th century dark green jade inscribed archery ring
of Mughal emperor Shah Jehan etc.
28 is the clock room is one of the best galleries displaying
more than 300 clocks in various sizes ranging from Sandiers to
modern day huge pieces. There are tiny pieces set in magnifying
glasses to huge and stately grandfather clocks from France, England,
Germany, Italy and Switzerland. An interesting exhibit here is
a musical clock from Cook and Kelvy of England with a toy figure
of a watchman, who pushes open the door every hour in a great
hurry, to beat the melodious gong to indicate time.
29 holds the ancient and rare collection of manuscripts in
Arabic, Urdu and Persian languages. It includes
Arabic Al Quran in Nashq (1288 AD) done by calligrapher Yakut-al-Must’sami
bearing the autographs of Mughal emperors, Jehangir, Shahjehan
and Aurangzeb; Roudat-ul-Muhabbin by Amir Hussaini Saadat
(1329 A.D.); Urdu poetic composition Diwan-e-Mohamed Quli
(1595 A.D.) done by Quli Qutub Shah himself acquired from
the Golconda Royal Library etc.
31 to 36 contains far east -Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
The display includes pieces from Sung (960-70); Yuan(1279-13650
Ming and Ching periods in gallery 31.
32 is the Kashmiri room with arts and crafts from Kashmir.
Apart from the galleries, there is a reference Library, reading
room, publication and education section, chemical conservation
lab, sales counter, cafeteria etc. Guides are available at fixed
timings free of charge.
Timing and Entry
The museum is open every day except Friday. Besides, the Museum
will remain closed on the public holidays. Working hours is
from 10.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. Entrance to the Museum is by ticket,
the rate of which is Re. 1.50 for general public. Students
with identity cards, Defence personnel in uniform, organised
Kisan parties and children below 12 years are given 50% concession.
Timings : 10.00a.m. to 5.00p.m., Opens daily except
Exhibits : Mughal Miniatures, European Paintings & sculptures,
Chinese Porcelain, Japanese Silk Paintings, Carpets, Clocks,
rare manuscripts, jade and ivory works etc.
Highlights : Sculpture of Veiled Rebecca, Double figure by
Italian sculptor G.H Benzoni, Musical clock, Arabic Al Quran
in Nashq (1288 AD), jade crafted knifes of Jehangir & Nurjahan,
Famous European paintings like 'Venice', 'Soap Bubbles' etc
Hyderabad - 500002
Telephone : 040-2523211
E-mail : email@example.com