The Calico Museum of Textiles, widely
regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was constructed
in 1949 AD. Located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in Shahibagh, 3 km north
of Delhi Gate, the museum has the finest collection of not just textiles
and clothes but also furniture, temple artifacts and crafts in the
The city of Ahmedabad owes its prosperity to three textiles - cotton, silk and gold. Housed in one of Gujarat's famous carved wooden 'havelis', the museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles that date back to the 17th century.
The Museum has no less than five centuries of the finest fabrics spun, woven, printed and painted in different parts of India. It also has a collection of marble, sandstone and bronze icons and busts split in two thematic sections- gallery for religious textiles and historical textiles. There is also an excellent reference library on textiles.
Colourful embroidered wall hangings depicting Krishna legends hang from the second floor right down to ground level. Cloth decorated with tie-dye, glinting mirror work, screen prints, block prints and intricate embroidery include exquisite pieces made for the British and Portuguese and exported to Bali, while from India's royal households there's an embroidered tent and the robes of Shah Jahan, along with elaborate carpets and plump cushions that once furnished Muslim palaces.
THE FABULOUS PATOLA
The collection also includes some of the best examples anywhere of the Patola saris woven in Patan as well as the extravagant Zari work that gilds saris in heavy gold stitching and can bring their weight to almost nine kilos.
The Jain section features statues housed in a replica Haveli Temple, along with centuries-old manuscripts and 'mandalas' painted on palm leaves; note the traditional symbols such as the snake and ladder motif representing rebirth and 'karma'.
Among exhibits from else where in India 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 in northern Gujarat. Clearly labelled models and diagrams explain the weaving, dyeing and embroidery processes.