Ahmedabad is located in the state of Gujarat in India. The city is fondly called as Amdavad. It is a tiny metropolis in itself. Situated on the bank of the river Sabarmati, the city partly reflects ancient appeal and magic and also the busy life of a city. It is a cosmopolitan city by nature. It has a intense and deep Muslim history. This ancient city has been spectacularly reinstated to a very fine place, with intriguing museums, amazing dining places and spectacular night time markets. The city of Ahmedabad acts as a gateway for the rest of the state of Gujarat. An interesting occasion is the time of Makar Sankranti, which is hosted by the city during the month of January. It is basically a kite festival in an international scale. It is worth making the trip to this place to watch the vibrant kites.
PLACES TO VISIT
Gandhi Ashram: The heart of Gandhiji’s non violent movement was Ahmedabad for quite a number of years. The feeling and presence of the movement can still be experienced by people in the Satyagraha Ashram. He built this ashram on the River Sabarmati’s bed in the year 1917. The Kochrab Ashram was vacated because the epidemic of plague broke out there. He opted for this location so that he can carry out activities such as cultivation and many more. The khadi type of cloth was made in this ashram, when he learnt about spinning and weaving techniques. This activity soon declined, when the relocation happened to Sevagram Ashram close to Wardha, Maharastra.
The life of Mahatma Gandhi and the interesting facts about the movement can be obtained from the items such as pictures and manuscripts, books on Gandhian philosophy and a huge collection of letters composed by Gandhi himself are displayed in the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, which is a small scale museum. The space where Gandhi used to live, the Vinoba-Mira Kutir where Viroba and Mira lived on their distinct trip to this place, a prayer bhumi, a living space for the guests and a building used as a training place for cottage industries are all included the grounds of this place. all these places have been kept protected as part of the museum.
Hutheesing Jain Temple: The Hutheesing Jain Temple is situated just outside the Delhi Gate. This highly sophisticated temple has been the destination for pilgrimages for many a number of families following Jain faith for many a number of years. The temple has been made of white colored marbles. In the year 1848 AD, the temple was constructed. The total cost for constructing the temple was 10 lakh rupees approximately. A wealthy businessman named Sheth Hutheesing has given the constructed the temple in the name of Shri Dharmanatha, the 15th Jain Tirthankar. The Sonpura and the Salat group of people were responsible for making the stone workings. The work done in the temple is an attribute to Premchand Salat.
The temple contains big and stretching land, a big courtyard, a big ridged dome topping the madapa. This dome rests on as many as 12 ornamented pillars. On the eastern corner, there is a tiny garbhagruh. This place is surrounded by as many as 52 small shrines. These little shrines have been made in the honor of numerous tirthankars. On the other three sides on the outside, big protruding porches are present. These porches also contain ornamented columns.
Sidi Sayeed Masjid: The Sidi Sayeed mosque is located on the eastern part of the Nehru Bridge. It has been constructed in the year 1573. It is considered to be among the very last mosques that were constructed under the leadership of the Mughal rulers. The masjid contains worldwide famous carved jaalis in the windows. These jaalis in the windows have come to exist as a popular mark for the Ahmedabad city. If one looks size wise, this masjid is much smaller that the Jama Masjid.
Walled cit andgates: In 1411 AD, Ahmed Shah founded the city of Ahmedabad on the eastern bed of River Sabarmati. Since then the city has seen a rapid growth. By 1487 AD, Mahmud Begda, who is the grandson of Shah, took a decision of making the city protected by fortifying it. Thus a wall has been constructed which measures 10 Kms in length. It surrounds the entire city. The main aim of the wall is to protect the city from outside attacks. Initially, there were 12 numbers of gates on the walls, 189 bastions and 6,000 battlements. In the oncoming ages, some of the walls had been taken out because of the expansion of the city to the river’s other side. At present, only the gates remain. Also, a small portion of the wall can also be seen adjacent to the riverside. Shahpur Gate, Delhi Gate, Dariapur Gate, Prem Gate, Kalupur Gate, Panch Kuva Gate, Sarangpur Gate, Raipur Gate, Astodia Gate, Mahudha Gate, Jamalpur Gate, Khanjia Gate, Raikhad Gate, Ganesh Gate and Ram Gate are the names of the gates, which are still present in the recent times.
Mercado Ravivar (domingo): The Mercado Ravivar (domingo) is otherwise commonly known as Ravivar (Sunday) Market. It is situated under the Ellis Bridge’s eastern side. It is considered to be one of the biggest regions of market in Ahmedabad. The market contains numerous shops showcasing every minute item that one can ever need. Some of the major items that are sold here are kitchen items, tolls and equipments, furniture, hardware, apparels, electronic goods, old books, textile for beds, ancient items, goats, chickens as well as many other household items.
