Calico Museum

The Calico Museum of Textile

Inaugurating the Museum in 1949, Nehru stated, “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 has fulfilled this brief.   Its collection of Indian fabrics exemplifies handicraft textiles spanning 5 centuries. It has become a major resource for historical and technical study of Indian handicraft and industrial textiles.

Indian Textiles influenced by the Mughal and Provincial Courts 17th-19th Century

As members of a textile manufacturing family, Gautam and his sister, Gira Sarabhai, established an enlightened foundation for the museum.   They brought in scholars and administrators of international eminence such as John Irwin, Moti Chandra and  Alfred Buhler.

Textile Trade of India with the outside world – 15th-19th Century

The Textile Collection


Textiles on display include court textiles used by the Mughal and provincial rulers of the 15th to the 19th centuries.  Also on display are regional embroideries of the 19th century, tie dyed textiles and religious textiles.

Indian Costumes in the Calico Collection – 18th to mid-20th Century

The museum contains one of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles, all handmade ad up to 500 years old.  There are some astoundingly beautiful pieces displaying incredible virtuosity and extravagance.  There are Kashmiri shawls that took three years to make and double-ikat cloths whose 100,000 threads were each individually dyed before weaving.

Regional Embroideries of India 19th Century
(Sindh, Kutch, Kathiawad, Tamilnadu, Orissa, Mithila (Bihar), Bengal, Punjab, Chamba (Himachal Pradesh)
Indian Tie-Dyed Fabrics

There are textile technique galleries and a library. The museums’ publications have taken two directions:  historical studies and examinations of textile processes such as looms, dying, printing techniques, etc.   As such, the museum has played a role in the curriculum taught in the textile design courses at the National Institute of Design, also located in Ahmedabad.


There is only one tour a day for 20 people, so advance booking is essential.  Children under the age of 10 are not allowed. For specific information, click here

Indian Embroidery Techniques

Scholars and those especially interested in some section/collection of the Foundation/Galleries for study purposes may ask for an appointment outside the prescribed tour hours. Such appointments are given at the discretion of the Management.

Wooden Blocks for Printing on cloth