Salar Jung Museum
The Salar Jung Museum is an art museum located at Darushifa, on the southern bank of the Musi river in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It is one of the three National Museums of India. It has a 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’s collection was sourced from the property of the Salar Jung family. It is one of the largest museums in the world.
The Indian historical collections includes,
- The paintings of legendary Raja Ravi Varma
- Aurangzeb’s sword
- Jade crafted daggers of Emperor Jehangir, Noorjahan and Shah Jahan
- A wardrobe of Tipu Sultan
- A tiffin box made of gold and diamond
The furniture collection includes pieces from the time of King Louis XIV and Napoleon. Salar Jung III collected about 43,000 artifacts and 50,000 books and manuscripts out of which only few are displayed in today’s museum.
The museum building, semicircular in shape with 38 galleries, spread on two floors, displays only a part of the original collection. The ground floor has 20 galleries and the first floor has 18 galleries. The exhibits on different subjects are displayed in separate galleries. Each gallery is huge and has many artifacts on display including ones dating back to the 4th century.
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.
There are Aurangzeb’s daggers belonging to empress Noor Jahan, emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the turbans and chair of Tipu Sultan, furniture from Egypt, paintings on display. Among the sculptures stands out the world famous statue of Veiled Rebecca by G.B. Benzoni, an Italian sculptor, in 1876. Her beautiful face hazily is visible through a marble but gossamer veil. Equally captivating is a double-figure wood sculpture. It stands before a mirror and shows the facade of a nonchalant Mephistopheles and the image of a demure Margaretta in the mirror. The eastern section is of equal importance with its wide variety of silk weaving and different art forms, including layer wood cutting paintings, porcelain works and many more, dating back to almost 2nd century.