top of page


The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, managed by its parent organization Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, is a unique testament to the evolution of sanitation. Founded in 1992 in New Delhi by
Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, a world-renowned sociologist and social activist, the museum was born out of his extensive research into the historical development of toilet systems. Dr Pathak, also the founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, has received numerous national and international accolades for his contributions to the field, including the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize in 2009. The museum's exhibits meticulously display the progression of toilet systems from the third millennium BC through the end of the 20th century, offering visitors a chronological journey through five thousand years of sanitation history.

Exploring the Evolution of Toilets Through History

From Ancient Privies to
Modern Water Closets and Beyond

The Museum has a rare collection of facts, pictures and objects detailing the historic evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to date. It provides a chronological account of developments relating to technology, toilet related social customs, toilet etiquettes, prevailing sanitary conditions and legislative efforts of different times. It has an extensive display of privies, chamber pots, toilet furniture, bidets and water closets in use from 1145 AD to the modern times. It also has a rare collection of beautiful poems related to toilet, their usage.


Unveiling the Evolution of Toilet Technology

Tracing the Progression of Sanitary Innovations

The pictures displayed in the Museum make one aware of how the world looked like when societies did not have the benefit of water closets (WC) and the changes that have been brought about by its invention.
Ornately carved and painted urinals and commodes attract attention and are a source of amusement to many. The models and pictures of medieval commodes are noteworthy. There is also a replica of medieval mobile commode in the shape of a treasure chest, which the English used while camping out for a hunt. One could imagine the shock registered by some unsuspecting highway robbers, if they made away with such ‘treasure chests’, thinking it to be containing something absolutely costly inside.

The Museum also displays how the Roman emperors used to have toilet pots made of gold and silver.

The Museum has a rare record of the flush pot devised in 1596 by Sir John Harrington, a courtier during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Museum displays sewerage system of the Harappan Civilization dating back to 2,500 BC and maintains a detailed record of how modern toilet pans have emerged over a period of time.

Discovering Toilet Tales Around the World

From Ancient Innovations to Global Contributions: Unraveling the Cultural History of Toilets

The Museum has a stock of interesting anecdotes and facts associated with the development of toilets. Tracing the history of toilets from the Indus Valley Civilisation in Lothal, 62 km from the city of Ahmedabad, India where a highly developed drainage system existed, the Museum also documents facts relating to the countries in Europe where most of the early technological developments in the evolution of toilets took place.

The national flags of different countries, from where the pictures of toilets have been collected, are also displayed.


Founder & Philanthropist 

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, is widely recognized in India – and around the world – for dedicating his life to building a nationwide sanitation movement that transcended borders, spanning over five decades. His lifetime work has made a critical difference to the lives of millions of severely disadvantaged and impoverished, lacking access to basic amenities.


To Learn More about Sulabh International

bottom of page