Calico Textile Museum
The Calico Museum of
Textiles, widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in
the world was constructed in 1949 AD. Located in the Sarabhai
Foundation, in Shahibagh, 3 km north of Delhi Gate, the museum has
the finest collection of not just textiles and clothes but also
furniture, temple artifacts and crafts in the country.
The city of Ahmedabad owes its prosperity to three textiles -
cotton, silk and gold. Housed in one of Gujarat's famous carved
wooden 'havelis', the museum displays a magnificent collection of
rare textiles that date back to the 17th century.
The Museum has no less than five centuries of the finest fabrics
spun, woven, printed and painted in different parts of India. It
also has a collection of marble, sandstone and bronze icons and
busts split in two thematic sections- gallery for religious
textiles and historical textiles. There is also an excellent
reference library on textiles.
Kachchh Museum (Bhuj)
Kachchh Museum at Bhuj initially formed part of the School of Art
established by Maharao Khangarji III on July 1, 1877. It is the
oldest Museum of Gujarat. The Museum is situated ideally almost on
the banks of the beautiful Hamirsar Lake and just opposite the
Nazar Baugh garden.
The museum is mainly regional in content and therefore, of immense
interest to tourists who want to know about Kachchh before going
into the interior. The museum, with 11 sections, serves as a guide
to this district.
The museum is unique in having the largest collection of Kshatrapa
inscriptions, for its gold and silver ornaments, textiles, armoury
and other exhibits.
At the time of Rao Khengarji's marriage in February 1884, an
exhibition of arts and crafts of Kachchh was organized in which
5,897 items were exhibited. Of these exhibits, items then worth Rs
3300 were given to the museum at the termination of exhibition.
These exhibits necessitated the construction of a new building.
To accommodate the additions to the already existing collection of
artifacts, it was decided to build a new building. On November 14,
1884 the foundation stone for the present museum building was laid
by the then Governor of Bombay, Sir James Fergusson. The two-storeyed
building was designed by the state engineer, Mc Lelland and was
constructed at a cost of Rs 32,000.
The Maharao named the Museum after Sir Fergusson. Till
independence, the Museum remained a preserve of the Maharao who
showed it only to his personal guests. The Museum was open to the
public only on important religious occasions.
After independence, the Museum was thrown open to the public and
through usage came to be known as the Kachchh Museum.
Ethnology Museum is recommended for its rich collection of books
and paintings of prominent Kachchhis. Mr Ramsinhji K. Rathod a
scholar of the folk art of Kachchh and winner of many state
Government awards has created an excellent museum in Bhuj, which
is called Bhartiya Sanskruti Darshan.
The museum epitomizes the rustic life styles of the Kachchhi
villager containing around 4500 exhibits. Also, there are more
than 1500 rare books on art and culture. This museum has five
major sections. In the Ethnological section, Sahitya Chitra, in
the central hall can be found rare works of literature. In other
sections are interesting artifacts such as leather embroidery,
woodwork, woodcarvings, terra cotta, wall paintings, beadwork,
stone carvings, musical instruments, knives and swords and silver
Inside one of the huts, is the intricately designed "Kothala" (the
treasury). In olden times, ornaments money, and other valuables of
the royalty were kept in the "Kothala".
The heritage of Kachchh
art and culture is displayed in the Madansihji Museum (Aina Mahal)
Bhuj. The last ruler of Kachchh Maharao Madansinhji established
the Maharao of Kachchh Aina Mahal Trust on 1st January, 1977. Aina
Mahal means a 'mirror palace'. It was created by the artists
Ramsinh & Gaidhar Devshi in the period of Maharao Lakhpatji
In 1757, Rao Lakhpatji visited the emperor Alamgir in Delhi. He
was graced with the title of 'Mahi Maratib'. He welcomed
foreigners in his court. Fortune brought him a man named Ramsingh
Malam who specialized in Kachchhi architecture, enamel work,
jewellery, tile work and interior decoration.
The great master piece of Ramsingh is the Hall of Mirrors in the
Aina Mahal. The walls are white marble covered with mirror which
are separated by gilded ornaments. The hall is lit by elaborate
pendant candelabra with shades of Venetian glass. The hall of
mirrors is on the second floor of the Aina Mahal but Ramsingh
devised ingenious pumps and siphons to raise water to fill the
pleasure pool and to operate fountains, which cast spray in an
intricate variety of patterns charming the eye and cooling the
The small state apartment, carpeted with exquisite Kachchhi silk
embroidery, its walls paneled high with the same priceless fabrics
still contains Maharao Lakhpatji's bed. The hall is filled with a
miscellaneous collection of objects; a Dutch Clock, English and
French celestial globes, some antique pictures, mechanical toys,
glass and china. On the walls of the corridor are a variety of
pictures, some European and many Indian. The Aina Mahal alone cost
eight million kories and was only one of the many enterprises
which the Maharao and Ramsingh undertook together