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Dolls Museum

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International Dolls Museum in Delhi

The International Dolls Museum is a large collection of dolls in Delhi, India. It was set up by K. Shankar Pillai, a political cartoonist. Housed in the Children's Book Trust building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, accessed through a separate entrance, a winding staircase, leading up to a foyer. The museum has a floor area of 5,184.5 sq ft (481.66 m2) and occupies a portion of the first floor.

History of International Dolls Museum

International Dolls MuseumK. Shankar Pillai (1902–1989), noted cartoonist, set up Children's Book Trust, a pioneering work in the field of children’s literature in India, in 1957. Later, a gift of a doll from a Hungarian diplomat gave Shankar the idea of collecting dolls from countries he visited. He often held exhibitions for poor children, and at one exhibition in Delhi, among the hundreds of visitors were the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru accompanied by his daughter Indira Gandhi. Indira was inspired and together with Shankar set up an international museum for dolls, eventually materializing one November 30, in 1965.

The principal collection consists of gifts from Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and many subsequent Prime Ministers, including Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Also several embassies and diplomatic missions in Delhi gifted dolls to the museum. Visiting dignitaries like Madame Tito, Queen Frederika of Greece, the Queen of Thailand, the sister of Shah of Iran, the wives of Presidents of Mexico and Indonesia and many others gifted dolls representing their respective nations.

Dolls Museum is one the most renowned museums in New Delhi which has a huge collections of dolls from across the globe. The renowned political cartoonist, K. Shankar Pillai (1902–1989) founded this museum in 1965 with thousand dolls. The museum covers an area of 5,184.5 square feet (481.66 m2). The former President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan inaugurated the Dolls Museum and at the inauguration time the number of dolls was only 500. In between 1965 and in 1987, the number of dolls has risen to 5,000, a vast majority coming as gifts. Shankar Pillai was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award by Government of India in 1976.

Today the volume has increased to 6,500 exhibits from almost 85 countries, adding to its international character.

Architecture of Dolls Museum

International Dolls Museum1Inside, the Museum is divided into two equal halves. The two sections have over 160 glass cases, 1,000 ft long (300 m), mounted on the walls. One section has exhibits from Europe, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Common Wealth of Independent States and the other from Asian countries, the Middle East, Africa and India.

Location of International Dolls Museum

The museum is located in the Children's Book Trust building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi near Ram Charan Agrawal Chowk. It occupies a floor area of 5,184.5 square feet (481.66 m2) on the first floor. A separate entrance with a winding staircase leads up to a foyer.

Main Attractions of Dolls Museum

Doll Museum DelhiIn the pageant are characters from India’s unique classical dance, Kathakali, with its splendid costumes. Other dolls of special interest are Boys and Girls Festival dolls from Japan, replica Dolls of the Queen’s collection (UK), Maypole Dance from Hungary, Kabuki and Samurai dolls from japan, Flamenco dancers from Spain, Women’s Orchestra from Thailand, and Kandy Pehara from Sri Lanka.

There are also special displays besides a representative collection from the over 150 kinds of authentic Indian costume dolls made at the dolls workshop attached to the museum. Indian dolls made at the workshop are exchanged for gifts received from abroad as well as sold to collectors and museums in India and abroad. Each doll is handcrafted after meticulous research into the physical attributes, dress and jewellery of individual characters.

The museum started with a thousand dolls. Between 1965 and 1987 another 5,000 were added – a vast majority coming as gifts. Today the volume has increased to 6,500 exhibits from almost 85 countries, truly giving it an international character.

Timings and Fee:

Timings: Open from tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Monday.
Entry Fee: Adult: Rs.15/-, Child: Rs. 5/-


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