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Gujarat’s astonishing variety of textiles showcase the amazing weaving, embroidery, block printing and dyeing skills of its crafting community. Each region in the state offers up a window of this beautifully preserved heritage in all its wondrous diversity. Labour-intensive these creations are dominated by the expertise of high precision and dedicated techniques that are long-kept family traditions. Amongst some of the most familiar and popular traditions, the embroideries as well as the silk-weaving works of the Vadiara and Kharapat Rabari from the outskirts of the little Rann of Kutch; the revered double ikat patolas of Patan; the bandhani (bandhej) from Jamnagar featured in saris, odhnis, and cholis sparkling with mirror work, beads tassels; the delicate leheriya print, the zari kyra patterns and the jamdani on super-fine muslin with gold checks and motifs; the exquisite Ari embroidery from the villages of Saurashtra block printing of the Khattri artisans, who hail from Sindh; the zardozi from Surat, a tradition dating from Mughal times and the craft of Bhujodi, home to award-winning weavers from the Vankar community. To delve deeper into these traditions we learn of SEWA’s precious conservation work and browse the textile workshops at Ahmedabad’s Old Quarter and shops in the bazaar at Law Gardens.
Our afternoon textile museum tour focuses on the religious aspect of the Textile Museum. Our next stop will be the old city area where we meet the artisans of block printing and learn the art of block printing in a live demo. You can have some fun trying this on your own here. We get to meet artisans of SEWA, an organization which has done some pioneering work with craft and textiles for many years and now runs their trust working with women on appliqué and patchwork-based design.
We then head directly to Law Garden and visit the roadside open-air market which is a feast for the textile lovers. It showcases many different types and traditional embroidered mirror work as well as applique work. Bargain to your hearts' delight and enjoy the atmospherics of the bazaar.
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