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Shankar's International Dolls Museum, Delhi Tourist Attraction
Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi Entry Fee
  • 30 per person for Adults
  • 13 per person for Children

Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi Phone
011 2331 6970

Quick Facts about Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi
Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi Timings
Day Timing
Monday Closed / Holiday
Tuesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wedesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Links: | Map

Rating: | 4 stars, of total 41 reviews

Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi Address: 4, Nehru House, Bahadur Shah Zafar Road, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Balmiki Basti, Vikram Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi, 110002, India

Among all the museums in New Delhi, the Dolls Museum is most loved by children. Officially known as Shankar's International Dolls Museum, this attraction is the largest doll museum in the entire country. The collection inside is not only of dolls from within India but also several other countries, lending it the international character that it is famous for.

The museum occupies a single floor in the Children’s Book Trust Building near Ram Charan Agrawal Marg. It has two equal sections, and each half has a vast collection of dolls from selected regions of the world. With numerous styles and over 6,500 exhibits, Shankar's International Dolls Museum sure deserves a few hours of joyous exploration.

Dolls Museum Timings and Entry Fee

Shankar's International Dolls Museum is open on all days of the week, except Mondays. You can visit earliest at 10 AM and stay max until 6 PM. However, note that the ticket counter will close at 5:30 in the evening. The museum is also closed on all the three national holidays (26th January – Republic Day, 15th August – Independence Day and 2nd October – Gandhi Jayanti) and certain festivals and public holidays.

The tickets are very nominally priced at INR 30 for adults and INR 13 for children. However, if children arrive in groups larger than 20, they can avail of a concessional rate of INR 3 per child.

Image Gallery of Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi

History Behind the Dolls Museum

There is a long story behind the establishment of Shankar's International Dolls Museum. The museum is named after its creator, (late) Keshav Shankar Pillai, who was also a famous political cartoonist. He would collect costume dolls on every overseas trip he made.

Since he was part of the entourage of journalists which always travelled with the then Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, his foreign trips were quite frequent. This allowed him to collect a large number of dolls. Eventually, he had managed to collect about 500 odd dolls.

Soon, K. Shankar Pillai decided to showcase his collection of dolls at a number of places throughout the country. The exhibitions were mostly of children’s paintings, where his dolls were an accompaniment. Unfortunately, the constant packing and unpacking routine was beginning to wear out and damage the delicate dolls.

One day, when he happened to attend an exhibition in the capital, he told Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru about his dilemma who was at the venue with his daughter, Indira Gandhi. Indira spontaneously suggested that a permanent museum be built for the dolls.

As a result, a section of the Children’s Book Trust was reserved for the dolls museum. Shankar's International Dolls Museum was ready by 30th November 1965.

Architecture of the Dolls Museum

Shankar's International Dolls Museum occupies a section on one of the floors of the Nehru House. The building houses the Children’s Book Trust which is a publishing house for books for children and young adults. This trust was set up by Keshav Shankar Pillai himself in 1957.

The dolls museum is 5,184.5 square feet in area, and has its own entrance. The way to the lobby of the museum on the first floor is through a winding staircase, exclusive to the museum. (The Children’s Book Trust has a separate entrance.)

The museum is divided into two equal sections, each dedicated to dolls from certain regions of the world. All the exhibits are kept behind glass cases, numbering up to 160. These wall mounted glass cases are 1,000 feet long.

One of these sections displays dolls from mainland Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The other section has exhibits from India, the Middle East, Africa and other Asian countries.

Adjacent to this museum is also the Dolls Workshop where traditional Indian costume dolls are handcrafted. Such dolls exceed 150 in their count.

Interesting Facts About the Dolls Museum

Dolls are interesting little creations in themselves. At Delhi’s Dolls Museum, it is not just the dolls but also the museum which has interesting stories behind it. Read on to discover some of those:

1. The dolls in traditional Indian costumes which are made at the Dolls Workshop attached to Shankar's International Dolls Museum are given in exchange for other dolls or gifts from other countries. They are also sold to collectors and other doll museums in India as well as foreign countries.

2. Every Indian costume doll made at the Dolls Workshop undergoes careful research to bring out the physical features, clothing and jewellery of each of the characters. Also, each piece is handcrafted.

3. In the year 1980, when the Dolls Biennale was held in Cracow, Poland, these Indian costume dolls were awarded the Golden Peacock Feather, which was the first prize at the international contest.

4. Sometime in the early 1950’s, Keshav Shankar Pillai organized the Shankar’s International Children’s Competition. One of the prizes at this contest was supposed to be doll which he had received from Hungary’s Ambassador to India.

As fate would have it, K. Shankar Pillai was so enraptured by that doll that he decided against giving it away as a prize. He asked for the permission of the Hungarian Ambassador and ultimately kept the doll with himself. This also led him to collect costume dolls during all of his foreign trips. The present collection of costume dolls at the museum still has plenty of his early collections.

5. Shankar's International Dolls Museum was inaugurated by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the then President of India. It was also he who named the building ‘Nehru House’ after the late former Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

6. The museum had only about a thousand dolls when it was inaugurated in 1965. In the next 20 year or so, five thousand new dolls were added to this collection.

