For girls, dolls are more than just toys. Dolls are like their best friends with whom they can share anything and everything. May be this is the biggest reason behind the success of this impressive doll museum.

Location: 4, Nehru House, Bahadur Shah Zafar Road
Entry Timings: 10:00 am to 06:00 pm
Closed on Mondays
Nearest Metro Station: Chawri Bazar Metro Station on Yellow Line
Nearest Bus Stand: Lala R.C. Aggarwal Chowk Bus Stand

The Shankar’s International Dolls Museum is the biggest doll museum in India and is among the biggest doll museums all over the world. It is a well renowned doll museum with a huge variety of dolls from different nations.

How did the idea of a doll museum came up?

A political cartoonist, K. Shankar Pillai is the one who got the idea of setting up a doll museum. This happened when he received a doll from a Hungarian diplomat. Shakar was so impressed with the doll that he started visiting a lot of other nations in order to collect dolls. When he had collected around 500 dolls, he organised an exhibition in Delhi and many doll lovers visited the doll exhibition. Among the visitors were the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi. It was seen that carrying the dolls from one place to another caused damage to the dolls. When the issue was put forward to the prime minister, Indira Gandhi came up with the idea of opening a permanent dolls museum.

When was Shankar’s International Dolls Museum established?

The Shankar’s International Dolls Museum was established in 1965 with the collaboration of K. Shankar and Indira Gandhi and inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr. S Radhakrishnan on November 30, 1965. Shakar had opened a Children’s Book Trust on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in 1957 to support children’s literature in India. Some space of the Children’s Book Trust building was left for the doll museum itself.

What kind of collections are present in the museum?

When the museum was set up, there were only 1000 dolls, but now it has been established well and has around 6500 dolls in its exhibition from all over the world. From these 6500 dolls, India contributes around 500 dolls that are adorned with different attires that are visible all over the country. A lot of dance forms are also displayed with the help of dolls in the museum. Many famous and eminent personalities have contributed to the collection of the dolls like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, the queen of Thailand, Madame Tito etc.
The collection has been divided in two sections – one of which consists of dolls from Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand etc and the other section houses dolls from Asian countries, the Middle East, Africa and India. There is also a workshop where dolls are created and these dolls are either sold to collectors or other museums all over the world or exchanged for dolls or other gifts.

Why should you visit Shankar’s International Dolls Museum?

As the museum houses a large number of dolls, it is a perfect place for small kids to visit. Also if you are not a kid, you are going to love the place because of so many interesting dolls. It is made sure that the dolls are taken good care of and in case there is any restoration required, there is also a doll clinic.

Prizes and awards won by the museum

The Shankar’s International Dolls Museum won the first prize at the Dolls Biennale named Golden Peacock Feather. It was held in Cracow, Poland in the year 1980.
Shankar has also been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan by the government of India in 1976.

Visit the Shankar’s International Dolls Museum if you have small kids, especially girls. Even if you don’t have kids, we are sure that everyone loved dolls during their childhood days and that’s enough to give this museum a visit.

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