The city of Hyderabad is known for various tourist places. Among the much lauded ones is the Salarjung Museum. It is one of the single largest one- man collections of the world. It is well known throughout India for its prized collections belonging to different civilizations dating back to the 1st century. The art objects were collected by the late Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salarjung III, the Prime Minister to Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam VII, the ruler of Hyderabad.
In 1912, at the age of 23 he became the prime minister to Nizam, but resigned two and a half years later. Thereafter, antiques and art were the only passions in his lonely life. Besides of course patronizing poets, artists and sportsmen.
Salarjung had passion for the rarest of antiques and interesting bric-a-brac. It is believed that he spent half his income and his entire life towards collecting the art objects, rare manuscripts and paintings from all over the world. No wonder more than 40,000 of them are housed in the famous Salarjung museum located in old city area in Hyderabad. He collected sculptures, wood carvings, religious objects, swords, daggers, armours, manuscripts, furniture, vases, snuff boxes, utensils, archers rings, ornaments, pottery, clocks, miniature paintings, portraits, silver, costumes and even toys !
The museum is full of many such interesting objects. The clock room is one of the most memorable galleries with more than 300 clocks. They range from the ancient Sandiaers in the form of obelisks to modern huge pieces from the 19th and 20th century. They vary in size , material and shape. From the tiny pieces set in magnifying glasses to huge and stately grandfather clocks from France, England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland can be seen displayed. One such musical clock drawing big crowds is the one sold by Cook and Kelvy of England. The clock is a mechanical wonder. People throng to see the toy figure of a watchman who pushes open the door, emerges hour after hour in a great hurry to beat the melodious gong that indicates time.
The highlights in the museum include the "veiled Rebecca", "Mestophiles" and "the Lady with the lamp". In the jade room one can see the swords, daggers and the clothing of the Mughal emperors and of Tipu Sultan
Speaking of the significance of the Salarjung Museum, Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India(1955) said, "One's wonder and admiration are aroused when it is remembered that it is the collection of an individual and that not many a state can boast of a like collection".
The summit of Charminar offers an excellent panoramic view of the city. Even as one turns towards the Golconda fort, the mind goes back into time and recapitulates the past glory of Hyderabad during the Qutb Shahi times. It is indeed baffling for a visitor to come to terms with the reality now. The Charminar which was once surrounded by royal piazzas is today encompassed by skyscrapers and the bustling modern city life. But inspite of all this, nothing can wane the elegance of Charminar!! <br>
It's here that you'll find the traditional teahouses, known for their hearty repartee and their burqe-vali-chai ('tea that wears a veil' -- a reference to the thick layers of cream on top). Then there are all the narrow little streets with their specialist trades: the street of the silver-beaters, the street of the flower-sellers, the street of the apothecaries and, of course, Laad Bazaar, the street of the bangle-sellers. Named, perhaps appropriately, after a pampered Qutub Shahi princess, Laad Bazaar is lined on one side with shops selling brightly coloured glass bangles -- and on the other side, with those selling traditional Hyderabadi cosmetics, bridal accessories and attar, or perfumes.
Built with granite and lime-mortar, the Charminar is a fine example of the Cazia style of architecture. The intertwined arches and domes are typical of the Islamic architecture. The graceful floral motif atop the Charminar is enchanting!
If you are visiting Hyderabad it will be truly incomplete if you do not visit this simple building on the banks of Musi.