Unlike many museums where you can walk in the moment you arrive, here one needs prior appointment as entry is restricted to just a few visitors per day. There is a reason for that. The exhalation and perspiration of visitors causes moisture levels to rise which has a threshold level beyond which the condition of museum artifacts (mainly the antique textiles) will deteriorate.
You can call them in advance on +91 079 22865995 or +91 9979738650 and book your place for the day you want to visit it. It is free of cost. You can also contact them on-
The viewing is divided into two guided tours. One from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. They take in only 20 visitors per day for this tour. You have to be at the gate by 10:15 am to enter (do not take this lightly as Gujarat is very punctual). It covers the textiles and costumes of India (17th century onward). Textiles used in trade with foreigners (15th century onward). Regional embroideries, weaving, dyeing and block printing techniques. All at an arms length which you can touch and feel.
The second tour is from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Be there by 2:45 pm. If not, your place might be given to last minute visitors as only 16 visitors are allowed in. This one covers the paintings, bronzes, manuscripts, woodwork, ceremonial artifacts, ritual arts etc.
Children below 10 years of age are not allowed.
You cannot take a camera inside. It is advisable to carry a small diary and a pen to scribble anything that you really like and would want your friends to definitely see when they visit. For example the article no. 109 is something I have not been able to forget. It is a saree from Orissa in Gold & red silk which has 'Barakhadi' (the oriya vowels) wowen on its drape. Exquisite work.
The souvenir shop has some unique offerings. Textile prints and books were my favourite. 'The journal of India Textiles' is a complete set of 7 journals with a monograph on printing on cotton at Ahmedabad. Apps. Rs. 2000/-
A set of 4 detailed brochures is a working guide and has photographs and techniques of all the Indian Embroideries you see in the museum (you might be tempted to write it all down during the tour but it is available as a single/collection in the shop). Appx. Rs. 500/- per brochure.
A coffee table book of 'Indian Costumes' from 18th to mid 20th century is quite detailed. It also has a section in the end with technical and explanatory notes with complete pattern cuts to show how to replicate these designs with tailoring today. Appx. Rs 4500/-
I pride myself at being able to differentiate machine embroidery and hand embroidery but this museum crushed my pride to bare threads. They were so fine that if they weren't so old, I would have brushed them aside as machine work. Our ancestors were quite hard working.
It is a dark quiet museum in a haveli (private mansion) with a cowdung+straw+clay flooring but don't let that dampen your spirits. The objects have been preserved painstakingly by the Sarabhais. It is definitely worth a visit when In Ahmedabad.
Bathroom facility is neat and clean.
Note: You are generally not allowed to leave the tour midway so do plan your day accordingly. You can choose to drop out of either tour 1 or tour 2 completely but it is not advisable to drop out once the tour has begun as it is a maze and you will need to be escorted out.
We had Kamalini Ben (Ben is gujarati for sister) as our guide. She was very good and knowledgeable. You need to ask questions to know more than they generally divulge.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.