New Delhi, the capital city of India, is a peculiar city with some even more peculiar and unusual spots to explore. One such place is the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets. Yes, you read that right. A full museum is dedicated to chronicling the history of toilets in the world, from 2500 BCE till date, along with a rare compilation of facts, pictures and objects. In May 2014, the museum was even ranked third weirdest museum on a list of the world's ten weirdest museums by the Time Magazine. Today, the city's weirdest museum also helps researchers, policymakers and sanitation experts learn about the raw materials and technologies used in the past. Further, it helps realize how the past can help resolve the current problems faced in the sanitation sector.
Social reformer and founder of the Sulabh Sanitation Movement, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, after visiting the Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in London felt the need to have a similar museum in India but focusing on toilets. He did extensive research on the subject, sent letters to more than 100 embassies and high commissions of different countries in New Delhi, seeking information and pictures on the subject. To his request, more than 60 embassies responded with affirmative responses and provided important information, including toilet designs used in various countries.
While inception, the museum's brainchild Pathak also ensured that the toilet museum does not become a serious place. For the same reason, the museum is full of several funny and light anecdotes. Visitors laugh throughout the tour and enjoy learning about the diverse history of toilets in the world.
The museum is divided into three parts: ancient, medieval and modern - depicting the evolution of humble lavatory over the centuries. The ancient section reveals the sanitation arrangements at ancient civilizations such as the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan. These sites showed remnants of wells, bathing tanks, overground and underground drains, toilets and soak-pits.
During the medieval period, kings lived in big forts and palaces, guarded by a huge army. The museum also showcases which type of toilets were used at that time. Some of the toilets displayed are from the Amber Fort of Jaipur, Akbar’s Fort in Fatehpur-Sikri (Agra), Gingee Fort (Tamil Nadu) and Golconda Fort (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh). Visiting the museum is like visiting history and understanding how people and kings lived in earlier times.
The modern section includes various toilet-related cartoons along with jokes, products from several sanitary ware companies, and also public toilets from different countries. Besides this, you will also find some very unique toilets here, which have become the centre of attention amongst visitors. One of them is the bookcase toilet, which is disguised as a bookcase but is a toilet. Another one is the throne toilet, which the royalty used in historic times. All these toilets are striking pieces at the museum, which must not be missed.
The museum is open seven days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm. On Sundays and national holidays, timings are from 10 am to 5 pm. Entry and parking facilities are free for all visitors. The one of its kind museum in the world, or you may call it the weirdest museum as well, is a place you must visit to understand how toilet history has developed in the world. It's a fun and quirky place, which can be thoroughly enjoyed over funny one-liners and jokes.
So, plan a trip to New Delhi to explore the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets for an interesting, surprising and one of the weirdest excursions to the city's museum of toilets.
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