7. Most of the dolls that one can see at the museum were received as gifts.

8. The 6,500 dolls at the museum belong to about eighty five countries.

9. This Dolls Museum has seen some illustrious and high profile visitors over the years. Some of those dignitaries include the former Secretary General of United Nations (U. Thant) and his wife, Madame Tito of Yugoslavia, the wife of the President of Mexico, the Queen of Greece (Frederica), the Queen of Thailand, the sister of the Shah of Iran, the First Lady of Indonesia, and the wives of the Prime Ministers of Poland and South Korea, respectively, apart from cultural delegations from several nations.

Places to Visit Near the Dolls Museum

Shankar's International Dolls Museum typically takes at least an hour to marvel at most of the dolls in traditional attire from an array of diverse nations. You might be able to spend almost half a day. Nevertheless, if you finish early, you can visit a lot of lovely places in the capital city of India:

1. Feroz Shah Kotla: Open on all days from 8:30 AM to 7 PM, Feroz Shah Kotla is the former centre of Ferozabad which was built by Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Many claim that this fortress is haunted, and some have heard the screams of djinns, the shrieks of possessed women and many others even report to have felt a slap across their face. The ruins of the Kotla are best explored in the daylight, especially if you wish to enjoy the view of the green ground and the moat.

2. Arun Jaitley Stadium: This is the second oldest cricket stadium in the country after Kolkata’s Eden Garden. Easily accessible through the Delhi Gate Metro Station on the Blue Line (only 300 metres away), this stadium hosts a lot of international matches and also the IPL (Indian Premier League) series. Generally, winters are better than summers here if you wish to escape the scorching Delhi heat.

3. Gandhi Memorial Museum: Also known as the National Gandhi Museum, the place displays the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Our Nation. Open on all days except Mondays from 9:30 AM to 5:30 AM, there is no charge to enter this museum. Other than browsing through personal belongings of the freedom fighter and watching documentaries on Gandhiji, one can explore the library and the souvenir shop in the premises.

4. Supreme Court Museum: Open every day but Monday from 10 AM to 5 PM, this museum showcases the judicial system of India. Located inside the Supreme Court, the highest court of law in the country, the museum helps visitors understand the history of judiciary proceedings in our nation. It is easy to understand different facets through models, photos and quotations. There is also a documentary movie and a light and sound show organized here.

5. Agrasen ki Baoli: This is an ancient step well measuring 60 metres in length. This baoli (step well) is open from 9 AM to 5:30 AM on all days, and the 10th century traditional architecture makes the backdrop really amazing for photoshoots. Initially built by Maharaja Agrasen, the monument is protected by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). The alcoves and the multiple levels of the step well take at least an hour to explore and enjoy.

6. National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum: Also known as the National Crafts Museum, this place is run by the Ministry of Textiles. This crafts museum is open on all days except Mondays, from 10 AM to 5 PM. The area is built to appear like a little village, and it exhibits textiles, tools and folk art. There is also a café in the premises, in case you wish to stay for longer and need to grab a bite.

7. The National Science Centre: Since 1992, this Science museum has been making the subject interesting and entertaining for everyone, especially school students. The place is open on all days from 9:30 AM to 6 PM, and the exhibits require that you visit early so you can spend the entire day exploring all the experiments and installations. There are various sections inside, such as Physics, Biology, Ancient India and the Dinosaur Museum.

8. The National Gallery of Modern Art: Maintained by the Ministry of Culture, this elite art gallery can be visited from 11 AM to 6:30 PM on all days except Mondays. Entry is free if you are under 18, and adults pay a modest fee of INR 20. You can take a free guided tour through the galleries, which is run every afternoon and evening. There are thousands of paintings, apart from sculptures which form the permanent and temporary exhibitions.

How to Reach the Dolls Museum

Shankar's International Dolls Museum is located on 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg inside the Children’s Book Trust in Nehru House. One can reach the museum through various modes of transport and from various points in the city:

Via Metro: Delhi’s Metro is quite extensive. And its superb connectivity means that you can reach the Dolls Museum without having to take any other mode of transport. If you only wish to take the Metro, you might have to switch between different lines, but the convenience cannot be underestimated. ITO Metro Station is right next door on the Violet Line, whereas Pragati Maidan Metro Station is the nearest on the Blue Line at 750 metres.

City Buses: If you fancy taking the bus, you will be happy to note that the nearest bus stop to this museum is the ITO bus stop, just a few metres away.

Arriving from the Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport is about 35 to 50 minutes from Shankar's International Dolls Museum. The distance will be 17 km if you take Sardar Patel Marg, another 500 metres from Rao Tularam Marg and almost 25 km through National Highway 44 (NH 44).

You can get to the Dolls Museum from the airport exclusively via Metro. From the I.G.I. Airport station, take the Orange Line to New Delhi Metro station. Then change over to the Yellow Line to Central Secretariat. Finally, switch to the Violet Line to ITO station. The museum is only a couple of minutes’ walk from there.

You can also book a private cab from top car rental companies in Delhi, and explore all the famous attractions of Delhi in that cab during your stay in Delhi.

Delhi Tourism, a division of Holidays DNA has designed various Delhi Tour packages where you can explore Delhi in an organized and relaxed manner. You are sure to have a great time visiting the city in the comfort of a private cab, that too at affordable prices. Please fill the Contact Us form for more details.

Location Map for Shankar's International Dolls Museum Delhi

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