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Archaeology & Dolls Museum

Archaeology & Dolls Museum

The Archaeological Galleries comprise a variety of unique archaeological exhibits both excavated and collected, the galleries are arranged in the chronological order.

The Objects Include

  • Excavated material of Pre, Early historic and Megalithic periods
  • Stone sculptures (Hindu, Buddhist and Jain)
  • Wood carvings
  • Bronzes
  • Temple ware
  • Ancient locks
  • Folk material
  • Miniature paintings of different schools
  • Palm leaf manuscripts
  • Illustrated manuscripts etc.,


The excavated materials which are on display are the ones dated back to 40,000 years to 2nd century A.D. These are from 3 excavations conducted by the Birla Archaeological & Cultural Research Institute (BACRI).

The Excavations at Hashmatpet, a suburb of Secunderabad, unearthed a Megalithic Burial datable to 2nd C.B.C. The products of the excavation that are on display comprise pottery, stone axes and iron implements etc.

The excavations at Veerapuram (Kurnool Dt. A.P) an extensive archaeological site excavated by BACRI during 1978 to 81 revealed a sequence of cultures from early neolithic period to the early historic period i.e. 1800 BC to 400 AD. Several household and day to day use material of Neolithic, Chalcolithic , Megalithic and Early Historic periods are found during the exacavtions. The Neolithic-chalcolithic cultures brought out different types of pottery, tools like scrappers, backed blades, flakes, urn and extended burials etc. One such burial with the remnants of a child’s skeleton has been preserved and displayed in the gallery. The exhibits from the megalithic culture zone include black & red ware pottery, terracotta ear studs, pendants, beads etc. The early historic culture exhibits comprise different coins from punch marked ones to Ikshvaku dynasty through Satavahana and Maharathi dynasties. Different types of pottery, beads and bangles of different material, mullars, rubbers, querns and jars are also on display. BACRI has published a comprehensive report on the excavations of Veerapuram.

Vaddamanu (Guntur Dt. A.P.) is another early historic site excavated by BACRI, whose products are also on display in the museum. The remnants of a Jain stupa first of its kind in South India are found here. They include railing pieces of the stupa, inscribed pottery, terracotta, stucco and stone figures etc. A portion of the railing is reconstructed and displayed in the Gallery.

The stone sculptures gallery is divided into Buddhist, Jain and Hindu sections. They display the sculptures of the museum collection ranging from 2nd C.A.D to 15th C.A.D. The collection includes Stupa sculptures, pillars, figures of Buddha, Mahavira, 24 Tirthankaras, Ganesa, Mahishamardini, Saptamatrukas, Kumara, Dasavatara Vishnu, Brahma, Bhairava, etc. Praise worthy sculptures come from the dynasties of Chalukya, Kakatiya and Vijayanagar.

The wood carvings gallery displays the unique wooden ratha of south India apart from panels consisting of the deity figures like Vishnu, Brahma, Nataraja etc. The other exhibits of this gallery include the dhvajastambha plates, household and temple door and panels with exquisite carvings and decorations.

The bronze collection of the museum includes Buddhist and Hindu deities. Figures worth mentioning include the Chola Bronzes of Siva and Parvati. The collection comprises the beautiful figures of Vishnu, Siva, Siva Nataraja, Kumara with consorts, Bhairava, Kodanda Rama, Yab-yum, Avalokiteswara etc.

The gallery of Miniature Paintings, Illustrated Manuscripts and Ganjifas display select material. The miniature paintings belong to different schools of late medieval India like Rajasthani, Deccani, Pahadi etc. A good collection of Tanjore Paintings are also on display in the gallery. Ganjifas, the ancient playing cards of India are unique and the museum has on display the Dasavatara Ganjifas and the Mughal ganjifas. The illustrated manuscripts on display include late medieval collection of Hindu and Mughal on religious and social themes. Some of them are Aine-Akbari, Ramayana, Bhagavata and a manuscript on different varieties of Horses and their qualities. These are in Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu and Gurmukhi languages.

A good collection of Palm leaf manuscripts are on display. They include both illustrated and unillustrated. They are in different languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, Kanada, Tamil etc. The subject matter varies from astrology, puranas, bhagavatas, household accounts, astronomy, mathematics, medicine etc.

Ancient locks, measures and folk art figures form a good and interesting collection of the museum on display. The temple ware of Hindu temples like bells, panchapatras, vinjamaras, chains, different haratis, kavachas, masks, oil cans etc give a good account of understanding on different materials used on different occasions and in routine.

The arms and armory collection of the Museum is interesting. A wide range of swords, daggers, katars, decorated shields, procession armory, canon balls, guns and pistols are on display. A unique Katar with a first aid kit having different objects like claspers, forceps etc. is in the collection on display.

The Nirmala Birla Art Gallery is next to Archaeological Galleries and displays a variety of Art objects collected and gifted by Mrs.Nirmala Birla, President of BACRI , and other members of Birla Family over a period of time.

The material variety of Nirmala Birla Art Gallery comprises porcelain, glass, plaster of Paris, jade, crystal, Sterling Silver, mother of pearl, wood carvings, ivory etc.

The porcelain collection ranges from dolls, vases, wall plates, art objects etc. A few hundreds of Royal Doulton (Europe) figures are unique to this gallery apart from vases of Royal Worcester (Europe), Chinese and Japanes figures, vases, wall plates etc. The collection also includes the Lladro of Spain, Vier Tasca of Italy, Denmark and Russian make items. A good number of Limited Edition Figures are also on display.

The glass collection of the gallery has a variety range from scent bottles to huge vases, mirror boxes, flower pots, jars of different makes and styles including Venetian, European, German and other glasses.

Art objects of Precious stones and minerals like crystal, jade, verdite, quartz are also on the display. They come from world famous manufacturers like Daum, Baccart, Swarovski etc. Some of the items are Limited Edition ones. The collection ranges from birds, animals, vases, table top figures etc.

Ivory paintings, figures and carvings comprise the important exhibits in the Nirmala Birla Art Gallery. They range from the tiny hair clip to the huge carved elephant tusk. Ivory Jewel boxes, tusks with religious themes, lamp shades, models, figures of divinities, walking sticks, decorative heads are some of the variety. A huge African elephant tusk, and Indian elephant tusks carved with Ramayana and Krishnayana themes are important. This gallery also displays a number of Ivory Paintings done by late Iqbal Hussain, the famous painter of Hyderabad.

Sterling Silver figures of Hindu divinities like Krishna, Laksmi and Ganesa made in Italy form the attraction of the gallery. Other items of the gallery include jeweled and woolen carpets, wall hangings, figures made out of mother of pearl etc.