Calico Museum Ahmedabad

Calico Textile Museum

Guest Author: Vishal Kamlani

Ahmedabad is even referred as the Manchester of the East.

Manchester is the textile city of the U.K. It was here back during industrial revolution this city became the textile hub and so became an epithet for the world of textile.

Ahmedabad in the early days was a booming textile hub thanks to Mr. Sarabhai whose contributions to the city’s textile sector were guiding.

Built in 1880 the Calico Mills was one of the leading mills in the Ahmedabad city, industrialists Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai started the museum to house the history of Ahmedabad’s textile industry and to aware people about the sector in 1949. While inaugurating Jawaharlal Nehru-the first Prime Minister of India said
“The early beginnings of civilization are tied up with the manufacture of textiles, and history might well be written with this as the leading motif.”

The Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad, India, is the one of the premier textile museum of the country, and one of the most celebrated institutions of its kind in the world for its distinguished and comprehensive collection of textiles and artifacts attracting many visitors and art lovers and has become an icon for the city.

During the early days the museum discovered its original intent concentrating its energies on the vast and vital field of handicraft textiles, devoting less time to industrial fabrics.

By second decade to inform people about the Indian textile and handicraft industry it ran two publication programs which even today are being published and run in two direction where one in still focusing on its main aim of knowledge regarding the history and the other in research and the study of textile industry.

The period of the 1980s’ brought some great nerve of difficulties when Calico group was running short of funds and was in dilemma regarding shutting of museum but ultimately reached in agreement with the Sarabhai foundation to run it.

After this agreement it was then transferred from the mill to Sarabhai-ni-haveli in Shahibaug and since 1983 Sarabhai foundation is also running its own ‘personal’ museum showcasing personal collection of Sarabhai group of furniture, Pichhwais, Jain art objects and Indian miniature paintings.

The museum has a large variety of woven fabrics ranging from religious clothes to Mughal courtrooms’ dresses. Differing in quality and price range, there is something for every visitor. Popular works include sequins, mirrors, beads, silk threads etc. The unique feature of this museum is that, here you can even find the fabrics that can be traced back to the times of seventeenth century.

There are also textile techniques galleries and a library. The museum has played an important role in determining the curriculum taught in the textile designing courses at the prestigious National Institute of Design also located in Ahmedabad.

Museum is open from 10.30-12.30 and 15.00-17.00 hours and can be visited by prior appointment. Closed on Wednesdays and public holidays.


Sarabhai Foundation, Opposite Underbridge, Shahibagh, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 380004




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