A visit to Buddhist Museum On Nagarjunakonda Island in Nagarjuna Sagar
As written in an earlier post we took the boat to Nagarjunakonda island to visit the Buddhist museum on Nagarjunakonda island. We arrived suitably shaken and stirred on the island and were a witness to the great Indian rush to get out of the boat once again. Immediately after the boat docking platform there is a steep ascent to rise to the hill, remember Konda means hill in Telugu and Nagarjunakonda means the hill of Sage Nagarjuna, which is also the name of Telugu superstar Nagarjuna who seems to be getting younger with every passing year. As mentioned earlier the museum and the island are home to artifacts found during excavation work when the Nagarjuna Sagar dam was built and they were later moved on top of the hill to save them from drowning. Anyways we slowly climbed the steep incline to reach the top of the hill where museum is situated. I was very happy to note the well maintained gardens and monuments around us.
The island as such is not very big, but there are various Buddhist excavation sites on the island that are now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India ( It is a government of India department with primary objective to make sure that no body removes the names of love birds from the various monuments painstakingly itched or painted on heritage buildings by lovey dovey Bunty drunk in love of Bubbly).
We were on the island in December still in the afternoon it was very hot so we decided to go straight to the museum. Photography is not allowed inside the museum to protect the thousands of year old artifacts from fakes being created using pictures.
The museum is fairly elaborate and you can spend a couple of hours depending on how much interest you take in to the history, or how slowly you walk. Scenes showing life of the kings and general public during days when Buddhism was a predominant religion in most part of India are depicted in stone. Most of them very detailed and one wonders how much time a sculptor would have taken to create that stone and then multiply that with thousands of stones used in the monasteries, houses, palaces and you need a supercomputer to do calculations.
As I mentioned the island is scattered with old monuments besides the artifacts in the Buddhist museum on Nagarjunakonda island, check the map below before going and you can decided how much time you need to spend on each one. We did not visit the monuments in open due to heat, an umbrella is highly recommended if you are going in summer when it will be even more hot. If you check the last picture you will see a lot of white rocks exposed, that is the amount of water loss by December. Also I would recommend carry enough of your snacks and water etc. as the only source of food on the island is a small canteen and for some reason this guy believe that his is outside 12 nautical miles of Indian shores, hence has no respect for Indian laws related to MRP and giving a bill to customers. We were charged on an average 25-50% more for chocolates, chips and water etc. But most of the families like us were not prepared and paying him whatever he asked for.
The return journey was even more painful as we had to sit outside on concrete to wait for the boat and when the boat arrived it was worse than Kumbh Ka mela. I hope some authorities who are responsible for these boats do a better management on how people board and disembark from them otherwise one day in chaos major accident can happen.
Other posts in Nagarjuna Sagar series are here
- A Road Trip from Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar
- Boat to Nagarjunakonda Island Museum in Nagarjuna Sagar
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Traveler Tips: Ticket to the Buddisht museum on Nagarjunakonda island is purchased at the boat launch station before you board the boat. Carry enough food and water the canteen on island is not reliable. Museum closes around 4 PM so if you want to spend time in museum take an earlier boat. The last boat from Nagarjunakonda island leaves at 5:30 PM