Delve into the regal past

Delve into the regal past

The Naqquar Khana (Trumpet House), located in the premises of the world-famous Gol Gumbaz in Vijayapura, houses a museum of ancient artefacts that depict the society, culture and architecture of the region between the 6th and 18th centuries. In 1892, British archaeologists, Henry Cousens and Jas Burgess, began collecting objects of historical significance, and stored them in a small building in Anand Mahal of Vijayapura. This paved the way for the present day museum.

When the British shifted the district headquarters from Kaladagi to Vijayapura, they decided to use the historical structures as administrative blocks. They found numerous rare artefacts and collectibles while renovating these monuments and all the items were moved to the museum. The British valued the ancient objects immensely and found the need for proper maintenance of the collection. With more additions to the collection, there was lack of space in the building. In 1912, the exhibits were shifted to the Naqquar Khana in the Gol Gumbaz complex.

Diverse exhibits

The structure is built using brown sandstone. The building has a cellar, ground floor and a first floor. The British renovated it to suit the requirements of a museum. More than 1,600 registered antiquities are exhibited in eight galleries.

A mutilated sculpture of 11th century Nataraja with eight hands, a stone festoon (torana) depicting Lord Shiva dancing with his ganas, embossed sculptures playing musical instruments, hero stones from the 7th and 8th centuries, inscriptions found in the region, rare sculptures of Lord Keshava and Veerabhadra, an 8th century stone Ganesha found in Aihole, and a 14th century sculpture of Lord Parshwanatha are some of the important exhibits in the museum.

In the ground floor, one can see a 6th century vijayasthambha (pillar representing victory) built by King Mangalesha. This structure was collected from Mahakuta. The stone representation of the head of Aliya Rama Raya of Vijayanagara dynasty can also be seen here. A 12th century pillar with inscriptions attracts one's attention. It has Sanskrit script on three directions and Kannada script at the lower part. A 13th century Kannada inscription exhibited here has reference to Vijayapura. A 17th century inscription in Arabic and Persian languages with attractive calligraphy is also on display. Other items that fascinate the visitors include stone crocodiles, stone windows with flower motifs and stone chains.

Royal heirlooms

One can get a glimpse of the rich art and culture that blossomed during the Adil Shahi rule in Vijayapura through the items on display in the first floor. The exhibits include everyday items of the royalty, their costumes, weapons and paintings of kings, queens and Sufi saints.

Like any other kings, the Adil Shahi rulers used to test the food before consuming it, by placing it in celadon ware, which can detect food poisoning. The celadon ware is on display in the museum. Some of the antiquities exhibited here indicate the administrative and trade relations between Vijayapura and China.

Coins of that era and manuscripts of the holy Quran illustrated with yellow, red and blue colours can be seen in the museum. Some of the letters of a manuscript are written in gold. Records at the museum indicate that these manuscripts were written between 13th and 18th centuries.

Many other pieces of historical importance such as prose, poetry, a sanad (administrative document) with rajamudra (royal seal), firman (official decree), Persian carpet, a lock with unique technology, Bidri ware, a 3.9 feet long sword, weighing 7 kg and said to be used by King Afzal Khan are exhibited in glass cases. Six cannons of different sizes are placed at the entrance of the museum. The cannonballs are placed inside. The museum is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Nearly 900 people visit the museum every day.

The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, except on Fridays. The entry is free for children. One can contact the museum on 08352-250725.

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