The Department of Archaeology was established in the year 1914 by H.E.H.Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan, the VIIth Nizam. It is now named as ‘The Department of Heritage Telangana’ The department is renowned and known for its activities related to archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of Telangana state. Maintenance of ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of historical importance is the major activity of the department. On the advice of the Director General of Archaeology of India, Prof. Ghulam Yazdani was appointed as its first Director.
Mr. Yazdani arrived in Hyderabad on April 26, 1914 and at once set himself to organize his office and to specify to Government the nature of his duties. His proposals were fully approved by the Government vide Proceedings No.19/7 MISC.OF 27th June 1914.
The duties of the director were defined as:
- To preserve authentic specimens of the monumental antiquities of the Dominions.
- To excavate such sites and areas as are likely to throw light on the past history of the state.
- To arrange for the systematic collection and location of movable antiquities.With a view to disseminate the knowledge among his beloved subjects, His Exalted Highness had graciously sanctioned the scheme for the establishment of a Museum in Hyderabad which he personally inaugurated on the 13th March 1931, contributing his personal collection of antiquities and Art objects recovered from his Dominions, for display.
After formation of the State of Andhra Pradesh in the year 1956, the former Hyderabad Archaeological Department was redesignated as the Department of Heritage Telangana and subsequently it became known as the Department of Heritage Telangana in the year 1960, till 1st June, 2014. After bifurcation, the State of Telangana was formed with effect from 2nd June, 2014.
Main Activities of the Department
The Department of Heritage Telangana is the premier organization for archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of Telangana state. Maintenance of ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of historical importance is the major activity of the department.
- Protection and preservation of historical monuments and sites (under A.P Ancient and Historical Monuments and-Archaeological Sites and Remains Act No. VII of 1960)
- Exploration and Excavation
- Epigraphical survey and Publications
- Establishment and upgradation of Museums
- Conservation of protected monuments and acquisition of treasure troves under the Indian Treasure Trove Act 1878 (AP T.T. Rules, 1959)
- Registration of antiquities under the Antiquities and Art treasure Act of 1972.
For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites, the entire state is divided into 3 Circles. The department consists of Directorate Office located at Gun foundry in Abids road and Regional Offices at Warangal (Warangal and Khammam), Karimnagar (Karimnagar, Adilabad and Nizamabad) and Mahabubnagar (Mahabubnagar and Nalgonda) and State Museum at Public Gardens Hyderabad.
The Hindu festivals like Ugadi, Srirama Navami, Bonalu, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Dasara, Deepavali, Sankranti, Holi, Mahashivaratri are celebrated with pomp, gaiety and devotion. Dasara is the main festival with the epithet ‘pedda panduga.’
Bathukamma, a part of Dasara festivities, is unique to Telangana. This colourful festival has historic, ecological, societal and religious significance. Women clad in glittering costumes and jewellery carry beautifully stacked Bathukammas with flowers like Tangedu, Gunugu, Chamanti and others to the village or street’s meeting point.
Making circles around the assembled Bathukammas, womenfolk recite songs in a group. The songs have their roots in Puranas, History and even in the recent political and social developments of the particular region. The fete culminates in Saddula Bathukamma where the villagers immerse the flower stacks in the nearby tanks and lakes.
Bonalu is a Hindu Festival, celebrated during the Telugu month of Ashadam (translates to June/ July of Gregorian calendar) wherein Goddess Mahakali is worshiped. The festival is also considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfilling the desires of devotees.
As part of the festival, Bojanam or Meal is offered to the presiding Mother Goddess. Women prepare rice cooked with Milk, Jaggery in a Brass or Earthen Pot adorned with Neem Leaves, Turmeric, Vermilion putting a Lighted Diya on top of the Ghatam.
While Ramzan is the main festival of Muslims, Moharram too is celebrated on a large scale in Telangana. It is known famously as ‘peerla panduga.’ Pir means Master. Many Hindus take part in the festival.
Chirstians, mainly in and around Hyderabad celebrate Christmas and Good Friday with great fervor and religiosity.
Arts and Crafts
Telangana is a great place for arts and crafts with many astounding handicrafts.
The unique art of silver engraved on metal. Black, gold and silver coatings are applied on this. It involves various several stages like casting, engraving, inlaying and oxidizing. The name of this art form is derived from a town called Bidar (currently part of Karnataka) of the erstwhile Hyderabad state.
Banjara Needle Crafts
Banjara Needle Crafts are the traditional handmade fabrics made by Banjaras (the tribal Gypsies) in Telangana. It is a form of embroidery and mirror work on fabrics employing the needlecraft.
Dokra Metal Crafts
Dhokra or Dokra is also known as bell metal craft and is widely seen in Jainoor Mandal, Ushegaon and Chittalbori in Adilabad district. The tribal craft produces objects like figurines, tribal gods, etc. The work consists of folk motifs, peacocks, elephants, horses, measuring bowl, lamp caskets and other simple art forms and traditional designs.
The renowned Nirmal oil paintings use natural dyes for depicting themes from the epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Also, the wood paintings and other wooden articles, has great aesthetic expression. The origin of the Nirmal craft is traced back to the Kakatiya era. The motifs used for Nirmal craft are floral designs and frescoes from the regions of Ajanta and Ellora and Mughal miniatures.
Telangana is famous world-wide for its amazing Bronze castings. While using solid casting of icons, the mould is created using several coatings of different clays on a finished wax model. This process then imparts fine curves to the cast image.