Nagpur is a city, which is more than 300 years old. Founded by Gond King Bhakt Buland Shah in 1702, the orange city, which is the geographical centre of India, has a rich cultural history. In the past, central India (comprising Nagpur and areas around it), has been ruled by the Gonds, the Vakatakas, the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Yadavas, the Mughals, the Bhonsles and the Britishers. For a person hailing from central India who loves history, it would be a dream come true to be able to travel back in time and get a glimpse of central India’s history. And the 150-year-old Central Museum located at Civil Lines, Nagpur, gives one a chance to do just that! The museum, which is also often called ‘Ajab Bangla,‘ is one of the oldest museums in Maharashtra. Nation Next, today, on International Museum Day, through pictures takes you inside Nagpur’s Central Museum, which has ancient inscriptions, statues, sculptures and prehistoric artifacts and numerous ancient items on display.
Pictures by: Suyash Sethiya
The decision to set up Nagpur Central Museum was taken on October 27, 1862 to preserve the work done by the antiquarian society of the Central Provinces. A committee was then set up by Chief Commissioner Sir Richard Temple. The architectural design of the museum was prepared by Captain Cobb.
The construction of the hall of the museum measuring 70x25x20 feet high, with 10 verandas around, started with a sum of Rs 7,000 and the Nagpur Central Museum was established in 1863. Today, the museum is spread across 88,000 square feet.
Initially, the museum was taken care of under the guidance of Director of Public Instruction, but in 1883 the responsibility was handed over to the Director of Agriculture. In 1919, this responsibility shifted to the Department of Industries. Post-independence, the galleries at the museum were reorganized keeping in mind the changing times. Today, the Central Museum is being controlled by the Director of Department of Archaeology and Museums and Government of Maharashtra.
The garden area at the museum consists of two statues of Queen Victoria. The statues, before Indian independence were installed by the Britishers at Vidhan Bhavan and at Victoria Technical Institute (the place where Maharajbagh Zoo is located today). After the independence, in 1948, these statues were dislodged from these places and thrown in the Ambazari lake by the citizens. Thirty eight years later, in 1986, when the water level decreased in the lake, these statues came to fore. They were then taken in custody by Department of Archeology and Museums and were installed at Nagpur’s Central Museum where they still stand today.
In the garden area, there are also several other ancient statues, which have been unearthed over the years by archeologists from Central India. Many of these statues date back to 10th, 11th and 12th century AD!
A ‘Avlokitesvara’ statue dating back 12th century AD, which was unearthed from Gopalpur, Jabalpur District. Avolokitesvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas.
A ‘Parshvanatha’ statue dating back 11th century AD, which was unearthed from Ratanpur (Madhya Pradesh). Parshvanatha is said to be the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism.
A ‘Varaha’ statue dating back 11th century AD, which was unearthed from Damoh (Madhya Pradesh). Varaha is the avatar of Lord Vishnu in the form of a boar.
The statue of ‘Indra’ dating back 10th century AD, which was unearthed from Bhandak, Chandrapur district. Indra is considered as a deity in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
There are a total nine types of galleries at Nagpur’s Central Museum:
Gallery 1: Natural History Gallery
The natural history gallery consists of specimens of fossils and minerals discovered from the earths surface along with remains of the natural history. All these specimens were collected from central India and hold geographical and geological importance.
The big white stone in the extreme left is ‘Dendrite.’ Dendrites are pseudo plant fossil like structures containing minerals like manganese and iron. They are formed due to water flowing along the fractures of a rock.
The remaining three specimens besides dendrite are ‘Ammonites.’ Ammonites are marine invertebrate animals belonging to Cephalopoda class and became extinct probably 65 million years ago along with the dinosaurs. In India, their fossils are found in the Gandaki river valley and Shaligram in North India.
Right hind foot of Jainosaurus, a titanosaurian dinosaur, found at Chota Simla hills in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh in 1932-33. The foot is approximately 67.5 million years old.
The skull and teeth of the prehistoric elephant species – Elephas Namadicus. This Asian species became extinct approximately 15,000 years ago.
Gallery 2: Mammal, Avian and Reptile gallery
This gallery displays taxidermic specimens of the mammalian, avian and reptile life forms. The mammalian examples mainly constitute of herbivorous and carnivorous animals. Avian life form comprise specimens of some rare birds like the white crow. Water animals category include specimens of both river and sea animals.
Taxidermic specimens of birds from Asia, Europe and The United States of America donated by Captain A Bloomfield in 1873.
