The museum is a repository of the artistic achievements of diverse European, Asian and Far Eastern countries of the world. The major portion of this collection was acquired by Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan popularly known as Salar Jung III. The zeal for acquiring art objects continued as a family tradition for three generations of SalarJungs. In 1914, Salar Jung III, after having relinquished the post of Prime Minister the Nizam of Hyderabad, devoted rest of his life to collecting art and literature. The precious and rare art objects collected by him for a period of over forty years are displayed in the museum..
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The four states that constitute South India are composed of distinctive geographic regions - narrow plains that fringe peninsular South India beside the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal with two mountain ranges running alongside and the rocky hardtop of the Deccan and fertile central plains.