First opened to the public in 1891, this library now has a wide collection of 21,000 manuscripts and 250,000 printed books in various languages.
What started out as a private collection of 1400 manuscripts and rare books in the mid-18th century is now an incredible library with 21,000 manuscripts and 250,000 printed books in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, English, Turkish and many other languages. This repository was started by Khuda Bakhsh, a government officer who inherited the manuscripts from his father, the library was first opened to the public in 1891. The librarys eclectic collection includes the Tarikh-e-Khandan-e-Timuriyah, a lavishly illustrated text about the history of Taimur and his descendants (of which the only extant copy is with the library); a copy of Lord Byron’s Ode to Napoleon in which two additional stanzas have been added in what is considered to be Byron’s own handwriting; a sword of Nadir Shah; and a miniature copy of the Quran that is 2.5 mm wide. As a Manuscript Conservation Centre, the library has taken preventive care of 8,468 manuscripts and undertaken curative conservation treatment of 247 manuscripts. Many of the manuscripts have been digitized and are available online. One of the largest repositories of rare and unique manuscripts, the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library draws researchers from all over the world. The list of august visitors of the library includes at least six viceroys, Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore and four Presidents of India, including APJ Abdul Kalam.