What is the place all about?
Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, opened in 2004, is a place where you can explore the traditional art of block printing. It’s a one of its kind museum since before this there was no venue that featured this local craft. More importantly, the artisans themselves had no place to view their work within the boarder context or to consider the contemporary possibilities of their craft. After fulfilling this requirement, Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing aspires to be a repository of contemporary textiles while referencing the past.
Where is the place?
Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli (now, Anokhi Haveli)
Kheri Gate, Amer, Jaipur
There are some really narrow lanes that will make you believe that there can’t be anything beyond it but keep an eye on the sign boards pointing the direction to the Anokhi Museum. Or simply, do as all the Indians do, ask the locals.
Although, the identity of the owner of the 16th century Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli (Mansion) is unknown today, the place presumably held an important position in the fortified town given its strategic location next to the Kheri Gate. Empty for centuries, the haveli lay in ruins until John Singh, a founder of Anokhi, purchased the property and in 1989 undertook a four year restoration project with the architects Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri of the design firm, Abhikram.
The building won a UNESCO award for Cultural Conservation in 2000.
What is there is do?
Apart from being in awe of the architecture and wondering why the building is cooler than the outside temperature, the visitors can see village attires all made in the traditional block printing exhibited alongside high fashion designs featured on the pages of magazines like Vogue. It is a great place to introduce yourself to the various types of regional textiles ~ Ajrakh, Bagru, Balotra, Jaipur, Naliya & Sanganer.
If you get all pumped up by the rare collections of block printing and starts to wonder whether you would ever do block printing yourself, you can surely get your hands dirty on the top floor. You will find Mohammad Iqbal, a block printer from Uttar Pradesh, actually demonstrating the way block printing is done. You might want to help him out, he won’t mind.
Why is this place special?
If you still need an answer for this, probably you are better off being a couch potato. No wait, let me plant a guilt in you.
The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing strives to increase awareness of the fragile existence of hand block printing. Many challenges face this hereditary craft. The pressure to compete in the modern world is taking its toll. It is imperative that Indians and the world-at-large recognize and support the talent artisans so that the next generation is able to thrive.
What is the time to visit the place?
- Tuesday – Saturday : 10:30am – 5:00pm
- Sunday : 11:00am – 4:30pm
Closed Mondays and major national & local holidays.
Don’t plan to visit during the summer holidays of your children. The museum is closed each summer between May 1st and July 15th for exhibition changeover and maintenance of the galleries.