This museum contains one of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles, all handmade and up to 500 years old. There are some astoundingly beautiful pieces, displaying incredible virtuosity and extravagance. You’ll see Kashmiri shawls that took three years to make, and double-ikat cloths whose 100,000 threads were each individually dyed before weaving. A single tour is offered each day the museum is open; booking weeks in advance is absolutely essential as spaces are limited to 20.
The tour takes in the main textile galleries, where you get to see remarkable examples of tapestries, royal garments, exquisite saris, tribal costumes, Patola and Mashru weaves and Bandhani tie-dye. A separate gallery showcases examples of needlework from around the world, and you can also see sacred bronzes, pichwais (devotional cloth hangings) and miniature paintings. Although the collection is fabulous, the tour is quite long and even dedicated textile enthusiasts have found it too much. For those with only a passing interest it might be better to let someone truly passionate about the subject grab a ticket instead.
Children under 10 are not admitted. Photography is not permitted and bags are not allowed inside. The museum is in the Shahibag area, 3.5km north of the old centre, opposite the Shahibag Underbridge. An autorickshaw from Lal Darwaja should cost about ₹50.