To the outsiders who have not explored Delhi enough, it seems like the city is bound to only its great food, heritage attractions, and modern rushing life. But little do they know it has museums like Shankar's International Dolls Museum on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg which has been there since the time of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. From being a political cartoonist to a collector of dolls, K. Shankar Pillai is the name behind this museum which has over 6000 dolls that have been collected from around 85 countries. Popularly known as the father of political cartooning in India, Shankar in the first place started the Children's Book Trust, which was a great step towards the field of children’s literature in India back in 1957. It was when the cartoonist was gifted a doll by a Hungarian diplomat that the thought of collecting dolls from all the places he has visited came to his mind. There onwards Shankar began his journey to different countries and collected around 500 dolls and paintings by children and started holding exhibitions. It was in one of the exhibitions in Delhi, that he conveyed his concern about the dolls that he exhibits getting damaged while travelling to the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi. To which the latter gave the idea of giving a permanent home to the dolls in the Children’s Book Trust.
In 1965, a small part of the Children’s Book Trust, 5184.5 sq. feet to be precise, was moulded into Shankar’s International Dolls Museum. The exhibition stands divided into two portions where dolls from the Middle East, Asian countries, India and Africa are displayed on one side and that from European countries like USA, New Zealand, Australia and USA on the other. Apart from the dolls that are put on the show, the museum has 150 types of Indian dolls that represent the different aspects of culture, art forms, and heritage of the country. Moreover, these dolls are exchanged with the ones that are gifted to the museum and are also put on sale for museums and collectors across the globe.
Major Highlights of the Museum
- The museum has around 6000 dolls now as compared to 1000 when it started.
- There are 150 types of Indian costume dolls that are created by the artisans in the museum’s own workshop.
10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Closed on Monday
For Adults: 17 INR
For Children: 6 INR
Nehru House 4, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Delhi 110002
How to Reach
Travellers have to deboard at ITO metro station which comes under the violet line of Delhi Metro. Shankar’s International Dolls Museum is 2m away from the metro station.