Malliah Memorial Theatre Crafts Museum
The Srinivas Malliah Memorial Theatre Crafts Museum also known as the 'Theatre Crafts Museum' in short was established within the premises of her house during the 1950s by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who was the first freedom fighter and the reigning President of the World Crafts Council. In the 1980s, this museum was shifted to a permanent location and today, it proudly lies within a building situated on 5 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in New Delhi and is easily accessible by local transport. It was dedicated and named after a brave freedom fighter and a patron of rural crafts named Ullal Srinivas Mallya who was also known by the name of 'Malliah' in North India.
In 1959, when Kamaladevi visited a Temple in Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh, she noticed the unique Bommalattam puppets lying at the basement of this ancient shrine which were owned by an elderly woman. This Lady's Father was known to be the last puppeteer to perform the 'Bommalattam' which means the 'Play of Dolls' in order to bring rainfall to this region. Kamaladevi acquired these puppets and today, they are an important part of the 5,000 crafts and related accessories belonging to the Native Theatres across the country.
The Malliah Memorial Theatre Crafts Museum is a house that treasures one of the most ancient and unique crafts of Indian theatres which include interesting ornaments made of wood, horn pitch, shells and metal. It also displays a wide collection of different types of Puppets, both rare and unique and Different types of Masks.
The Malliah Memorial Theatre Crafts Museum also provides visitors with a glimpse into the world of theatre crafts including usage of wooden masks to depict God and Goddesses by the Shahi Jatra of Orissa, Usage of Bronze masks and the process and use of a Mirzai Jacket made of Silver tissue worn by Ravana during Ramlila at Ramnagar, usage of Beeswax, limestone, Tamarind seeds and mica to create Ravana's Crown in South India and many other facts not know to the population. Rod, Gloves and a series of Stringed and Shadow Puppets are also seen here. The main attraction is a production house with a small workshop that continuously strives to recreate numerous items of theatre crafts in different designs and shapes. Visitors can experience and watch expert and inherently skilled craftsmen create amazing masterpieces to maintain and re-established the lost theatre crafts of India.
A recent survey stated that the museum is mostly visited by foreigners but a very few Indians which seems really sad despite the fact that the Srinivas Malliah Memorial Theatre Crafts Museum does not charge an entry fee. This museum is opened to all between 1030 hours and 1700 hours from Mondays to Saturdays as it remains closed on all Sundays and National Holidays only. It is a must visit where one can really enjoy and admire the fantastic and stunning array of Indian crafts of Theatre productions and their attributes, both ancient and modern, to the fullest.