Taxidermic specimen of Grey Pelican, which breeds in the large lakes of southern Asia.
Taxidermic specimens of Bengal Tiger, a species which is considered as an endangered one.
Gallery 3: Stone Sculpture Gallery
This gallery houses the pride possessions of the museum in form of numerous stone sculptures related to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists from ancient India up to the 18th Century. Sculptures from Gandhara art and Vakataka period are also at display at this gallery.
A statue of ‘Lord Vishnu’ dating back to the medieval period of 11th century AD, unearthed from Seoni, Madhya Pradesh. Lord Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism.
A statue of ‘Lord Mahasadashiva’ dating back to the Vakataka period, 4th – 5th century AD, unearthed from Mandhal, Nagpur district. Lord Mahasadashiva is considered as the supreme form of Lord Shiva by Hindus.
A statue of seated ‘Lord Buddha’ dating back to the Gandhara period, 1st – 2nd century AD, unearthed from Peshawar, Pakistan.
Gallery 4: Tribal Art and Culture Gallery
This gallery displays objects of day ? to ? day use of the tribes of central India. These tribes include Gonds, Korakus, Madias and Banjaras. The tribal objects at display include tools, clothes, ornaments, musical instruments, etc.
Ancient wallets made from leather and jute at display.
Ancient tobacco cases made from wood at display.
A visitor at the museum studies the ancient musical instruments kept at display.
Different types of ancient ornaments made from iron and brass at display.
Gallery 5: Arms and Weapons Gallery
Various arms and weapons used in ancient warfare are at display at this gallery. These weapons include the weapons used by Marathas, Mughals, Rajputs, Sikhs and Britishers during wars. Various ancient swords, knives, lances, spears, shields, helmets, revolvers and guns are at display at this gallery.
Swords, shields, knives and lances from Mughal, Rajput and Maratha period (from left to right) at display.
Weapons from the British period at display.
Body armours used during ancient wars at display.
Gallery 6: Painting gallery
This gallery features natural portraits, landscapes, etc., by eminent artists like Baburao Painter, MV Dhurandhar, V Masoji, VV Athavle, SL Haldankar and others.
Oil paintings at display.
Gallery 7: Art and Craft Gallery
This gallery is located in the central hall of the museum building. Specimen related to art and crafts, such as horns, terracotta, ceramic, metal, etc., are at display at the gallery.
Age-old nut crackers and other items made from brass and bronze at display.
Age-old plates made from brass and bronze at display.
Gallery 8: Archeological Gallery
The famous artifacts and replica from Indus valley civilization like human and animal figurines, ceramic and seals are at display at this gallery. However, the main attraction of this gallery are the archeological antiques recovered after excavation from the Vidarbha region. The gallery also include stone tools, cooper tools, cooper plates inscription, manuscripts, etc.
Vakataka king Devsena’s inscription dating back to 4th century AD, unearthed from Hisseborala, Akola district. The inscription, which is in Sanskrit and written in Brahmi, records the construction of a lake called Sudarshan by Arya Swamilla.
Gallery 9: Nagpur Heritage Gallery
This gallery was inaugurated in 2014 on the occasion of completion of 150 years of the museums establishment. The remains and history of Nagpur district related to architectural heritage, art, eminent persons, freedom fighters, etc., are on display at the gallery in form of photographs, maps, miniatures and models.
Sketches of the eminent personalities of Nagpur at display. The gallery also consists of old and new pictures of important landmarks and monuments of Nagpur.
Nagpur’s Central Museum is curated by Dr Virag Sontakke along with thirty other employees. With an intention to boost the number of people visiting the museum, Central Museum will now allow photography inside. The museum can be visited between 10 am to 5 pm for a meager ticket price of Rs 5 for adults and Rs 3 for children. The museum remains closed on Monday and other important days like January 26, August 15, Holi (second day), May 1, Dussehra and Diwali.
With 7000 luxury cars, gold fitted private jets, Sultan of Brunei has everything money can buy
With a personal wealth of £15 billion (approx rupees one lakh crore) Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah (76) has been the king for over 54 years now. Sultans huge fortune is said to increase by £80 (₹7000) per second from just oil assets that he possesses. The Sultan is the second wealthiest monarch in the world after the King of Thailand
Flew his hairdresser via private jet for a £19,000 haircut!
Such has been the Sultans lifestyle that he once flew his barber in his private jet for a single haircut, which cost him a total of £19,000 (approx ₹16.5 lakh) Not just this but hes also known to have his polo shoes flown by his helicopter for a match.
