One more tourist attraction has been added to the cornucopia of Mysuru tourism as the museum dedicated to dolls has opened in the city of palaces. The launch coincides with World Tourism Day.
Established by Ramsons Kala Pratishtana (RKP), Kaladevi Doll Museum was inaugurated on Wednesday by Sri Vishwaprasanna Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt, Udupi, at Ramsons in front of Mysuru zoo. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on all days.
According to RKP, India boasts of a rich tradition of dolls right from the Indus Valley civilisation wherein excavations have unearthed numerous terracotta dolls and playthings. The tradition of doll display at private homes is widespread across India. These traditions perhaps have emanated from the availability of beautiful hand-crafted dolls in an array of materials available locally and the abundance of talent in producing these exquisite specimens.
In the Indo-Gangetic belt, especially eastern U.P., Bihar, and Bengal, dolls are worshipped during Krishna Janmashtami. Bala Leelas (exploits of the toddler) of Krishna are put on display and sweets made from milk and its byproducts are distributed to visitors, especially children.
It is during Sankranti that dolls are displayed as ‘Bommala Koluvu’ in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, while doll displays called ‘Gharonda’ are the mainstay during Deepavali in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The 10 days of Navaratri play host to the doll festivals ‘Bombe Habba’ of old-Mysore-region of Karnataka and ‘Golu’ of Tamil Nadu, a note from RKP said.
Many museums across India have small doll sections within them but exclusive museums dedicated to dolls are only five in the country. The cities of New Delhi (Shankar’s International Dolls Museum), Jaipur (Dolls Museum), Rajkot (Rotary International Dolls Museum), Chandigarh (International Doll Museum), and Dharamshala (Losel Doll Museum) boasts of a doll museum each and all of them are in the North-Western India. “Kaladevi Doll Museum will be the first one south of Vindhyas,” the release said.
The doll museum was slated for launch in 2020 marking 50th anniversary of the founding of ‘Handicrafts Sales Emporium’ in 1970 by D. Ram Singh but COVID-19 disturbed the plans.
To mark the silver jubilee of the emporium situated near Mysuru zoo in 1995, art foundation RKP was established to identify, promote and support traditional crafts of India. The art foundation has conducted many projects and programmes since the year of its inception. Among various projects of RKP are the annual doll exhibition ‘Bombe Mane’ which was first organised during 2005 Dasara. Documenting, analysing, researching and identifying long forgotten traditional board games of India is another ongoing project since the year 2000. The research culminated in the project ‘Kreedaa Kaushalya’ exhibition of traditional board games, it said.