Monday, 25 May 2015

A visit to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

"What??", "A museum for toilets", "Are you serious", "You are joking" - Those are the exclamations i heard when i spoke to friends about having visited a Toilet museum. To be honest, i had surprised eyes and a little laugh (i wonder if it was for appreciation or satirical) when i read about this one too! But a visit to this place would surely change your point of view about the work this charitable organisation is doing. 




We always talk about food!!! What to cook, where to eat, which new dish to try but always shy away (or rather feel disgusted) to talk about health and sanitation. There is this famous Modern Toilet restaurant in Taiwan we all have heard about but our very own Amdavadi (as they call it) people are no behind. 

According to scoopwhoop, Nature's Toilet cafe in Ahmedabad is India's first ever toilet-themed restaurant that has a toilet garden around it which boasts of a collection of more than twenty lavatories and urinals which date as far back as the 1950s. The signboard outside the loo carries the sign "Haash!". The founder Jayesh Patel is the son of Ishwarbhai Patel who established the toilet garden. He was strangely called Baby Toilet because of this weird legacy.

A replica of two-storey toilet to save space. It was said that the upper class people used to go for toilets upstairs and the lower class people downstairs.


A replica of two-storey toilet to save space. It is believed that the upper toilet was used by upper class people and lower toilets for the lower class.

Mobile toilets
Our recent visit to this Museum in Delhi had our driver astonished. Thinking us to be some wierd people wasting time and having nothing else to do but to visit a museum of toilets, he dropped us and happily took a nap in the AC of the car. At first, it just looks like a display of toilets, and some newspaper cuttings explaining the toilet evolution from 2500 BC to present. But when the staff came over to explain us each of it in detail, our interest grew more intense and we happily spent about an hour in that small space of museum.



There were some quirky toilet posters on the wall, writings on the wall about the toilet story with reference to India's Harrappan civilization, a whole lot of knick knacks and collection of information which wouldn't have made sense to us without the staff's detailed explanation. The history behind each model of toilet is fascinating. On the outside, there were a few specimens of Indian styled toilets used in rural India. The whole purpose of this is to educate people about using toilets without wasting water or space and using the excreta to generate cooking gas, electricity, fertilizer etc. They also have a small lab facility, a biogas plant and shortly are coming up with a college which will have courses about boosting sanitation in the country.




A toilet designed as a throne for the king Louis XIV who used to attend matters while doing  nature's call, as was said the King took a lot of time to release excreta (2 hours or so). To save on the time, this was invented.


A replica of loo designed by French Royalty that marked an English classic
We also learnt about the World's Biggest Toilet -cum-bath complex at Shirdi in Maharashtra, where people come in large numbers for worship and meditation. It has an aesthetically exquisite and visually appealing, colourful toilet-cum-bath complex, spread over an area of over two acres at a total cost of Rs. 1.53 crores.

A replica of the World's Biggest toilet-cum-bath service at Shirdi

"The toilet complex provides a variety of facilities to its users including 120 WC's, 108 bathing cubicles, 28 special toilets, six dressing rooms, rows of urinals, immaculately laid out to avoid congestion. The complex is capable of serving approximately 30,000 users everyday. The self-sustaining complex has three excreta based, biogas-generating Sulabh plants which provide electricity to the entire complex for illumination and water heating. The water discharged from the complex is recycled for irrigating the beautifully laid out green area. To provide a sylvan touch to the complex a variety of trees have also been planted all around the area."

(Source : Sulabh International website)

Travel toilet which was also used as a table. The excreta was removed in the bucket and then discarded


Modern Tent toilet


So, this museum surely is a must visit for people who like to know about history, students learning health and sanitation, NGO's, people studying urban/rural planning and architecture or just someone like us who find different things like these entertaining as well as informative both.





Some useful information

You all must be wondering, what's a museum trip post doing in a cooking blog? But well, we eat and we excrete... all of us, each one of us, don't we? Its as simple as that! Just as food is important in our life, a clean/neat toilet is as important too. This post is just a little contribution to spread awareness about the "Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan" by our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. It is not only important to raise awareness in rural India but also in our own homes! I have seen some good people from good families throwing dirt (chocolate wrappers or cold drink cans) on the roads from their cars or their homes. Of late, i read an article that said "Mount Everest of Excrement". People like us go for trekkings and outings in the wild and leave our human waste there without bothering to clean it up. The waste piles up over years under the snow, giving off unpleasant odour. 




So before we start making this world into a dump of garbage and waste, it's time we do something! I saw a very beautiful video recently of Julia Roberts. Here is the link :



Yes, The nature doesn't need us! We need the Nature!!! There are so many things we can do on our own small level. We can make them as fun activities with kids, so they get educated too.

Its time we act, and we act now!!!



18 comments:

  1. Certainly a nice place to visit. I'm truly impressed.

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    1. Thanks Nava, not many people think so. Glad you appreciated :)

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  2. Wow, again soemthing different... nice read and write up!

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  3. Thanks Mullai, so happy you liked it :)

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  4. Super cool museum to visit, Gauri:) the pictures are really interesting...good post!

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    1. Indeed super cool :) Thanks Peri :)

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  5. Okay, I was going to say I liked the idea of a toilet that looks like a book until I saw that it goes into a bucket. Ewww!

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    1. Haha! Yes, and the servants used to come and pick the bucket! Imagine those days!!!

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  6. Wonderfully written Gauri....hard to imagine those days with such toilet system...

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    1. Yeah, Indeed :) Happy you liked it :)

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  7. My parents used to go snowmobiling in Yellowstone. There was so much snow they had to build two story toilets!

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    1. Snowmobiling? Wow! Am sure it would have been super fun!

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  8. super duper interesting post:) Keep them coming

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    1. Thanks a ton Shweta, means a lot :)

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Appreciate your comments, Thank you so much for for dropping by :)!!!