Osmania University

Filed under Attractions

In all of India, few universities are perhaps as well-known or as highly venerated as Osmania University, one of the oldest “modern” universities in India. It is the seventh oldest institution of higher learning in all of India, and the first in Hyderabad back when it was a princely state. It has ten faculties, 52 departments, and with more than 500 constituent campuses and affiliated colleges that offer almost all courses at all levels, ranging from diploma to post-doctoral degrees. It is also considered to have one of the best management institutions under the university system. All in all, it is one of the largest university systems in the Indian subcontinent. As its founder, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad said at the opening of its Arts College: “God be praised that this glorious edifice is now ready. This structure has no parallel in the world or in India for beauty, grandeur and nobility.”

Established in 1918, the university is not just famous for its excellence in the field of higher learning. Its architecture is also unparalleled in educational institutions around the country. It is the reason why the university also attracts so many tourists, as much as students. Its Arts College building, in particular, is grandiose, at an imposing 2.5 lakh square foot area within a pastoral plaza with a tree-flanked avenue. It is the nucleus to Osama University’s 1,500-acre campus and it houses a cluster of other beautiful buildings of the other faculties as well.

Originally the Osama University itself in the beginning, the Arts College is an example of architectural uniqueness that is unspoilt by the dictates of modern architectonics. Two flights of wide granite stairs lead to a majestic door that can only be described as an eloquent statement on secularism. It combines the architectural characteristics of Hindu temples with those of the Saracenic, inlaid with motifs that are obviously of medieval Muslim, Arabic, Moorish, and Gothic architecture.

The foyer is equally impressive, with a sprawling wall of shiny, pink terrazzo that leads to another two-pronged stairway presided over by a great stained-glass window that would put most cathedrals to shame. There are four internal balconies on all four sides that gives an impression of a great halo above the floor. Above, a grandiose dome can be seen, built in decidedly Islamic fashion and double-decked in structure. Three flights of banistered stairs lead to the first floor that is a replica of the ground, with minor alterations.

The university was the result of a long study of all architectural styles and periods around the world. As one of its builders said of it: “In the construction of all Osmania buildings, motifs from different historical periods were borrowed and were made into a harmonius blending. In this way, we have purposely ignored the modern architecture of Lutyen’s Delhi.” The result is nothing short of a marvel epic in granite.

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