Sunday, February 1, 2015

Brahma Jinalaya, Lakkundi.

 Lakkundi was an ancient Agrahara and a great centre of educational and religious activities, particularly during the rule of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. It was also a provincial capital during the period. It was also associated with the famous woman Attimabbe who was a patron of the famous Kannada poet Ranna. Attimabbe is said to have built many Jaina temples at Lakkundi of which Brahma Jinalaya is well known.
After building the Brahma Jinalaya she requested the Chalukya King Satyasraya (997-108 A.D.) to make gifts. Thus her name is associated with this temple. Though there are many Jaina temples at Lakkundi, Brahma Jinalaya is the earliest of them all.
 This Jaina temple is a good example of the Kalyana Chalukya architecture. The temple consists of Garbhagriha, Antarala, Navaranga and a Mukhamntapa. The square Garbhagriha contains in the centre a fine black stone image of Tirthankara Mahavira on a lion pedestal. He is flanked on both sides by Chamara bearers an there is a triple umbrella above. There is also a low relief sculpture of Padmavathi Yakshi.  In the Garbhgriha are sculptures of Brahma and Sarasvati on both side and the latter is broken now.

The square Navaranga has in the centre four Chalukya pillars of great beauty. The base of the pillars has low relief sculptures of dancers, musicians, mother and child etc. The doorway is finely carved with creeper and has Gajalakshmi on the lintel. On both sides are the sculptures of Chaturmukrahma Brahma and Padmavathi Yakshi. The open Mukhamandapa has 28 fine pillars and Kakshasana, and balustraded entrance of flight of steps.
There is another small temple on the north of the main temple. The Mandapa of the temple has not survived. An image of Mahavira, which head is broken, is placed over the platform of the Mandapa. The Shikhara of the temple is also lost.

 There is also a museum in Lakkundi, managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The museum has a collection of diverse artworks along with gold coins that were issued under the reign of various kings.

 The exterior of the temple consists of basement with mouldings and walls with pilasters and niches in between. The upper portion has a decorated eave. Over the Garbhagriha is a five tiered of the Dravida type. There are two more chambers at the floors over the sanctum. This on the whole Jaina Basadi is not only big but also beautiful and is a good contribution of the later Chalukyas to Jain architectural heritage of Karnataka in general and that of celebrated Attimabbe in particular.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Hyderabad trip part - 4
The Salar Jung Museum of Hyderabad is a repository of the artistic achievements of diverse European, Asian and Far Eastern countries of the world. The major portion of this collection was acquired by Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan popularly known as Salar Jung III. The zeal for acquiring art objects continued as a family tradition for three generations of Salar Jungs.
 In 1914, Salar Jung III, after having relinquished the post of Prime Minister to H.E.H., the Nizam VII, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, devoted rest of his entire life in collecting and enriching the treasures of art and literature till he lived. The precious and rare art objects collected by him for a period of over forty years, find place in the portals of the Salar Jung Museum, as rare to very rare pieces of art.

 After the demise of Salar Jung-III, the vast collection of precious art objects and his Library which were housed in "Dewan-Deodi" the ancestral palace of the Salar Jungs, the desirability of organizing a Museum out of the Nawab's collection dawned quite soon and Sri M.K. Velodi, the then Chief Civil Administrator of the Hyderabad State approached Dr.James Cousins a well known art critic, to organize the various objects of art and curios which were lying scattered in different palaces of Salar Jung III to form a Museum.

 With a view to perpetuate the name of Salar Jung as a world renowned art connoisseur, the Salar Jung Museum was brought in to existence and was opened to the public by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India on 16th December, 1951.

 However, the administration of the Museum continued to be vested in the Salar Jung Estate Committee till 1958. Thereafter, the heirs of Salar Jung Bahadur graciously agreed to donate the entire collection to the Government of India through a Compromise Deed based on a High Court Decree on 26th December l958.
 The Museum continued to be administered directly by the Government of India till 1961. Through an Act of Parliament (Act of 26 of 1961) the Salar Jung Museum with its Library was declared to be an Institution of National Importance. The administration was entrusted to an Autonomous Board of Trustees with the Governor of Andhra Pradesh as its Ex-officio Chairman and ten other members representing the Government of India, the State of Andhra Pradesh, Osmania University and one from the family of Salar Jungs.
 The Museum has a magnificent global collection of art objects and antiques not only of Indian origin, but mostly from countries Western, a sizable collection hails from Middle Eastern and Far Eastern origins. Apart from these, there is a Children's section, a rich reference library which contains reference books, large collection of rare manuscripts etc. Thus, this Museum has become popular, not only as a place of interest but also as an institution for education.

