|Calico Museum, Ahmedabad|
Unlike many museums where you can simply walk in the moment you arrive, one needs prior appointment here as entry is restricted to just a few visitors per day. This this done to control the relative humidity inside the museum to preserve the condition of artifacts (mainly the antique textiles).
You can call them in advance on +91 079 22865995 or +91 9979738650 and book your place for the day you want to visit it. It is free of cost. You can also contact them on-
|late 19th century Silk brocade & gold zari |
Farshi Pyjama (Gharara/Sharara)
The viewing is divided into two guided tours. One from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. They take in only 20 visitors per day for this tour. You have to be at the gate by 10:15 am to enter (do not take this lightly as Gujarat is very punctual). It covers -
-Textiles and costumes of India (17th century onward).
-Textiles used in trade with foreigners (15th century onward).
-Regional embroideries, weaving, dyeing and block printing techniques.
The second tour is from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Be there by 2:45 pm. If not, your place might be given to last minute visitors as only 16 visitors are allowed in. This one covers the paintings, bronzes, manuscripts, woodwork, ceremonial artifacts, ritual arts etc.
You cannot take a camera inside. It is advisable to carry a small diary and a pen to scribble anything that you really like and would want your friends to definitely see when they visit. For example the article no.109 is something I have not been able to forget. It is a saree from Odisha in Gold & red silk which has 'Barakhadi' (the Oriya vowels) woven on its drape. Exquisite work.
|Rumaal from Uttar Pradesh|
The souvenir shop has some other offerings too. Textile prints and books were my favourite. 'The journal of India Textiles' is a complete set of 7 journals with a monograph about printing on cotton in Ahmedabad. Approx. Rs. 2000/-
A coffee table book of 'Indian Costumes' from 18th to mid 20th century is quite detailed. It also has a section in the end with technical explanatory notes and complete pattern cuts to show how to replicate these designs with tailoring today. Approx. Rs 4500/-
I pride myself at being able to differentiate machine embroidery and hand embroidery but this museum crushed my pride to bare threads. They were so fine that if they weren't so old, I would have brushed them aside as machine work. Our ancestors were very hardworking, I can see that.
We had Kamalini Ben (Ben is Gujarati for sister) as our guide. She was very good and knowledgeable. You need to ask questions to know more. Children below 10 years of age are not allowed.