India’s youngest state Telangana can be truly described as treasure trove of archaeology. The state boasts of invaluable heritage, timeless monuments and many more. The Deccan region of India, encompassing the state of Telangana has been renowned since ages for its heritage legacy and the imprint of several dynasties and their architectural marvels.
After bifurcation, the State of Telangana was formed with effect from 2nd June, 2014. There have been enormous strides by the department with the formation of the new state. A world- class website along with vibrant presence on online and social media has brought name and fame to the state archaeology. The exclusive mobile app for Archaeology & Museums, Telangana is a novel and first-of- its-kind initiative for any state. Exploring the wonderful heritage, monuments and the activities of Archaeology department of Telangana, is now possible from the comfort of smartphone.
A museum is an institution that conserves a collection of unique artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, as well as scientific importance. The museums make these rare objects available for public viewing through exhibits. There are thirteen prominent museums in the state of Telangana. There are two sites museums in the state, namely Alampur and Kolanupaka. The district museums are in Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Pillalamarri and Panagal. Hyderabad city has four museums of great significance. Telangana region is home to several monuments spread across the thirty one districts. These were built by the rulers of several prominent dynasties of this region, representing the cultural zenith of Telangana state.
The Department of Archaeology and Museums has entered into an agreement with the Agha Khan Trust for Culture in India, an expert in the field of Conservation and Preservation of the Monuments, and the representatives of Agha Khan Trust, Paris, France. The Agha Khan Trust came forward for preserving and conserving the Qutb Shahi Tombs Complex, Golconda with their funds. Works are in progress. Princess Esra, one of the heiresses of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty of erstwhile Hyderabad state has contributed immensely for the restoration of the iconic Chowmahallah palace near Charminar in the old city area of Hyderabad, which secured the prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation to the palace in 2010.
The Department of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Telangana, India hosted “Rediscovering Telangana”, an international Seminar on the Recent Trends in Archaeology, Art History and Conservation on January 16 & 17, 2017. The Marri Chenna Reddy HRD Institute in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad was the venue for this prestigious seminar. The seminar was attended by eminent historians, authors and other important panellists from India and the world. There have been special lectures, panel discussions and book release events held as part of this seminar, which was planned to showcase Telangana Archaeology on an international arena, and is aimed at truly ‘Rediscovering Telangana’, in the modern age.
The Telangana State Archaeology & Museums department has been making enormous strides after state formation, and it is one of the most active archaeology departments in India. Now it has created history through a MoU with the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), for the first such form of initiative undertaken in the country. The archaeology department of Telangana and CCMB have started a mega mission to trace the genetic mystery, whilst unravelling the ancestral roots of the natives of Telugu states. This a first-of- its-kind research on people living towards the south of Vindhyas that will be exploring the realms of ancient DNA for the purpose of decoding the genesis of the modern- day AP and Telangana natives. It is also expected to reveal more information on the genetic structure of ancient people, who have habitated the Deccan plateau and coastal regions, centuries back. There is an archaeological skeletal repertoire housed at Department of Archaeology and Museum, Hyderabad, which includes human skeletal collection from the Megalithic and Historic period. The major objective of the proposed study envisages creating an individual-wise inventory of skeletal material and preliminary observations from the incidence of palaeopathological lesions and anomalies, followed by the interpretation of the results in bio-cultural perspectives. CCMB is a prestigious institute in South Asia and the only scientific body, equipped with a world-class DNA research laboratory. Now, the Telangana state archaeology department has entered into a MoU for a detailed analysis of the bone samples which were collected from various places of Telugu states over many years. Further by matching the DNA, it is possible to understand from which part of the earth, our ancestors had migrated and the period in which they eventually settled down in the Deccan and coastal plains. CCMB is embarking on a full-fledged study for the first time involving the skeletal remains obtained from Telugu states. This is a first-ever effort to understand the ancient civilization and heritage.
Heritage, from the bygone era represents the best of what our ancestors and royal dynasties have gifted us in the form of monuments, relics, artefacts etc. Telangana state is replete with such invaluable treasures and the Department of Archaeology and Museums leaves no stone unturned towards safeguarding the priceless masterpieces and monuments of yore, reflected in the several initiatives and development plans. It is also equally the responsibility of the people of Telangana, in lending their support for the conservation plans and extend co- operation to the government and the departments concerned to protect the unique and precious legacy of their state.