Don’t we all remember the time we got our first doll and the manner in which it affected our life? We used to play with them for hours but even those hours seemed very less. Creating a world around them and then making them act in our little plays was the most fascinating thing about our childhood. Don’t we all wish sometimes to return to that time and relive those tea parties and weddings of our closest companions? To forget the virtual games of today and let our creative mind be the creator of great scripts with lead roles of our puppets and dolls. They were not just our playtime friends but the creator of our imagination, happiness quotient, and creativity. Their company was all we needed to spend our entire day cheerfully.
I recollect my first doll set was of a boy and girl which my dad had gifted me on my birthday, I was so excited that I had overlooked the rest of the presents and it was my favorite toy set for years. I used to get hold of it as soon as I came back from school and then played with them until my mom used to chasten me to open my books and study. Damn, simply thinking about it brings back so many good memories. My heart yearns to be that innocent and compassionate child again and play with my miniatures. Doesn’t yours?
What if we are able to get hold of a spot that will revive our cherished memories and rekindle our bond with our favorite dolls. Getting excited? Don’t worry, let your B.P. be high for some time as I am going to reveal you a place where we can rebound with our childhood buddies and cherish those memories, but this time it’s going to get even better because here we won’t just play but learn also, our friends from the past will make us aware with various stories of mythology, notable personalities, warriors, fairytale, cultures, and much more through the interesting stories weaved around them. And the magical place we are talking about here is the International Doll Museum in Chandigarh.
The International Doll Museum was constructed in the year 1985 by the administration and it showcases around 250 dolls and puppets from all around the globe. The museum is one of the best dolls museums in India that is packed with beautifully dressed dolls offering a feast for the eyes. The dolls are adorned in the museum with their origin and history. It is a cherished harbor of innocence and wisdom, for kids and all doll lovers. The dolls are not merely decorated in the museum but they will also increase your knowledge regarding various Indian and International cultures, make you nostalgic by displaying your childhood fairytales and tell the stories of some exceptional personalities. So let's know the inside and out of this wondrous haven of wholesome entertainment.
International Dolls Museum is located at a distance of 2 km from Chandigarh Bus Station at Bal Bhavan in Sector 23 of Chandigarh. It has only one entrance gate. The entry fee is nil for children and senior citizens and a minimal amount of Rs. 10 for adults, plus you have to pay an additional fee of Rs. 5 for the camera. The museum is open for visiting hours from 10 AM to 5 PM every day except Sundays and National holidays. The museum is located in a quaint corner so it can be hard to locate it, but the entrance gate is easy to find if you have a specific location and help of locals. The entire tour takes around 45 minutes to finish.
2. STRUCTURE OF THE MUSEUM
Since the entry fee is minimal, the International doll museum is maintained within a small budget. The building is not too fancy but it is well maintained. The museum is admirable, large, very clean, and well lit. It is situated in a lovely location having heaps of greenery around, yet the place is hidden and quite unexplored because of its small structure. Guides are likewise accessible to lead tourists on the visit, though it isn't greatly required.
3. INSIDE THE MUSEUM
The museum is a small treasure house of dolls from different parts of India and from around the world organized together along with informative write-ups. Mere watching the dressed-up figures could've been boring, so the museum has done great work to showcase the history, folklore, fairy tales, childhood stories, and biographies through these dolls. Watching these dolls is not only a treat for the eyes but also gaining knowledge and reliving those childhood memories.
Principally listed as the Children centric museum, many adults also visit it to enjoy the artistic feel and to see those dolls dying to tell a story, which once filled their childhood with delight. The museum is a happy spot for the children and an enriching experience for the adults. Some major attractions you will find inside the museum are-
The museum reflects India’s varied culture as the Indian dolls are dressed up in state-specific traditional attire and accessories that showcase the culture and lifestyle of the region. The dolls represent the tribes and cultures of various states of India that can be easily recognized from the write-ups supplementing them. The write-ups are very informative and proffer a brief overview of the history and culture of that state about the size, dialect, area, and capital of that state. The Indian dolls segment is a rich experience to know about the fusion of cultures found in India. Indian dolls segment also contains a specific section devoted to ‘Dances of India’ where these miniatures give us a chance to swing with them through various cultural dance forms of India.
