Calico Museum of Textiles is one of the finest museums to be set up in India. It was inaugurated in the year 1949 by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru. The museum houses one of the rare collections of textiles, dating back to the 17th century. It is presently located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in the Shahibag premises. Calico museum is the world’s best museum on textiles. Ahmedabad has been a major textile trade center sine the 15th century. This inspired Shri Sarabhai, his sister Gira Sarabhai and the great industrial house of Calico to establish India’s unique museum on textiles in the city.
The museum deals with the both the historical and technical study of Indian handicraft and textile industry and attracts tourists from across the globe. A number of researchers and scholars visit the place for a better understanding of the industry. Calico museum showcases a plethora of things, apart from textiles and fabrics. One can see handicrafts, temple artifacts and marble, bronze and sandstone icons here. It preserves fabrics, spun and woven in the different parts of the nation.
Calico museum is divided into two thematic sections namely, Gallery for religious textiles and Gallery for historical textiles. There is an excellent library for reference which can be consulted for exhaustive information on the subject. The embroidered tent and robes of Shah Jahan are also exhibited here, along with elaborate carpets and plump cushions of the royal court. There are also centuries-old manuscripts and ‘mandalas’, painted on palm leaves, and marked illustrations explaining the weaving, dyeing and embroidery processes.