The Brief Information of The Archaeological Museum, Vijayapura (Bijapur):
In 1885, under the British rule, the provincial capital of this region was shifted from Kaladgi to Bijapur. The ruins of the old Adil Shahi buildings and palaces were renovated and utilized for government offices. Even now many state government offices are in the old palace buildings. Many antiquities were found from the ruins during the clearance of the debris. To display the antiquities thus found, a museum was established in 1892, which became a district museum in 1912. It was taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India from the State government of Mysore in 1962.
The Archaeological museum is situated in front of the Gol Gumbaz in a double storied building called Nagaad khana(the trumpet house). The drums and trumpets kept here, were played to welcome the king and his noblemen on their arrival at this complex and to indicate the hour of the day. It was constructed in 1631 AD by Mohammed Adil Shah. The north-south passage in the centre of the ground floor of the museum was the original passage leading to the Gol Gumbaz, as such the museum building was the original entrance to the Gol Gumbaz complex.
The museum building is in the typical Adil Shahi architectural style with solid arches and massive piers. The external elevation on the front and the back have arched openings, at present covered by perforated wooden windows fixed in the British period. The design, of these wooden windows, with the three arched openings at the bottom and the sun motif at the top, was borrowed from the original pattern of the windows of the Asar Mahal in Bijapur. The corners of the front façade have massive pillars with octagonal shafts.
Inside the museum, The north-south passage on the ground floor is flanked on either side by raised platforms with halls divided into bays by arched piers. The upper storey, accessible by a single narrow staircase, has a large hall divided into a number of bays by arched piers.
The museum has six galleries; three on the ground floor and three on the first floor. It houses antiquities from 6th to 18th century AD, with special emphasis on Adil Shahi art objects. Select specimens displayed in the galleries are Hindu sculptures(Gallery-I), Jaina sculptures(Gallery-II), Inscriptions in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Kannada languages(Gallery-III), Arms, Armours and Bidri ware(Gallery-IV), Miniature paintings, Carpets and other Metal objects(Gallery-V), Arabic and Persian manuscripts, Chinese porcelain and Royal orders(Gallery-VI).
Gallery No. 1 :Displayed Hindu sculptures of Ganesha, Vishnu, Nataraja, Lintel of a temple, Salabhanjika, hero stones, Chauri-bearers, Sati, Doorjamb, and other smaller ones of Parvathi, Veerabhadra, Elephant, Prabhavali, Stone rests with handle perhaps used for exercise, Round stone handle for lifting (smaller) etc.
Gallery No.2 :on entering the Museum displayed Sculptures like Jain Tirthankaras, Parswantaha, few more sculptures of Tirthankaras are in Khadgasara/ Kayotsaraga Mudra, Miniature Stone objects,
Pillar inscription of Mangalesha: (CE 596-609), the Western Chalukya King, got this ‘Religious Victory pillar’ (Dharma Jayastambha) installed in his 5th regnal year (=CE 601-602). It is a 16-sided sandstone pillar in a single piece. It is about 22 feet (6.75m) in height and having a basal diameter of 6 feet (1.84m). It is topped by a ribbed gooseberry fruit (Amala), like stone. An inscription composed in Sanskrit language but carved in 6th – 7th century Kannada script, is engraved on this pillar in sixteen lines from bottom to top, at a height of 7 feet (2.15m) to a further height of 3 feet (0.92m).
The inscription, after giving the genealogy of the Western Chalukya monarchs from Jayasimha upto Mangalesha and the exploits of the ruling King, records the installation of this religious victory pillar on the occasion of granting ten villages for the worship of Makuteshvaranatha, at Mahakuta. The villages are Shriyambataka (Siribadagi), Vhrihimukhagrama (Nelurige), Kisuvolal (Pattadakal), Kendoramanya (Kendur), Nandigrama (Nandikeshvara) etc., all now in the Badami taluk, of dist. Bagalkot, for the worship of Makuteshvaranatha, at Mahakuta
This grant was made with the consent of and in the auspicious presence of Queen Durlabhadevi, wife of Pulakeshin-I (AD 540-566) and stepmother of Mangalesha.
This pillar was originally installed in the Mahakuteshvara temple complex at Mahakuta near Badami, Dist. Bagalkot. Subsequently it was shifted to this Museum for proper preservation in around 1890.
Gallery 3: Displayed inscribed stone records in Sanskrit, Kannada, Persian and Arabic Languages, beside a few architectural fragments, stone Chain, Finial, etc.
Gallery 4: on ascending to the first floor, is seen an old map of Bijapur fort showing some important monuments, fortifications, bastions mounted with cannons over them. in the adjoining wing of this gallery are displayed arms and weapons small cannons, cannon balls, sword of Justic and Lamchar gun, Bidri ware and metal utensils used in rituals are presented in the other wing of the same gallery, besides house hold articles of Adilshah kings in the showcases.
Gallery 5: has three wings, of which the first one has on display the photographs of the Adilshahi rulers. Most interesting exhibits are the miniature paintings of the Bijapur school. In the adjacent small wings of the same gallery are displayed, the coins of the Adilshahi sultans, of different denominations and sizes issued by different rulers from Ali-I to Sikandar Adilshah, the last sultan. In the next wing are exhibited carpets in five showcases, one of them was used during Namaz (jaha Namaz) in the Jami Masjid. Two stone fishes and stonetroughs used originally in the fountains of Asar Mahal, form the display in the remaining wing besides various types of locks and keys in the showcases.
Gallery 6: has the exhibition of rare manuscripts of the holy quran, some of them with gracefully embellished in golden letters. in the next hall are displayed big storage jars. Enamelled porcelain and china wares all for the domestic use and Sanads and Farman’s are exhibited in the adjoining hall of the same gallery. They are normally royal orders of judgements written in Persian or Arabic languages. A wooden door frame having geometrical and floral ornamentation is of additional interest in this gallery.