Swaminarayan Temple: The Swaminarayan Temple is situated close to Kalupur, which is again located ni the eastern corner of the city. This temple is considered to be the very initial temples that has been constructed by the Swaminarayan sect. In the year 1822, this temple was built on the land, which was donated by the British Government. The full control and responsibility of building the temple was given to Ananandanand Swami by Swaminarayan. The temple has been made of Burmese teak. Each and every archways and brackets are covered in vibrant colors. Swaminarayan himself has put there numerous statues along with some of his own items and sculptures. There are accommodation facilities for the people who come here for pilgrimages. There is a distinct area for the women.
Jama Masjid: The high and mighy Jama Masjid is located in the west direction of the Manek Chowk. In has been constructed in the year 1423, when Ahmed Shah I, founder of Ahmedabad, was ruling over this place. The hustle and bustle of the daily city life surrounds the Jama Kasjid; however in the enclosure of the Masjid, one can experience the serene environment and worship in peace, with birds fluttering around. The open space of the courtyard has been made with marbles of white color. The yellow sandstones are the main material in building of the mosque and the arcades. There are two minarets situated adjacent to the main masjid. In the earthquake that took place in the year 1819, these two minarets were destroyed. However, the lower part of the minarets is still there. The roof of the primary prayer hall is rested upon as many as 260 columns. It has 15 domes. The masjid has been constructed in the style of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Just similar to the other domes belonging to the Jain temples; some of the domes here also have been cut in the form of lotus flowers. An ‘Om’ symbol is there on one of the windows situated inside.
Dada Harir Vav: Dada Harir Vav is located in the clam and serene locality of Asarwa Village. The village is situated in between a quiet residential locality and Ahmadabad’s coal yards. At first, on the ground level, one cannot perceive anything. However, when one climbs up to the top of the steps, one can at one catch a glimpse of a series of deep stairs and pillars going down into the deep. The sun light falls beautifully on the intricate and fine carvings while many birds and bats flutter around in the dark nooks.
Sultan Bai Harir constructed the step well around 500 years before. The features of this step well are quite similar to the other step wells situated in other parts of Gujarat. One can see the engravings on the walls of the step well, as one goes downwards. The engravings are written in Sanskrit and also in Arabic Script.
Rani no Hajiro: At present, a vibrant market of items for the ladies is there present on the road which further goes to the tomb of the Queen. Here, the royal family’s all female members were buried. In the east direction of the Manek Chowk, this place is located.
On the street leading to the Queen’s (Rani no) tomb (hajiro), where the female members of the royal family were buried, is now a colorful market for ‘ladies’ goods’, crowded with women’s clothing and other items. It lies to the east of Manek Chowk.
Badshah no Hajiro: At this location, the royal family’s male members were buried. The female members are forbidden to come to this place. When the men are to enter this place, they must wear something over their heads. On the other side of the street, there are few numbers of tombs of ministers. In the west direction of Manek Chowk, this place is located.
Manek Chowk: This part of the city is the most ancient part in Ahmedabad. The name of the place has been derived from the name of Baba Maneknath, a 15th century saint. It is an open space situated right in the heart of the city. Here, there are different kinds of markets at different point of times in a day. In the morning, the place houses vegetable markets. In the afternoon, the place contains jewellery market, which is the second largest in the whole of India. in the evening, this place houses food shops, which sell tasty local Gujarati snacks and tit bits.
Pols of Old City: The tiny localities make the old parts of Ahmedabad seem more alive and lively. Most of the people have opted for the more comfortable and modern houses but however many of them still dwell in the pols, where they have lived for the maximum part of their lives. In the heart of the locality, generally a temple is situated. The cottage considers these pols to be an important part. On their visit to these areas, one can watch the people sitting on the door steps and making books with their hand or making traditional jewelries with the help of silver chains.
Vishala: Another attraction around Ahmedabad is the beautiful hamlet of Vishalla. One can experience the calm and quiet village life, breath in the cleansed atmosphere, soothe one’s eyes by looking at the green trees and catch glimpses of men is traditional attires of turbans and dhotis. One of the unique features of this place is the puppet show, which is organized at night under the star studded sky. One can also enjoy the
Vechaar Utensils Museum: Close to the Vishalla Village Restaurant, the VECHAAR has been constructed in the year 1981. The full form of VECHAAR is Vishalla Environmental Centre for Heritage of Art, Architecture and Research. The primary idea of the museum was of Mr. Surender C Patel, an architect. This museum has been the result of an in depth study about the utensils for the time period ranging from a thousand years back till the recent era. The utensils ranged from gourd jug, modernized stainless steel items to glass utensils. Brass, copper, bronze, zinc, German silver and many more metals are used to make the metal utensils.
