Calico Museum of Textiles

Located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in Shahibagh the Calico Museum of Textiles, widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was constructed in 1949 AD.  The museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century. There is also an excellent reference library on textiles. 
Ahmedabad-Calico Textile Museum

Its remarkable collection of fabrics spanning varied and remote regions of India exemplifies handicraft textiles across five centuries. 


Location:
In the premises of the Sarabhai foundation in the Shahibaug area

Timings: 
No entry after 11 am

Entry restricted to 30 visitors – 15 visitors on the basis of first-come-first-served and 15 by group booking. Organisers of tours up to 15 members are requested to contact the administration to make and confirm the arrangement in advance.

The textiles were collected with a vision to conserve, built awareness and empower the vast and deep textile heritage of India. Over the years the collection has grown into an outstanding repository of fabrics based on colors, pattern, weave and embellishment and has become a recognized center providing Indian and international scholars an opportunity to study and draw in-depth knowledge on this extraordinary range of Indian ethos. The Museum inspired by Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy was formally housed in 1949 by Shri Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai in the large industrial house of Calico. In 1983 it was moved to the beautiful Retreat premises of the Foundation in the Shahibaug area.

It has the finest collection of not just textiles and clothes but also furniture, temple artifacts and crafts in the country. It has no less than five centuries of the finest fabrics spun, woven, printed and painted in different parts of India. It has a collection of marble, sandstone and bronze icons and busts split in two thematic sections- gallery for religious textiles and historical textiles An excellent reference library on textiles is found here.There are colourful embroidered wall hangings depicting Krishna legends hanging from the second floor right to the ground level. Cloth decorated with tie- dye, glinting mirror work, screen prints, block prints and intricate embroidery are also seen. There is an embroidered tent and the robes of Shah Jahan, along with elaborate carpets and plump cushions that once furnished Muslim palaces. The Jain section features statues housed in a replica Haveli Temple, along with centuries-old manuscripts and 'mandalas' painted on palm leaves.

Among exhibits are Kashmiri shawls, Kullu embroidery, glittering silk brocades from Varanasi, folk art from the Punjab and masks and large wooden temple cars (processional vehicles) from Tamil Nadu. Tribal crafts such as, Kachchhi silk and cotton 'mashru' weaving are displayed in spectacular wooden 'havelis' from Patna and Siddhpur. There are clear and labelled models and diagrams explaining the weaving, dyeing and embroidery processes. The collection also includes some of the best examples of the Patola saris woven in Patan as well as the extravagant Zari work that gilds saris in heavy gold stitching which weigh almost nine kilos.

The Sarabhai foundation, started in 1959 by Smt. Sarladevi Sarabhai and Shri Ambalal Sarabhai, is a non-profit devoted, among other things, to the ‘promotion of science, art and literature’. With a view of preserving and interpreting the cultural heritage of India, in recent years the foundation has also been holding workshops to sensitize museum and university scholars to look at art afresh and more closely. Even if you are not interested in textiles or art, still a visit to the museum is worth it for its ethnic Gujarati haveli architecture and the idyllic calm beauty of the surrounding nature.








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