Nehru Children’s Museum, Kolkata – A child’s Paradise

 

Toy cars

Last weekend I went to Nehru Children’s Museum, Kolkata after almost 2 decades. Earlier my grandfather used to take us there as kids when I and my sister came to Kolkata on vacations from our small town home. It was on our bucket list. This time it was my 2.5 yr old son’s first trip to the doll museum. The place has not changed a lot, but in general sense requires better upkeep and funding. For those who don’t know, the museum is run by a Kolkata based NGO, National Cultural Mission, since 1972 and not by any government agency. They also undertake welfare activities for the needy section of the community.


The museum is a five storied building on JL Nehru Road, at prime location close to Rabindra Sadan Metro Station. Out of the five, three floors house the museum and other two floors are reserved for vocational training imparted to children on fields like painting, dancing, etc. These workshops are run by eminent personalities in their fields and are popular among the parents of school going children. Other notable sites within walking distance of the museum are Birla Planetarium, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Nandan and Academy of Fine Arts.

The place is a dream land for a kid because it is stuffed with dolls and toys of all kind. Left wing galleries and the landings on all three floors are lined with showcases filled with these. There are dolls from various states of India as well as various countries. There are toys and models from various countries and also belonging to various periods of time. Some are acquired and some are donated. Each one has a tag describing its source. These exhibits gives the child a glimpse of the world as well as how things were in good old times.

Dolls from states of India
 
Ganesha Gallery

Right wing galleries on second and third floor houses even better exhibits. Second flood displays the story of Mahabharata and third floor displays the story of Ramayana through miniature but detailed models depicting various scenes from the epics in sequence. The catchy lighting and 3D effect of the figures make them attractive for children. While younger ones ask their parents to describe the scenes, older ones can read the depiction written above each model in 3 languages. It is a great place to start learning our mythology. The miniature models get embedded in the mind, as it happened to me! Later when they learn more about these epics, they can relate to the models.

          
I remember, earlier there used to be another wing with various working models of structures and vehicles. My faint memory recollects a model of the Garden Reach lock-gate complete with a vessel moving in and the road opening up to make way. There was also a model of local EMU train running on tracks. There used to be coin operated rides of a moving locomotive engine, now seen in the Play Zones of various malls. All those models have been now discontinued now maybe due to lack of maintenance.
Mahabharata Miniature Model
 
 
Ramayana Miniature Model
One mini gallery has been introduced showcasing over 300 idols of Lord Ganesh in various sizes, popularized among kids by the films My Friend Ganesha.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current rates of tickets are INR 10 for children up to 16 yrs and INR 20 for anyone above 16 yrs. The museum is open on 5 days a week, between 11 am and 7 pm on Wednesday through Friday and between 10 am and 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
      
In my opinion it is a great place to let your kid spend a good 1-2 hrs to widen their knowledge and curiosity. The place will leave deep etched memories with your kid for all good reasons.
 

 

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