Calico Museum & Sarabhai Foundation: One of the finest and most excellent textile museums in the whole world is the Calico Museum of Textile. It houses a vast assortment of fabrics from almost every nook and corner of India. It reflects the handicraft of India spanning over 500 years. With time, the museum’s collection of fabrics has become even richer in terms of color schemes, patterns, weaving techniques and embroidery works. People, who want to learn and research about the amazing array of Indian ethos, can come here. In the huge industrial house of Calico, in the year 1949, Shri Gautam Sarabhai and Gira Sarabhai, his sister accommodated this museum formally. The museum was influenced by Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy.
Sanskar Kendra: Le Corbusier himself constructed the Sanskar Kendra in the year 1954. He was a famous architect. The building was built with the aim that it would be developed into a hub for cultural events in Ahmedabad. Close to the Sardar Bridge and the renowned Tagore Hall, this structure is situated. It is a very good specimen of the modern day architecture. The city museum was started in order to enhance the subject of culture and community and also to protect the architecture. In the museum, ancient remaining, statues, manuscripts and images about the history of the city are displayed in the museum. Bhanu Shah has styled and built the renowned Kite Museum. It is situated in the Sanskar Kendra itself. A vast and very intriguing collection of kites are showcased in the museum, which are designed by him only from the age of 21.
Institue of Indology: In the year 1956, the Lalbhai Dalpathbhai Institute of Indology was started. The museums main aim was to collect unique and rare arts, documents and other historical objects related to India. From the year 1984, collections from subjects such as Buddhism, Jainism and things related to its language, grammar, poems and Tantra, also Vedas, are included in the museum’s collection.
N C Mehta Gallery: The grounds of the L D Institute of Indology house the N C Mehta Gallery. People having artistic sense, can really get fascinated by the amazing and fine mini paintings, which can also be seen under the microscope. The Pahadi miniatures and the Chaurpanchashika series are included in the collection of the gallery.
Shreyas Folk Museum: Kathi, Rabari, Ahir, Mer, Charan, Bharvad, Kanbi, Koli, Bhansali, Rajput, Brahmin, Vania, Meghaval, Khoja Bohra, Meman, Miana and several other communities’ art forms are displayed here. Vibrant items of embroidery, carvings of wood, items made of metals, bead works and utensils, leather items, clothes, paintings, animal collections and other items of house use are there on the display. One of the unique feature of the museum is the whole of the skeleton of an elephant.
Hussain Doshi's Gufa: This place is also commonly known as Amdavad ni Gufa. It is located in the Kasturbhai Lalbhai campus grounds. Two of the most respected architects namely B.V Doshi and painter M F Hussain jointly came up with the idea and thus this place was created.
Kanoria Centre for Arts: Numerous workshops are conducted for various artists and kids, also studios are there here.
Hutheesing Visual Arts Ctr: In order to offer guidance and support to many painters, dancers, actors and artists hailing from tribal communities, this L & P Hutheesing Visual Arts Center has been made.
Sardar Patel Museum: In Moti Shahi Mahal, located in the Shahibaug locality, the Sardar patel Museum is situated. In the year between 1618 and 1622, this museum was built in the name of Khurram, a Mughal crown prince. He later was named as Emperor Shah Jahan. Rabindranath Tagore, a renowned Bengali poet, came to stay here when he was just seventeen. This palace served as the Raj Bhavan from the years 1960 to 1978. A cenotaph was created in the year 1980 on 7th march, in order to respect Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Near the entry point, there is a tiny statue of Sardar. In the ground floor, his memorial is located. Different items related to his life such as images, biographies, political cartoons, newspaper clippings and many things like his personal items are displayed in this museum. The room, where Rabindranath Tagore spent his time during his stay, has been dedicated on his name and many of his pictures, compositions and a big sculpture are also there.
Sundarvan: This place is a protection camp or like a small tiny zoo, in order to make the people for aware about the nature. Russel's viper, Red Sand boa and the Indian cobra can be found here. Apart from the display of the snakes, crocodiles, porcupine, a tiny aquarium and a gallery for birds are also there.
Kankaria Lake: It is a lake with many sides. The circumference of the lake measures one mile. Sultan Qutb-ud-Din built this Lake in the year 1451. Nagina Wadi is the name of a island garden, which is located in the middle part of the lake.
Kochrab Ashram, Ahmedabad: In the year 1915, Mahatma Gandhi constructed the Kochrab Ashram close to the Paldi.
The Adalaj Stepwell: In the serene backdrop of the village in Adalaj, this step well is situated. This step well offered a location for stop and rest place for the many number of travelers, the pilgrim parties and the caravans. Queen Rudabai, who was the wife of the chief of Vaghela named Veersinh, constructed this step well. This eight sided well receives sun light from the top, where an opening is there. It has been proved that the temperature of the inner part is 6 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. One of the unique characteristics of this step well is that, the step well has three distinct entry points, which cannot be seen in any other step wells in Gujarat.