Once court papers in 2012 revealed that he paid £1.26 million (approx. ₹10.92 crore) to his badminton coach, £1.25million (approx. ₹10 crore) for acupuncture, massage and spent £50,000 (approx. ₹ 43 lakh) on guards for his exotic birds.
The Sultan, who spends around £17million (approx. ₹147 crore) on just jewellery as presents for his family members, paid two of his housekeepers £7million (approx. ₹60 crore) each! Once, the Royal Family spent so much at London jewellers Asprey that, in 1995, he decided to buy the entire company at a cost of £320million (approx. ₹2700 crore)!
Multiple marriages, divorces
In 1965, the Sultan married his cousin Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, with whom he has six children, including Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee.
The Sultan remarried, but Raja still remains his wife and the Queen Consort. He married Hajah Mariam in 1982 a year before first wife Queen Saleha gave birth to their sixth child. He met her while she was working as an airhostess on a national airline.
He divorced Hajah (who was the mother of four children) in 2003 and stripped her off her royal titles. He then married TV presenter Azrinaz Mazhar, with whom he had two children before they divorced in 2010.
Micheal Jackson performed for Sultan’s 6000 subjects on his birthday
Father of 12, Sultan celebrated the weddings of his five children for a week by spending millions on each wedding. When Sultans eldest son Crown Prince, married a teenager Sarah Salleh (17), she wore jewel-encrusted Christian Louboutin heels and pure gold anklet. His daughter, Princess Azemah, 38, married her first cousin in week-long wedding on January 25, 2023.
For his oldest daughter’s wedding, Princess Rashidah, American singer Whitney Houston was flown in to sing at the reception and the Sultan paid her £5.5million (approx. ₹47 crore).
Sultans 50th birthday in 1996 was celebrated for over 15 days that cost him over £20 million (₹173 crore). The extravagant celebrations comprised a polo match, gala dinner for 3,000 at the opulent Palace where caviar from the endangered beluga was served.
Apart from this, the guests enjoyed free-flow of champagne. Not just this, the Sultan paid Micheal Jackson £14 million (approx ₹120 crore), for which the pop singer performed at three concerts – one for Sultans 6000 subjects and two for his private guests. The Sultan as a token presented every guest of his a solid gold medal!
1788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, air-conditioned stable for ponies
The Sultan resides at the Instana Nurul Iman Palace, which is the largest Royal residence in the world. The residence that was built over two years costs over £1billion (approx. ₹8600 crore) that includes 1788 rooms and 257 bathrooms.
With gold and diamond all over, the residence has five huge swimming pools, a banquet hall that can accommodate over 5000 guests and a mosque with a capacity of 1500 people. Apart from all this, there’s also a fully air-conditioned stable for Sultans 200 polo ponies (small horses)!
Most expensive private house in UK
The Sultan owns a lavish house in Londons most expensive area Regent Park, St Johns Lodge that consists of three linked properties. The same property in London was bought for £40million in 1994 (estimated to be worth £110 million [approx. ₹953 crore]) by making it the most expensive private house in the United Kingdom!
Known for being generous in gifting huge properties to his family members, the Sultan also owns plush properties on the Gold Coast of Australia, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, to name a few.
The Sultan in 1997 gifted his playboy brother Prince Jefri a mansion worth £45 million (approx. ₹390 crore) in Las Vegas that has 92 rooms, 29 bedrooms, 42 bathrooms, a tennis court, three swimming pools and a huge garage that houses 11 cars.
7000 cars worth £5billion
With almost 7000 cars, the Sultan possess the world’s largest car collection that include over 600 Rolls Royce, 500 Mercedes, 450 Ferraris, 380 Bentleys, over 100 Koenigsegg, 21 Lamborghinis, 11 Aston Martins, 179 Jaguars and 209 BMWs. His £5billion (approx ₹43000 crore) collection also includes a 24-carat gold-plated silver Spur Limo used for Royal weddings.
Private jets decorated in gold
Not just cars, the Sultan is the proud owner of the £233 million (approx. ₹2000 crore) customised Boeing 747, with a living room and bedroom decorated in gold and crystals and washbasins of solid gold.
Apart from this, he also owns a customised Airbus worth £75m (approx. ₹649 crore) and a Boeing 767 worth £136m (approx. ₹1200 crore).
(PS: The figures are an approximate value calculated as per the current market price, which have been sourced from The Sun)
17-year-old girl gang-raped in car at Nagpur
Nagpur Police arrested two men on Wednesday for allegedly gang-raping a 17-year-old girl in a car on Monday…