From INDIAN COSTUMES II: PATKAS by B.N. Goswamy
There is something special about moving through the imposing, ornate gates that lead you into The Retreat – a group of buildings, some with traditional carved wooden facades – that was once the ancestral home of the Sarabhai family. In 1982 these structures became the new home of Gujarat's exquisite Calico Museum.
By entering, you are taken from the steamy, noisy city of Ahmedabad into another realm entirely; from a place of hustle and bustle, to one where time seems to have stood still.
From INDIAN PIGMENT PAINTINGS ON CLOTH by Kay Talwar and Kalyan Krishna
Once you are within the hushed, shady green of the complex there are two areas to explore; the Haveli, which houses religious textiles, and the Chauk, which contains royal, trade and ethnographic pieces. The museum houses one of the world's finest collections of Indian handmade textiles. The intricacy and extravagance of the exhibits on display are at once breathtaking and beautiful. Within the compound of The Retreat you can find countless examples of India's rich textile heritage; the priceless hand-embroidered royal tents and robes of Shah Jahan, Kashmiri shawls that have taken 3 years to complete, silk brocades from Varanasi and double-ikat painstakingly woven from 100,000 individually dyed threads.
From INDIAN EMBROIDERIES VOL-II PART 2 by Anne Morrell
Perhaps the most striking and unusual thing about this exceptional place, however, is the generosity of the curators in their approach to exhibiting the fabrics they have on display. The environment inside the museum discards the sterile, self-conscious atmosphere of conventional museums, instead presenting an intimate home for textiles. Exhibits stay invitingly close to the eye. The exhibition design creates an interaction and juxtaposition of textures, colours and imagery. Dimly lit interiors protect the items from light, dust and air pollution, as do the humidity controls and the lofty trees surrounding the museum complex. All these things together have a practical purpose, but they also create a personal, informal ambience along with the sense of having discovered a wonderful secret.
From TENTAGE AT THE CALICO MUSEUM AND ITS PATTERNS by Peter Alford Andrews
A tour is free of charge and available to all (except children under the age of 10), it is advisable to book at least 4 weeks in advance. Only 20 people are admitted each day on a single tour.