Dolls For Days: Shankar International Dolls Museum in Delhi
K. Shankar Pillai was a famous political cartoonist who lived from 31st July 1902 to 26th December 1989. Most people even call him the father of political cartooning in the subcontinent. He also started Shakar's Weekly in 1948 to share his art with the public. However, it was forced to close during the Emergency of state that was issued nationwide on the 25th of June 1975. He then switched to bringing laughter to children. In 1976, he was awarded the second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan. Today his legacy lives on through the Children's Book Trust that he founded in 1957 and also for the Shankar's International Dolls Museum (1965).
The idea for collecting dolls was sparked off when Shankar was gifted a doll by a Hungarian diplomat. Eventually, when the museum was first opened they had a collection of 500. Today there are more than 6500 different dolls from over 85 different countries.
The dolls come in various shapes and sizes and are from different walks of life, cultures, and occupations. There are some that are dressed in their national attire while others are dressed according to their occupation. In the Indian section, there are dolls representing the various cultures from all across the subcontinent. A few of the dolls are in mid-action, like dancing or playing or even just participating in a march. They even have a doll of Buddha, who is meditating.
They also have a workshop in the museum where professionals make highly accurate dolls that are often sold to collectors or added to the in-house collection for display. The workshop also works as a servicing centre that restores old valuable dolls, if the need arises.
Most of us were fascinated by dolls as children and some of us still carry that fascination. Whether you're interested in dolls, or still in love with them or just wish to show the kids something that is both amazing and educational then this museum is definitely the place you need to go.
Address: Nehru House 4, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, N.Delhi
Entry: Rs.15 for Adults, Rs.5 for Children
Timings: 10 am – 5 pm (Closed on Mondays and National Holidays)
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