The Nizam’s Museum

Filed under Museums

Almost every tourist who visits Hyderabad makes it a point to visit the Salar Jung museum, or the Telangana State Museum. However, not many go to another less known, but definitely not the least, museum in Hyderabad: the Nizam’s Museum. The reason for this is simple; since the tourism development corporation of Telangana has not included this museum until recently in their itinerary for conducted tours, most tourists are not even aware of its existence. It is a shame, too, as the Nizam’s Museum offers a glimpse of the treasures and life of the last Nizam of Hyderabad.

Considered by many to be the richest man in the world during his time, Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, Asaf Jah VII, was the last Nizam of the Princely State of Hyderabad until it was invaded and annexed by India in 1948. As Nizam, his fortune was reportedly US$2 billion in the early 1940s. Until his death in 1967, he was widely believed to still hold that title, although his fortunes fell to US$1 billion by then. Adjusting for inflation today, he ranks fifth in the list of richest people in the history of the world, with a fortune that, at its height, amounted to US$225 billion in today’s dollars.

During his reign, he acquired many artifacts, mainly souvenirs, gifts, and mementos from the different dignitaries around the world, specifically during the silver jubilee celebration of his reign in 1936. These artifacts are now kept in the Nizam’s Museum in Purani Haveli, one of the palaces the Nizams have during their reign.

Among the many historical memoirs that the newly-renovated museum has are silver models of all the landmark buildings found in Hyderabad, a golden wooden throne used by the Nizam during the last silver jubilee celebration, glass inlay painting of Nizam Osman Ali Khan, and a wooden writing box studded with diamonds, mother-of-pearls as well as gold-studded daggers, caskets, and silver perfume containers. The latter were presented by the Raja of Palvancha. Automobile enthusiasts will also have a field day admiring the vintage cars that the last Nizam had for display. These include a 1930 Rolls-Royce, a Jaguar Mark V, and a Packard.

The museum was opened to the general public on February 19, 2000. Now, it is open daily (except on Fridays) from 10 AM to 5 PM, with an entrance fee of Rs. 65 for adults and Rs. 15 for children

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