India’s Sulabh International Museum of Toilets Traces Lavatory History

in India

Museums typically pay tribute to the best parts of our history, like the majestic carved Chinese warriors of the Terracotta Army Museum or the proud Maori traditions celebrated at many New Zealand institutions.

But you won't find any such reverence at the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi. You'll find the museum inside Sulabh International, a social organization which works to improve human rights, sanitation, waste management, and other social and environmental concerns through education. Perhaps unsurprisingly the museum is the only one of its kind in the world. This Indian landmark traces the evolution of the lavatory, from humble chamber pots to more high-tech loos. Looking at some of the most primitive designs from ancient Egypt, Babylonia, and Greece is enough to make you very grateful that you live in modern times, with modern conveniences! On the other hand, the throne made to look like a bookshelf would be a welcome addition in any bathroom. The attention to detail is impressive, and perhaps a little bit disturbing. Museum curator Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak searched the world over to learn of the minutest changes in toilet design around the globe throughout history. Apparently the museum was designed as a vehicle for social change to improve sanitation conditions, but I think most visitors will enjoy it as a bit of an oddity. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is open from Mondays to Sundays from 10 am until 5 pm.

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