The hitherto derelict courtyard of the Tiruchi government museum located in Town Hall ,where Rani Mangammal once held court, has something to offer now for history and art lovers, with a sculpture park being opened on Tuesday.

A total of 45 stone sculptures of gods and goddesses dating from 13 century to 18 century are on display at the rear portion of the museum. Totally, 21 sculptures have been mounted on individual concrete pedestals installed on a hexagonal plinth with paved flooring. Twenty-four other sculptures are lined up on a long platform on the side. While the pedestals were constructed at a cost of Rs. 56,000, other expenses including paved flooring were drawn from the maintenance fund. The sculpture park was opened by Collector Jayashree Muralidharan. Apart from idols of Vishnu, Sridevi, Brahma, Ganesha, Murugan and Dwarkabalala, sculptures include an 18 century sacrificial altar, stone nandhis and lingams.

The sculptures, earlier relegated to the backyard of the museum, have been given prominent display in a bid to attract more visitors, S.Paneerselvam, curator (additional charge) of the museum said.

Twenty more sculptures would be added to the park and a pedestal has already been constructed, S.Dhanasekaran, special grade assistant told The Hindu. The museum has also planned to make the façade more impressive by setting up pedestals for sculptures at the entrance, he said. With admission fee waived for school students, the museum hopes to bring in more visitors.