Indroda Nature Park: This nature park covers a land of 400 hectares. It is located on the bed of river Sabarmati. It is situated in Gandhinagar, which the capital city of the state of Gujarat. In all over the world, this place ranks second for the biggest hatchery of eggs of dinosaur. The Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation administers over this place. This place is considered to the one and only Dinosaur Park in India. Other attractions of this place are the huge skeletons of the mammals of sea such as the blue whale, a sprawling botanical garden, amphitheatre, interpretation center and amenities for camping.
Mahudi Jain Temple: This temple is located in Mehsana district’s Mahudi. It is believed to be one of the holiest locations for the Jain pilgrims. The area of the place is 2 square kilometers. Madhumati was the name of this place at one point of time. The existence of the temple can be traced back to 2000 years back based on the proof obtained from statues and other items dug from underground and also from the documents written in Brahmi script. In 1923 A.D., the installation of the statue og Ghantakarna Mahavir Dev was done in the temple by Acharyadev Buddhi Sagarsurisvarji, after he got influenced by a dream.
Akshardham: One of the major causes of making a trip to Gandhinagar is to visit the marvelous and strikingly beautiful Akshardham Temple. Hindu Swaminarayan community, the wealthiest sect in the world, owns this temple. The temple has been constructed with pink stones. Well trimmed lawns and beautiful greenery encircles the temple. The temple has been constructed on a land having area of 23 acres. With the aid of as much as 6000 tons of sandstone of pink color, this temple has been constructed. The temple stands mighty at a height of 240 ft. In width, the temple measures 131 ft. On top of 7 carved pillars, stone beams made of single piece stones, 57 window grills, M shaped domes and ornamented zarokhas summing up to 8 numbers, the temple has been resting all along. The inner holy chamber houses a statue of Lord Swaminarayan, which had been wrapped with gold plates weighing 1.2 ton. The idol of Swami Gunatitanand is situated on the right side and the idol of Swami Gopalanand Swami is situated on the left side. The above mentioned two swamis are the devotees of Swaminarayan.
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary: Situated on the boundary between Ahmedabad and Surendranagar, the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary covers an area of over 100 square kilometers. Throughout the four months of the winter season, one can see as many as 210 plus different species of birds. The types of birds include Rosy Pelicans, White Storks, Brahminy Ducks, Herons and Flamingoes. These are all migratory birds. The endangered wild ass and the black buck can be seen here as well. It is considered to be India’s one of the largest wetland bird sanctuary. Majority of the population of the birds here is constituted by the migratory birds in the cold months and spring season. The birds come from far -away places such as Siberia. The outer margin of the lakes has shallow areas, where many birds come to feed themselves.
Lothal: Upon reaching Lothal, one gets to encounter the fine engravings and carvings and also the bright colored frescos on the walls. If one would come here, expecting grand forts and temples, then that person would be disappointed. Instead one will only catch glimpse of the once present structure’s relics. The name ‘Lothal’ stands for ‘Mound of the Dead’. The story of the Indus Valley Civilization, its rapid rise and prosperity and then its decline to death, can be experienced after coming here. This location has been one of the most important locations for carrying out excavations on a large scale.
Utelia Palace: Situated at a distance of 7 Kms from Lothal, Utelia Palace is a heritage hotel in the present era. This hotel has been constructed in place of the palace made of wood. Lodging facilities are available here for a large amount.
Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary: This bird sanctuary consists of a not so deep water body. The water body remains encircles by swamps and forests of scrubs. The area of the sanctuary is 7 Kms. The status of sanctuary is given to this place in the year 1988. This place is named Thol Bird Sanctuary. The reed beds on the not so deep water body, creates a perfect environment for the different kinds of birds to dwell here. The farmlands, which encircle the lake, take care of the need of food for some number of birds while the water body takes care of food for the remaining portion of birds. For the bird lovers this place is like a paradise. As many as 100 types of birds can be seen here such as Cranes, geese, flamingoes, pelicans, egrets, herons, spoonbills, ducks, whistling teals and many other migratory birds.
HOW TO REACH AHMEDABAD
By road: Other major cities and towns are well linked to Ahmedabad via road ways. Close to the Kalpur Railway Station and Paldi, at a place called Gitamandir, busy bus stands are located. State buses as well as private buses offer services.
By rail: The Kalupur locality has the principal railway station. This railway station is included in the national railway circuit. All the other important cities of Gujarat as well as India, are well linked to Ahmedabad via the railways.
By air: The international air terminal in Ahmedabad is known as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport. Direct flights from here to places like USA, UK, Singapore, Dubai and other international hubs are there on a frequent basis.