The State Museum, located in a modern three-storeyed
building at Banarasibagh in
Lucknow was once
situated in the historic Choti Chattar Manzil and the Lal Baradari, the
erstwhile Coronation Hall of the Nawabs of Avadh.
Moved in 1963 to its new premises, situated incompatibly in the Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens, the State Museum initially had a splendid collection centered on the arts of Avadh and objects related to the customs, habits and mythology of India. Gradually, it expanded to include excavated antiquities from Piparahawa, Kapilavastu, where the Buddha grew up.
THE PRICELESS POSSESIONS
A multipurpose museum, it houses valuable and prized collection of sculptures, bronzes, paintings, natural history and anthropological specimens, coins, textiles and decorative arts.
The exceptional invaluables include:
· an inscribed wine jar bearing the name of Aurangzeb Alamgir (1 7th century)
· A jade chamakali with the name 'jahangir' and the date 1036 AD.
· A 16th century painting of a scene from the Kalpasutra, depicting an elephant rider and a Jain muni.
· A 16th century copy of the Harivansha in Persian with nine illustrations.
· Rare silver and gold coins, a prehistoric anthropomorphic figure.
· A fossilised plant.
· The Egyptian mummies.
· The wooden sarcophagus, dating back to 1000 BC.
Among the rare stone sculptures is the earliest image of Balarama and a 'panchmukhi shivalinga' (both 2nd century BC), and a statue of Saraswati, reputed for the earliest depiction (2nd century AD). The coin collection dates from 6th century BC onwards. Two recent acquisitions are Jahangir's silver zodiac coins made at the Ahmedabad mint.
The archaeology section, the Lal Baradari in the Kaisarbagh unit of the museum, has on display the excavated antiquities from Uttar Pradesh.
The State Museum is open all days except Monday, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.