Calico Textile Museum

Weather :

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Timings : 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Closed on Wednesdays and Public Holidays

Entry Fee : None

Calico Textile Museum, Ahmedabad Overview

Established in 1949, the Calico Textile Museum located at the Retreat on Airport Road is the oldest textile museum in Ahmedabad. Started by the renowned industrial personality, Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gita Sarabhai, this museum was opened by the former Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

The museum has been preserving various weaving material, an array of designer and colourful fabric from different parts of the country. Although initiated at the Calico House, the Calico Textile Museum was further moved into a part of the Sarabhai House called "The Retreat" in 1983.

The museum is currently managed and maintained by the Sarabhai Foundation; an NGO organised by the Sarabhai family. Besides textiles, the museum also showcases South Indian bronze art, temple hangings, furniture, miniature artworks and Jain artefacts. The Calico Textile Museum also has gallery sections and a library as well. 

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History of the Calico Textile Museum

The Gujarat visit of the Tamil philosopher, historian and a philosopher of Indian art, Ananda Coomaraswamy, inspired the idea of the Calico Textile Museum. Thus, Gautam and Gita Sarabhai began working towards their goal of setting up this exclusive museum in the 1940s.

The placement of this typical Haveli-styled museum in the city of Ahmedabad was quite significant as the city was one of the top trading textile industries of the country at the time. Today, the museum houses varieties of ancient and contemporary patterns and designs of both industrial and handicraft fabrics spanning between the 15th and the 19th centuries. 

A Walk Inside the Calico Textile Museum

The Haveli and the Chauk are the two sections in the Calico Textile Museum. The former showcases temple fabrics, bronze and Jain artwork, whereas the Chauk is home to various royal goods such as tents, carpets, furniture and Mughlai royal wear between the 1400s and the 1500s.

The Calico Textile Museum is not just a reserve for fabric history, but also intricate artworks such as Pichwai which are elaborate Hindu paintings or weaving on cloth. The Kacchi or Kutch embroidery, which is a piece of exquisite craftsmanship from the Kutch district in Gujarat and Patan Patolas which are the incredible Gujarati double ikat-woven silk sarees and other fabric are also found here.

The museum is home to significant textiles from all over the country such as shawls from Kashmir, a small collection from Shah Jahan's wardrobe, South Indian signature fabrics such as temple designer sarees and materials, Punjabi folk art and global needlework on cloth. The museum also has manuscripts from ancient India and palm leaf mandala art.

How to Reach Calico Textile Museum

Since the Calico Textile Museum is located along the Airport road, it is quite easily accessible, especially from the airport itself. It is about 6 to 8 km from the Ahmedabad city centre and 5 to 6 km from the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport (The Ahmedabad International Airport). This distance can be covered by taxi or public transport.

The Ahmedabad Railway Station is just about 5 to 6.5 km from the museum which would approximately be a 12 to 20-minute drive and a half-hour bus ride. Long drive options to the museum can be availed from starting points such as Vadodara, Godhra, Surendranagar, Anand and Mehsana. 

Tips

  • Entry is restricted after 11:00 AM
  • Entry is provided on the first-come-first-serve basis to the first 15 to 30 visitors. 
  • Groups of 15 will have to contact the museum authorities to book their visit slots. 
  • Ticket bookings are open between 10:30 AM to 1:45 PM and 2:45 PM to 6:45 PM.

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Ahmedabad Reviews

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Aashimi Bhatia 2 years ago
My memory of the museum is weak, given that my visit was more than 10 years ago. However, the haveli and its gardens did make a lasting impression on my mind. The gardens, though small, were beautifully green and full of birds like peacocks. It was a beautiful setting.

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