The Archaeological museum at Amaravati is a home to many relics that dates back to thousands of years, found during excavations. This museum unfolds the wealth of Amaravati that belonged to 3rd century BC, through the galaxy of sculptures that once were a part of Mahachaitya (the Giant Stupa).
There are different galleries that take you close to the very old history of Amaravati and the life of the Buddhists in those days.
In the first gallery we can find the ancient art traditions of Amaravati. The Purnakumbha designs and the Lotus designs here express the intricate art of those days. The two drum of slabs depicting the Stupas, Svastika mark on the cushioned seat of the throne under the Bodhi tree which is considered as symbolical representation of Lord Buddha, the Agni Skanda (Flaming pillar), the dome and the standing Buddha belonging to 8th century are the master collections of this museum.
The second gallery of the museum shows the life size standing image of Buddha with Maha Purusha Lakshana (Marks of a great man). A beautiful round panel over a cross bar which is engraved with the episode of Rahula s presentation to Buddha by his father Suddhodhana is a marvellous piece in narration and carving in the museum. There are also some gold coins and beads belonging to that period.
The third gallery exhibit some of the beautiful sculptures belonging to 2nd century BC. Some of them include Yakshi of Bharhut tradition, a stele (an ancient stone, slab or pillar) with labelled panels, fragmented pillar edict of Asoka, images of Buddha from Alluru, Dharma Chakra from Lingarajapalli, Bodhisatvas and a dome slab depicting the jewels of Buddhist order viz. The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha in a panel represented by a Bodhi Tree and the Stupas worshipped by devotees are all noteworthy. The couple in round in the central showcase is a masterpiece of Amaravati Art, with full of vigour and vitality of the Satavahana period. The life size Nandishwara (bull) of Satavahana period marks as an attractive piece of the museum.
The museum has panels that portray the model of Stupa, a part of reconstructed railing, Siddhartha s departure from his palace, episode of Nalagiri, which was the royal elephant of Ajaatasatru, worship of Buddha s feet by lady devotees, and many more that gives you a glimpse of historic days. For many years, the Amaravati sculptures in the British Museum were not on display but were stored in the museum s basement. A few years ago, the museum constructed a new gallery for these sculptures. In an attempt to convey the significance of these sculptures and how they originally looked, a section of the Stupa has been recreated by arranging the sculptures on the gallery wall up to height of 15 feet. A portion of the railing or fence has also been reconstructed in front of the gallery. As the sculptures are extremely sensitive to air pollution and changes in temperature, the gallery has been de-humidified and air-conditioned and is enclosed by a glass wall. The Madras Museum has now announced its plans to renovate its Amaravati Gallery.
The Archaeological museum is closed on Fridays and on other days it is open from 10:00 am to 5:00pm. The entrance fee is Rs.2 per head for elders and children above 15 years of age.
The museum is opposite to the bus station. If you are coming from Vijayawada or Guntur, You will get a main road when you entered into amaravathi. There turn to your left hand side go straight you will see the museum opposite to bus station.