Located on the island of Nagarjunakonda the renowned Buddhist site in Andhra Pradesh is Nagarjunakonda Museum – a Buddhist Museum that houses a wide collection of Buddhist relics and structures that were excavated during the construction of the dam at the man-made Nagarjunasagar Lake.
Boasting of a collection that dates back to the third and fourth century, the Nagarjunakonda Museum was established with the aim to collect, preserve and exhibits various relics that were retrieved from the excavations and is housed in a spacious structure that suggests a Buddhist Vihara.
The Nagarjunakonda Museum has five galleries and each gallery has some unique exhibits like carved lime stone slabs, sculptures, inscriptions, and other ancient remains in addition to a stone image of Buddha, old inscriptions, panels that are carved with Jakarta tales, tools like hoes, spears and hammers dating back to the Stone Age.
The main gallery is popular for the master pieces of Ikshvaku art and architecture depicting the images of Buddha in various postures, well sculptured ayaka-slabs, the cross beams of ayaka-platforms, which in all the elegance has beautifully captured the scenes from the life of Buddha. A separate section displays the development of human civilisation in the region from Stone Age to the Megalithic period through various excavated artefacts and adequate illustrations.
Other two galleries that are situated in a large hall display painted drum slabs, dome slabs, cornice beams and other architectural units of a stupa, a few Brahmanical sculptures in addition to a variety of earthen ware of the Ikshvaku and subsequent periods. Some of the prominent displays at these galleries are the carved architectural units that once adorned various stupas; Brahmanical sculptures like Kartikeya and his consort Devasena, a Sivalinga, a unique representation of Sati and a few figures of Vidyadharas.
Other attractions at the Nagarjunakonda Museum includes a Telugu inscription issued by king Purushottama of Orissa, the medieval sculptures that are on display include ornate Yoga-Narasimha, Mahishmardini, Durga, Siva and a Jain Tirthankara seated in Yoga-posture, which ranges from 14th-17th century.