The museum has got an ‘International’ in its name for a guaranteed reason. The international doll segment is full of dolls covering the variant art of more than 25 countries like Germany, Denmark, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Thailand, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, USA, etc. The museum houses Russian Nesting Dolls, Matryoshka, Dutch dolls with wooden shoes, and dolls from other countries donning the national dress of the country they belong to. Accompanying write-ups are also placed about the land of origin and the costume details to enrich the experience of visitors. The museum offers a great way to get briefed with the traditions of various countries through these adoring miniatures
The museum has a dedicated segment named 'Brides of India’ that houses many bridal dolls adorned with jewelry representing each part of India. The bridal culture of each state of India can be easily seen through these beautifully dolled up mini brides.
This segment will take us to the nostalgic path of our childhood full of fairy tales and stories. Here you will see these dolls showcasing scenes from legendary fairytales like Snow White and seven dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, and his wonderful lamp, Cinderella, Alibaba, and forty thieves, etc. Even if you don't know the story, you can follow the writeups to understand it.
The Brave and Spiritual History of India Segment
This segment is expressly dedicated to some renowned personalities who played a significant part in Indian history. Here you can see the dolls depicting the life of Valiant Rani Laxmi Bai, Sivaji Jijabai, etc. You will also see some major life stories of religious personalities such as Sachha Sauda of Shri Guru Nanak Dev, Dham Ke Rakshak of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur, the whole life of the Compassionate Buddha, etc. The segment also includes dolls depicting Baal Krishna, Ramayan, and Jesus Christ to renew our faith in the religions.
The museum also contains some visual delights for a memorable experience. The museum has a big model of a German railway station in the middle of the exhibition hall, a big aquarium, an amusement park for children, an open-air theatre too to relax and watch performances if any in open daylight and a play area suitable for a nice picnic. And if you visit on a rainy day you can see peacocks too. The management also sells miniature paintings to take away the rich experience home.
4. NEARBY EXPERIENCES
Other attractions that can be found within 0.5 km of the museum are Children Traffic Park, Child Art gallery, Arya Samaj Mandir, Sanatan Dharm Mandir, Bamboo Valley, Shri Mahabir Muni Temple and so forth.
Visitors can also shop in nearby spots, for example, Sector 17, Phulkari, Bittu Bangles, Shastri Market, and numerous others.
Many fantastic eateries and inns are promptly accessible near the museum to enhance the experience of visitors so they are left with no regrets or mishaps and take away all the fulfilling experience with them.
Why burn through your valuable time visiting this spot?
International doll museum is obviously a full dose of fun with a great taste of knowledge for children but it will also press-gang the adults to fall for the majesty of these tiny miniatures and their stories. It's not only a heartfelt experience but an emotional trip down to re-live all those childhood stories and fairytales that empowered us to distinguish between good and evil, honesty and greed, and many such lessons. The tiny puppets seem to hold us in one spot and tell their stories. Their perfectly carved faces make us go back to the days when our childhood heart knew no guile or treachery, just the innocence, and honesty as those dolls depict. Don’t go there to find logic with your grown-up mind, take the child inside who sees no faults, just the lesson and experience, the dolls will offer.
Improvements that can Elevate the experience
The place is not very well-known so the administration can work towards the up-gradation of amenities and expanding visitors' base. The staff should be trained to deal with the visitors in a much pleasant way, and the upkeep of dolls should be a daily routine by cleaning dust on items and monitoring dolls' attires for any change or wash. The enhanced compilation of puppets, improved maintenance, and marketing of the place can bring in more visitors, and they will not even hesitate to pay a little more if the experience is worth it. Few improvement efforts from the administration’s side can make this place a major tourist attraction in Chandigarh with an enormous visitor base of both children and adults.
Final Words on International Doll Museum
So the overall experience of visiting this place is very enriching, insightful & relaxing, and if you are visiting Chandigarh and want to go down the memory lane of your innocent childhood days then you should absolutely put the International Doll Museum in your bucket list. Whether you go with family, friends, or solo, the place won’t disappoint you in bringing back your childhood days in a mere 45 minutes tour.
Happy Touring!!! :)
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