On a hot sunny day, after a tiring walk in the Trivandrum Zoo, we headed towards the Napier Museum, which was established in 1857. Named after the Madras Governor Napier, the museum has a wide variety of coin collections, antique statues, musical instruments, chariot and weapons.
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The museum compound is a famous resting and relaxing place for people coming to Trivandrum and those residing in Trivandrum due to the lush greenery and good shade. It is a well known place for runners or joggers in the morning and evening.
A museum at Travancore was established in 1857 by the erstwhile Maharaja, Uthram Thirunal. It was one of the oldest in India. As the old building was not enough to display many more objects collected, it was pulled down and the present, Napier museum, was built and opened to the public in 1880 by Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja. This museum is named after Lord Napier, the former Governor General of Madras, is situated in the Museum compound right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city. This Architectural masterpiece was designed by Mr. Robert Chisholm, the consulting Architect of the Madras Government. This 135 year old structure is a landmark in the city with its unique ornamentation and architectural style with Gothic roof and minarets.
The museum has a fairly good collection of exhibition that counts to around 550 numbers. It offers an array of display of artistic, cultural and antique objects comprising of sculptures in bronze and stone, carving of wood and ivory, lamps, textiles, Kathakali models, handicraft items, Koftgari works, traditional musical instruments, a treasure of numismatic collections representing Chera, Chola, Pandya dynasties of Southern India etc. The Bronze display includes fascinating images of Sive, Vishnu, Parvathi and Lakshmi in ‘Silpa sastras’. The metal images illustrate the features of South Indian sculpture style of 8th to 18th century. The Vishnu image of 8th century collected from Ambalapuzha temple in Central Travancore which has Pallava style is the oldest metal image in the state.
The stone sculptures belong to 1st to 18th century such as Gandhara sculptures, Agasthya, Vishnu etc., manifest Dravidian influence. Shiva with Sati is a unique and rarest exhibit found in the museum. Each and every exhibit has a wonderful and fascinating tale twined around it.
The sword of Velu Thampi Dhalawa, one of the first martyr of Indian freedom struggle is presently displayed in this museum.
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