Shankar’s International Dolls Museum

International Dolls Museum in Delhi

International Dolls Museum in Delhi Image Source

Visiting Detail

  • Location: ITO, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Nehru House, New Delhi – 110002
  • Timings: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
  • Closed: Monday
  • Entry Fee: Rs. 30 (Adult) | Rs. 15 (per child)
  • Best time to visit: all 12 months
  • Is Photography allowed: No


Shankar’s International Dolls Museum in Delhi has a huge collection of dolls (International and Indian) which was established by an Indian political cartoonist Keshav Shankar Pillai. Shankar is known as the father of political cartooning. The museum is located at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. The building of the museum has a separate entrance, a zigzag staircase which ends into a big hall. The Dolls museum has an area of 5,184.5 square feet.

It is one of the most famous and renowned museums in Delhi. The museum can be categorised into 2 parts. One part has the dolls collected from Europe countries like USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand etc. The other part has the dolls collected from some countries of Asia, Africa, Middle East and India. One of the main features of the International Dolls Museum is that it has around 150 types of Indian costume dolls.


K. Shankar Pillai (full name: Keshav Shankar Pillai) who was an Indian political cartoonist established a book “Children’s Book Trust” in 1957 in India. Later a Hungarian official gave him a gift of doll. This doll gift suggested him to collect dolls from different countries during his visit. 

Shankar organised many exhibitions for the poor children. He had organized one event in Delhi which was attended by the prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was so impressed by his idea that she set up International museum of Dolls on 30th November 1965.

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The main collection of the museum are the gifts received from Jawaharlal Nehru and other prime ministers of India including many embassies. Queen Frederika of Greece, Madame Tito, the Queen of Thailand, the wives of Mexico and Indonesia’s Presidents, the sister of Shah of Iran and many other visiting dignitaries representing their nations have gifted the dolls which are available in the museum. 

When the dolls museum was first inaugurated by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the former President of India, there were only 500 dolls in the museum. It raised to 5000 dolls between 1965 and in 1987 in the museum.

Shankar Pillai has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan award (second highest civilian award) by Indian Government in 1976 for his remarkable contribution.

Currently, there are 6,500 exhibits from 85 countries in the museum.