Ahmedabad

Known as the Manchester of the East because of textile mills located in the city, Ahmedabad is the biggest city in the state of Gujarat and the seventh largest metropolitan city in India. It has become a popular tourist destination with many places of interest in and around the city.

Ahmedabad is the most thriving city in west India after Mumbai. Ahmedabad, also known as Karnavati or Amdavad, is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, about 30 km south of Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat. The city is an excellent balance between the old and the new. There are many world class educational institutions, industries and a refreshing take on art and culture in the city.

The exquisite architecture based on Hindu and Islamic styles, is a major attraction in Ahmedabad. In recent years, the city has become a hotspot for medical tourism with medical facilities available at low cost.

Gandhi Ashram is probably the most important social and cultural place in Ahmedabad. A place of pilgrimage for Gandhians and pacifists, the Ashram was set up by Gandhiji in 1917. It was the headquarters of Indian freedom struggle.

The Bhadra Fort is probably the most popular attraction in Ahmedabad. The royal fort was built in 1411 by Sultan Ahmad Shah. The tricolour is hoisted during Republic Day and Independence Day atop the fort.

There are many religious places of worship in Ahmedabad like the Swaminarayan Temple in Dariapur along with many mosques like the Ahmed Shah Mosque and the Jama Masjid.

There are some popular gardens in Ahmedabad which are worth a visit like the Law Garden, Bal Vatika and Victoria Garden. The Kamla Nehru Zoological Park is a good place for a day trip.

There are a few lakes in Ahmedabad like the man-made Kankaria Lake located in Maninagar, the biggest lake in Ahmedabad. The lake is lit up beautifully during the annual week-long Kankaria Carnival.

Ahmedabad is a paradise for vegetarian food lovers. Most of the restaurants serve vegetarian fare as Gujaratis are mostly vegetarians. Gujarati ‘thalis’ cooked in authentic Gujarati style offer a mouthwatering variety of rice, rotli, vegetable curry called ‘shaak’. There is an assortment of Indian bread in the form of rotli, thepla, puri, bhakri and puran-pohli. Gujarati is also a street-food paradise. Snacks like dhokla, khaman, fafda and undiyu are worth trying.

History

The city of Ahmedabad has been under the rule of many dynasties from the Sultans to Mughals to Marathas and then to the British. Ahmedabad was once the capital city of the state of Gujarat and it served as the home of many freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

There is an interesting story connected to the naming of the city. Once, Sultan Ahmed Shah was standing on the bank of the Sabarmati River and he saw a hare chasing a dog which left him pondering over the incident and he approached a spiritual leader to help him understand the strange event that he had witnessed. The spiritual leader told him that it was the uniqueness of the land that evoked rare qualities in the beings that live here. This impressed him a lot and he decided to set his capital in the region and named it Ahmedabad.

The region was taken over by Mughal Emperor, Akbar in 1573 from Muzaffar II. The city was won by Maratha generals Damaji Gaekwad and Raghunath Rao.

The British ruled the city from 1818 and they made a military cantonment here in 1824. In 1864, Ahmedabad was connected to Bombay (now Mumbai) by rail which made Ahmedabad the leading hub for trade and manufacturing.

After Independence, Ahmedabad was declared a provincial town of Bombay and it became the capital city of Gujarat on May 1st, 1960.

Shopping

Ahmedabad is famous for the wide variety of woven fabrics. Markets like Bapu Nagar, Ellis Bridge, Kadia, Kalupur and Lal Darwaza are popular haunts of locals as well as visitors. The fabrics are unique as they are painted using traditional dyes. Zari work, which involves use of gold and silver threads, is also a popular buy.

The widest variety of silk embroideries, tanchoi work and patola work is found in Ahmedabad. The unique embroidery work of Ahmedabad makes them popular gift items.

Where to stay

Accommodation options are aplenty ranging from budget, mid-range and luxury hotels. The budget hotels are clustered near the railway station in Kalupur which have good facilities and are close to the bus stand as well.

Mid-range hotels can be found all over the city. Shahibagh and Gujarat College Road have a good number of mid-range hotels.

Luxury hotels are located near the airport and Nehru Bridge area.

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Where to eat

Gujarat is a paradise for vegetarians. Restaurants mostly serve authentic Gujarati cuisine which is predominantly vegetarian. However, Ahmedabad also serves good non-vegetarian fare. Good non-vegetarian and authentic Mughal cuisine can be found in Navrangpura.

There are also fast food joints and a few restaurants that serve Continental, Punjabi and South Indian cuisine near Ellis Bridge and Navrangpura.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Ahmedabad is during the months of October to March when the weather is pleasant.

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