Lucknow the culturally rich city in Uttar Pradesh abounds in several types of tourist attractions. All the sites enjoy distinguished position and offer feast for eyes. If some sites are famous for their intricate architectural magnificence then there are some sites that draw attention for their connections with the royal past. Truly speaking, a remarkable distinction between the sites can easily be perceived. Of the different types of the places of tourist interest, museums in Lucknow are visited most. However, the one that has risen into immense popularity among them is the State Museum in Lucknow.
The Lucknow State Museum is situated in a contemporary three storey building at Banarasibagh. It is a multipurpose museum. Its extensive array of collections comprise of sculptures, bronzes, paintings, natural history and anthropological specimens, coins, textiles and decorative arts. It is touted among the oldest museums of the state and richest in the country. It is a good place to see the rich collection of artifacts and memorabilia of which the Numismatic, Handicrafts, Natural history and ethnographic sections of the museum warrant special attention.
History of State Museum, Lucknow
State Museum in Lucknow was earlier located in the historic Choti Chattar Manzil and the Lai Baradari which were the coronation hall of the nawabs of Avadh. However in 1963 it was shifted to new premises. At present it is located in the three storey building that is in the Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens.
Description of State Museum, Lucknow
Located in the modern three storied building in the Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens, the Lucknow State Museum is no doubt an incongruous sight in the vicinity but it is a site worth visiting. Initially this site held collections on Avadh arts and objects related to customs, habits and mythology of India. Eventually its collection grew in number and size to include even the excavated antiquities from Piparahawa, Kapilavastu, where the Lord Buddha was brought up. At present this museum is characterized as a multipurpose museum for showcasing sculpture, bronzes, paintings, natural history and anthropological specimens, coins, textiles and decorative arts.
It is held that some of the collections at the State Museum in Lucknow are very rare and enjoy great values. Of these invaluable collections the 17th century engraved wine jar having the name of Aurangzeb Alamgir, a 1036 AD dated jade chamakali bearing the name Jahangir, a 16th century painting of a picture from the Kalpasutra portraying an elephant rider and a Jain mum, a 16th century copy of the Harivansha in Persian with 9 illustrations, rarely found silver and gold coins, an ancient anthropomorphic figure and a fossilized plant deserve special attention. Not only this, the Egyptian mummy and wooden sarcophagus of 1000 BC add extra charm to the collection.
At Lucknow State Museum you will also come across the 2nd century BC primitive images of Balarama, panchmukhi and a statue of Saraswati. Of the interesting numismatics the Jahangir's silver zodiac coins made at the Ahmedabad mint is an eye-catcher. To bask in the glory of archaeological objects the Lai Baradari and the Kaisarbagh units of the museum are best to head for. They put on display the excavated antiquities from Uttar Pradesh.