B. Madhu Gopal
The age-old sculptures are yet to see the light. They have not been on public display to this day
VISAKHAPATNAM: Any idea where the District Archaeological Museum is located? In all likelihood, your answer would be in the negative. A little over a decade ago, it was located in a rented building on a by-lane near the Port Stadium at Akkayyapalem.
About a decade ago, it was shifted to one corner of the Visakha Museum on the Beach Road but most of the visitors to the museum were unaware of its existence as the entrance to it was from the rear side and the artefacts were not kept on public display. On the contrary, they were literally dumped in the corner rooms due to lack of space.
About three years ago, the District Archaeological Museum was shifted to the new building of Visakha Museum. On entering the new building, visitors are directed to the stairway on the right, that leads to the first and second floors housing the Visakha Museum but not many know that taking a left turn could lead them to priceless sculptures.
Three years after shifting to the new building, the age-old sculptures are yet to see the light. They are not kept on public display to this day. Work on provision of proper display that started about a year ago is still incomplete.
While a few sculptures, a Siva Lingam and a pillar are lying on the corridor leading to the museum, some stone sculptures including that of Harati and Veera Saiva devotees (12th century AD) and Nandi and Siva Lingam (19th century AD) have been installed outside the corridor reportedly on the initiative taken by the GVMC.
“Lack of staff is coming in the way of display of the artefacts. We have written to the State officials for sanction of permanent staff. In the absence of adequate permanent staff, there is every risk of invaluable artefacts vanishing from the museum if they are kept on public display,” Assistant Director (Technical) Chittibabu told The Hindu.
The artefacts available include stone age sculptures, bronze idols and gold coins belonging to different dynasties. There is also a Plaster of Paris model tracing the evolution of pre-historic man and plans are on the cards to bring a reserve collection of bronze idols from the State Museum in Hyderabad. One can only wonder as to when the priceless artefacts will see the light of the day.