Government Museum, Gadag

Government Museum in Gadag houses collection of archaeological and geological artifacts. The Museum is very near to Railway Station (around 500 metres) and Bus stop (1000 metres).

Gadag, which is known for its rich cultural history, was earlier known as Krutapura. It was ruled at various times by Kalyani Chalukyas, Yadavas and the Hoysala dynasty. Each of these civilisations left its mark on the region in terms of temple architecture, inscriptions and culture. The outdoor display of artefacts at the Government Museum in Gadag, collected through excavations in Vijayapura, Gadag-Betageri and Lakkundi regions provide a glimpse of the tradition, art and architecture of the glorious times in North Karnataka’s history. The museum, maintained by the Department of Archaeology, has some rare finds, including geological objects, on display. These are neatly arranged and labelled inside the museum as well as in the open yard in its premises.

The outdoor exhibits here reveal interesting information about the traditions and religious beliefs of the ancient culture that existed in and around Gadag. In those times, veeragallus (hero stones), were built to honour the brave when they die in the battlefield. Each veeragallu was different in terms of content and design. A variation of this is mastikallu, which is basically a memorial stone. One more sculpture seen here is a 12-century nagashilpa. It indicates that many ancient civilisations worshipped the serpent king by erecting a nagashilpa. The kings in those times honoured saints and scholars irrespective of their religion or faith. The statue of a Jain saint named Parshwanatha muni placed in the Gadag museum is an evidence for that.

There is a harmonious blend of Chalukya and Hoysala style in the architecture and sculptures on display. The first gallery is called sculpture gallery. Jain influence on the region could be seen as we see many idols of Jain thirthankaras (12th century AD) on display here. A rare inscription of Dana Chintamani Attimabbe describes a donation given by her for the construction of a Jain basadi.

Worship of Goddess Adi Shakti in and around Gadag was a tradition in those times. People used to offer prayers to sculptures like saptamatrikas, a panel containing seven mother figures. A 12-century saptamatrika sculpture is seen here. A few Kannada shilashasansas (edicts) are exhibited in the museum. A few objects discovered during the archaeological excavations at Lakkundi are also on display. They include objects like necklace, ivory objects and clay items. The Kalyani Chalukyas left their mark near Betageri, where figures of Devi in the form of alankara shilpa (decorative panels) have been discovered. The figures of gods and goddess that are on display in the museum include Ganesha, Kala Bhairava, Kubera, Laxminarayana on Garuda, Mahishasuramardini, Saraswati, Shiva, Veerabhadra and Vishnu.

The second gallery has an interesting collection of old and contemporary paintings. About 34 inscriptions including those pertaining to charity, donation, and land title have been discovered in the region, some of which are exhibited at the museum. The study of one of the earliest inscriptions dating back to 918 AD during the rule of Rashtrakuta king Indra III makes for an interesting reading. Publications on various aspects of Vijayanagar empire are also on sale.

The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Monday. Entry is free.