On the banks of River Musi is State Central Library, a majestic building that houses more than 5,00,000 books and magazines along with palm-leaf manuscripts that’ll leave you in awe. One of the oldest libraries in Hyderabad, the State Central Library is one of the top ten biggest libraries in India. Think of rasping stairways, creaking doors, and dust settling on books. It was built in 1891 by the Nizam’s chief engineer, and is a living testament to the magnificent academic history of Hyderabad.
When you enter the library’s courtyard, you will be welcomed by sprawling lawns spotting readers scattered under the trees—reading. The staircase that ushers you into the library might remind you of the bespoke Harvard University library’s staircase. Step in and lose yourself in a world of rich literature. Declared as the State Central library in 1955, our grandparents and parents may recall it by its former name—the Asafia State Library named after the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
As you explore the library with bated breath, you'll find the ceiling-high shelves storing an exhaustive collection of books on science, technology, medicine, fiction, non-fiction, legal, history, world politics, etc. Some of the manuscripts date back to the 5th century. While you’re there, we recommend you take the staircase to the first floor which leads you to their newspaper inventory which has papers from the 1940s too. Further, 72,247-square-yard-building has two reading areas with people from myriad ages reading their hearts out. What we also loved is their vast collection of regional literature that’s not limited to Telugu and Urdu you'll find literature in French, Italian, Portuguese, Bengali, Tamil, and translations too. While readers can discover plenty of rare finds, research scholars can thrive in the amount of material that’s stored here.