AHMEDABAD CITY GUIDE

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Tour of Ahmedabad – a city which quietly blends the glorious past and a vibrant present. Founded 500 years ago, Ahmedabad was a center of Moslem power & splendor and the home of a rich Islamic military official elite and of skilled Moslem weavers, but its wealth came from trade industry which were controlled by Hindu & Jain merchants. These merchants controlled Ahmedabads trade in textiles, when the city was an important center on the major trade routes. At one time it was said that Ahmedabad hung on three threads: gold, silk and cotton. Today the city has over 40 mills that employ thousands and produce about a third of India’s total textiles.

Visit to the Shreyas Folk Art Museum, which houses a unique collection of the crafts costumes of Gujarat. The collection bears testimony to the ingenuity of the artisans & craftsmen of Gujarat & their innate understanding of form & colour.

Patan – the home of the famous Patola sarees and mashru weaves. Patola silks in-all over geometrical patterns are woven in the telia rumaal technique. The double pre-dyeing on the silk threads of both warp & weft according to calculation is a fascinating time-consuming & laborious process, which explains the high price of patola silks. Exported to Samarkand, Baghdad, Damascus & Rome in the 15th & 16th centuries, the silk patola retains its original intricacy of motif & design.

Carry onto Pethapur to see manufacturing of wooden blocks used in block printing. The wooden blocks that Gujarat produce is the finest in the country and is used by other states as well. The designs on these printing blocks are as imaginative as the embroidery of the state. Gujarat is also the centre for the production of dyes – both synthetic & natural and these dyes & blocks are exported from Gujarat to other countries. Hand – blocked textiles present a limitless scope – wall hangings, home furnishing, linen, dresses, skirts beachwear, handbags, turbans are all made from textiles ranging in width from 36 to 72.

Visit the local textile bazaars and see the most artistic tie & dye techniques, which result in fascinating patterns of stripes & dots, are done in Gujarat. The English word bandanna comes from this part of the world & means a large handkerchief with dots bandhana(to tie) from the technique bandhani or tie & dye!

Modhera – famous for the Sun-God temple built in 1025 A.D., during the region of the Solanki dynasty. The temple dedicated to the Sun god, stands high on an elevated plinth overlooking a deep stepped tank. The unique feature of the temple is that the first rays of the rising sun at the equinoxes shine straight into the shrine, illuminating the image of the Sun-god. The temple also has exquisite sculpture, scalloped arches and tiered columns.

Visit the Calico Museum housed in a famous wooden carved Haveli. The Calico Museum of Textiles is considered one of the finest textile museums in the Far East. Its rare collection of fabrics dates to the seventeenth century. Included are Patola fabrics from Patan and South India, temple cloths, textiles from the Mogul period, hand-woven cloths, brocades, and wooden blocks showing the Portuguese influence.

Shreyas Folk Museum – is in the sloping green woodland that makes up the Shreyas Foundation. The museum has a fine collection of folk art and objects that illustrate the culture of Gujarat. On display are exquisite embroideries, unusual pots, pans, and other utensils, handicrafts, weapons, and bullock and camel carts. The museum also has a children s section that displays costumes, folk art, puppets, coins, and legends of various Indian states.

N.C. Mehta Museum of Miniatures (L.D. Institute of Indology, houses rare Indian miniatures, a collection amassed by a philanthropist who donated them to the museum.

Textile Craft outlet of SEWA, Self Employed Women Association meeting with crafts women and see them working.

Sabarmati Ashram was Mahatma Gandhi’s headquarters for 15 years. Many of Gandhi’s historical events, such as the Dandi March, commenced here. The ashram was founded in 1915 and today houses many of Gandhi s personal effects. It still makes handicrafts, handmade paper, and spinning wheels.

Dinner at the Vishala Village Restaurant to see folk dances, music & stage art. Also visit Vechaar the antique utensil museum.

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