 Out of the several rare objects, one of the important and interesting object collected by Salar Jung I was “Vellied Rebecca” an enchanting marble statue which was acquired by him from Rome in 1876 during his visit to Italy.  The western collection are from England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany.  A set of Ivory chairs said to have been presented by Louis XVI of France to Tippu Sultan of Mysore deserve special mention.  A jade book-stand “Rehal” having the name of ‘Shamsuddin Altamish’, an archer’s ring inscribed with the legend Sahib-e-Quran-e-Sani, title of the Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan are masterpieces.
 A dagger and a fruit knife made in jade decorated with precious stones are said to belong to Jehangir and Noorjehan respectively.  A good number of Indian Miniature Paintings in early style of Western India of 14th and 15th Centuries representing Krishna Leela themes are also form part of the Museum’s Collection.
 There are good numbers of Arabic and Persian Manuscripts dated to 19th century and Shah-nama by Furadausi are also among the valuable collection of the Museum. A rare manuscript entitled ‘Lilawati” on mathematics and an ancient medical encyclopaedia transcribed in India is in the collection. Oil and water paintings form an important part of the European collections. 

Ref : Salar Jung Museum official website

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Charminar and Nizams Museum

Charminar is most famous Historical place of Hyderabad in Telangana.  Charminar is included in top 10 historical places of India. It's English name is a translation of two words 'Char' and 'Minar' which is four towers. Now Let us talk about Some History of Charminar.
 The fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah built the Charminar in1591 century. After Shifting His capital from Golkunda to Hyderabad He built this awesome structure of Charminar. Because of Charminar this landmark became a global icon of Hyderabad.
 Charminar is constructed in Islamic architecture. We can say that it is a signature of Islamic architecture. Pulverised marble, limestone, mortar and granite are used in structure of Charminar. It has a square structure of 20 * 20 meter size.

 Charminar contains four arches each of them opens in four streets. And because of these four grand arches it is named Charminar. If you want to reach to upper floor then there are 149 winding steps for reach to upper floor.
 Nizam's Museum
 This museum showcases the gifts that the last Nizam of Hyderabad state, Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII received on his silver jubilee celebrations. The museum is a repository mainly of souvenirs, gifts and mementos presented by dignitaries to the last Nizam gifts and mementos presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations in 1936. Models made of silver of all the landmark buildings in Hyderabad & citations in Urdu about Osman Ali Khan.
 There is a very lengthy two storied room which has a two-storied wardrobe or cupboard (on both sides).The first story contains clothes and the second storey contains perfumes, soaps and accessories like shoes etc. Now, as the steps have become weak, the visitors are not allowed to climb to the second storey of the cupboard, but as the doors are made of glass, one can see the contents from the floor. It seems the Nizam won't wear the dress he wore once again. There is a lift operated manually by pulling ropes in working condition. It is for the King to come from ground floor to first floor to his wardrobe room. After he gets dressed, he goes down by the same lift
 There is a marble bed, a marble writing table, and a marble cupboard which the Nizam used to take it along with him when he went on hunting. They are very heavy and I wondered how tedious a task it would have been to carry it. It seems the Nizam used to stay in hunting sites for months together and hence it was worth carrying. But one should see how the iron nuts and bolts are screwed in to marble stones without cracking it to make the furniture’s.
Collections of the last Nizam gifted to him in a single day (during Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1937) are on display in this museum. The collection of his Prime minister is in Salar Jung Museum. The collections here range from Paan dhaan, Attar Dhaan, carpets, letters of appreciation and best wishes(Dua) written on a variety of things, bidri works, letter caskets, hukkas(the utensil used for smoking) ,perfume sprayers(not like what we have - they are so beautiful). They are made of gold, silver, gold plated silver, iron, mother of pearl. Even a vessel into which you spit chewed Paan is made of gold, Jade stone vessels (For testing liquids and solid food) to find if poison is present in the food items. It seems the colour of the vessel changes if the substance that is put in to it is toxic. The throne which was used by the Nizam during the silver jubilee celebrations is also kept for display. There are two types (classification based on blade shape) of swords on display - Abbasi(straight blade) and the other one having a curved shape. Actually there are many types of swords in the world. A golden, wooden throne used for the silver jubilee celebrations of the Last Nizam, a gold tiffin box inlaid with diamonds, miniature repilica of the Jubilee Hall, glass inlay painting of Mir Osman Ali Khan. Also, a wooden writing box studded with mother-of-pearl, diamond and gold-studded daggers, caskets, and silver ittardans (perfume containers) presented by the raja of palvancha. Silver coffee cups studded with diamonds and silver filigree elephant with mahout are on display.
There was one painting of the sixth Nizam with his crown. Not an ordinary one. They give you lens to look into it. If you see through the lens, a few spots which look like a mere design for normal eye are in reality the faces of the previous Nizams. That is, the Nizam's ancestors are painted so minutely (Like writing one's name on rice) on his crown. And the Nizam's two sons are painted in his eyes. The curators of the museum or the officials there take care of things very well. The number of visitors is less and they patiently guide you and give a description on all displays. One negative thing is there is no proper restroom in the museum. Princess Durru Shehvar Children's hospital that is in front of Purani Haveli was constructed in the memory of Princess Durru Shehvar who got married in to Nizam's family.