Lying amongst a foliage of leaves, an abandoned building lies in the heart of Hyderabad. The only signs that it was once a significant building are the blue-green columns and a rusted cannon that stand out to the passerby. Quite reminiscent of a ‘bhoot’ bungalow, the Royal Mint of the Nizams, for many years, lay dilapidated. In 2022, as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, it was renovated and inaugurated as the Saifabad Mint Museum (Hyderabad Now, 2022). It now stands boldly, all cleaned up and the name board is starkly visible to everyone passing the building.   


The Royal Mint was first established in 1803 in the old city of Hyderabad in the Royal Palace at Sulatani Shahi. This Mint was manufacturing handmade coins. Later on, in 1893 the Royal Mint was again shifted to another building at Dar-us-Shafa. It was only in 1903, the then reigning Nizam, Mir Mahaboob Ali Khan, wished to implement the advanced technology of Britain that allowed the people of Britain to make mint coins through machines. For this reason, a machine was imported from Britain and was placed in the new Mint Compound which is located in present-day Saifabad. The Royal Mint of Hyderabad was the first mint in India to have produced machine-minted coins, and this holds significant importance. It not only produced coins but also had locker facilities for the public. It also printed judicial stamps, cheque forms, envelopes, etc for the Stamps Press. It is also the place where the first electricity in Hyderabad was produced (Dash, 2023). 

Located in the heart of Hyderabad, near the city’s iconic lake -the Hussain Sagar, the Royal Mint is spread over a total of three acres. With its narrow and long buildings, it is heavily inspired by European mints. Contributing to its industrial use, the building is designed to be efficient and functional. The walls are all made of brick and cement. The Royal Mint’s architecture tangibly connects Hyderabad’s royal past, even beyond its functional use. Its opulence illustrates the wealth and authority of the Nizams, and its advantageous location close to Hussain Sagar Lake heightens its appeal. The mint is a cultural landmark that provides a window into Hyderabad’s colourful past. 


The mining of coins was done until 1950 in the name of the last Nizam – Mir Osman Ali Khan. That is until India became a republic and the princely state of Hyderabad joined India. The Royal Mint then continued to be in use by manufacturing coins for the Indian government until the 1990s. This was done along with the other three minutes in Noida, Kolkata and Mumbai. Besides coins, the Royal Mint was also used for creating medals, souvenirs and other badges. In 1997, the mint shifted to its current location Cherlapall and the Mint compound at Saifabad has been closed ever since then. 

Since the mint is located on a frequently used road but not heavily trafficked, there was not much damage done to the structure. The major defects that could be seen were some artificial cracks, heavy leaf foliage covering the roofs and entrance to the building. The conversion of the building into a museum has given it a new life. 

Saifabad Mint Museum, Hyderabad-Sheet1
The Royal Mint in need of cleaning_restoration_©


The restoration of the mint was done with the collaboration of INTACH and IGMH. The Mint compound was cleaned and patched up where necessary. The restoration efforts were done while retaining most of the original fabric and removing layers that were added later. The restored building was initially only meant to be a temporary exhibit holding information about numismatics but it later became a permanent exhibit which is now open to all of the public. Currently, only 1/10th of the complex has been opened. IGMH is working further to open the entirety of the complex to the public. 

The asbestos sheets on the roof were broken up by polycarbonate sheets, which allowed diffused natural light to enter. Because the typology “manufactory” has roof monitor ventilation, the gallery area was naturally lit and ventilated. The asbestos sheets on the roof were broken up by polycarbonate sheets, which allowed diffused natural light to enter. The first thing to do when preparing the site was to clear the roof because dead leaves had accumulated over the years. Furthermore, since natural light activates the architecture immediately upon sight, it instantly bestows upon it an existential hope.  Two metal columns with a stone capital held up the porch roof. The capital columns had multiple coats of oil-based paint applied to them over many years. Sandblasting was used to remove the paint layers from the columns during restoration, exposing their bareness. Later, Matt-lacquer was used to finish the metal columns, preserving their original finish. After the paint was removed, there was a colour difference between the two stone capitals, which made it unclear whether or not to match the stone colour to create a unified frontage. An icon of development and advancement for not just Hyderabad as a city, but the entire country of India, the Royal Mint is a significant building that should be protected. 

Saifabad Mint Museum, Hyderabad-Sheet2
The Royal Mint converted to a museum_©Yunus Y. Lasania

References List:

Apparasu , S.R. (2021) ‘Hyderabad: Nizam’s mint to be converted into a museum  ’, Hindustan Times , 18 November. Available at: (Accessed: 31 May 2024).

Dash, J.P. (2023) NIZAM’S MINT TO A PEOPLE’S MUSEUM: A Pride of Deccan Heritage and Technology.

Etv Bharat (2022) ‘120-Year-Old Legacy On Display As Coin Museum Opens In Hyderabad’, 10 June. Available at:

Nanisetti , S. (2022) ‘Mint Museum shows evolution of Hyderabad currency’, The Hindu, 7 June.

TN City Desk (2022) ‘Hyderabad: Mint Museum inaguarated; coins legacy of 120 years on display ’, Hyderabad now , 8 June. Available at: (Accessed: 31 May 2024). 


A final-year architecture student, Harshita is a dreamer at heart. A travel aficionado and lover of stories, she believes that architecture is a tale that lies bare and unknowing to the world, waiting for its story to be told.