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Gujarat - Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar - A Tourist's Guide
Famous for woven textile, the city at the western corridor of India, Ahmedabad, is located on the well stretched out River banks of Sabarmati. Gandhi, Nehru, Subhash, Sardar and Ellis are the famous viaducts which act as landmarks of Ahmedabad and are linking various sectors of Ahmedabad with each other. The history of the old capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, dates back to ages.
The fortified Ahmedabad could be accessed through 12 different gateways. 139 crests were there on the fortification. 6000 holes were used previously to target invaders and enemies. But, due to the increasing population it was mandatory to make the city bigger. Inevitably Ahmedabad had to be expanded to accommodate the increasing population growth. Hence, the historical fortification of Ahmedabad was demolished to provide accommodation to the ever increasing city dwellers.
Some old homes and edifices of Jain, Hindu and Muslim inhabitants are still present on the prolonged historical premise of Ahmedabad and are recalling the adroit touches of the Indo-seracenic architects.
The city of Ahmedabad is popularly known to the entire world due to the inspiring presence of the Indian patriot Mahatma Gandhi. The city is rightly known as the Manchester of the East. The satellite center of ISRO and Satellite TV connecting center are two prominent destinations for the tourists who flock to the city.
The newly built city of Ahmedabad was offered its tremendous look by the dexterous and acrobat Indian and French architects namely Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Doshi and Correa. However, famous as the heritage city, a particular portion of Ahmedabad is spread across the well-spread-out territory on the eastern banks of the Sabarmati River, the lifeline of the city. Tourists are unable to ignore the impressive appeal and attractiveness of this part of Ahmedabad.
If you visit the city during the month of September/October, then you would be able to witness the class-apart grandeur of the city during the festivity of Navaratri. The splendor of the celebration that takes place in entire Gujarat during the worship of Amba Devi can only match up to the sumptuousness of the Durga Puja in West Bengal. The decoration of the city during the festive time is truly laudable. Watch the talent of Gujarat at the stage of Garba dance. It would definitely be an overwhelming experience for one and all. The International Kites Festival is different but an impressive allurement of Ahmedabad. The 3 days long kites competition of colorful kites on the Police Stadium would blow your mind for sure. It’s an eventful carnival of Ahmedabad. The acceptance of this finicky kites’ competition is enormous. Competitors from all over the world fly in to showcase their aptitude and flair. City dwellers of Ahmedabad and all the tourists who are present on the ground during the competition would enjoy every bit of it.
Many have been moved with the opulence and extravagance of the city in the past. Many were astonished watching the spectacle of the city. Mughal royal emperors and British leaders were not exceptions as well. Mughal emperor, Jahangir, had named the city as the “City of Dust” though.
It’s not a bad idea to start the tour of Ahmedabad from Bhadra fort, built by Ahmad Shah in 1411. The spectacular fort was erected on the premise of a Hindu palace. The maiden Muslim monument of Ahmedabad exhibits an excellent and noteworthy Muslim architectural form on the red sand stone. Lush green lawns and stately palaces previously were used to bejewel the fort. The palace, positioned at the end of its territory, is now a post office which was once built by Azam Khan as his palace 200 years ago. The marvelous fort with a huge historical value was named after the divine temple of Bhadra Kali, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali. This sanctified temple was constructed during the Maratha dynasty. Each and every edifice, placed on the fort premise, still encourages the city dwellers to come and visit the historical glory days time and again. A number of Government Offices are there in the scattered rooms of the fort. Many of these commemorative are inaccessible now but interested tourists can climb up the roof top through a spiral staircase to watch the panoramic sight around. You can take a walk to the civil court, located at the southern tip of the striking Bhadra fort.
The appeal of amazing public garden and holy Alif Shah Mosque is unbeatable and supreme. Both of these historical memorials are standing right at the opposite side of the imposing Bhadra fort.
The awe-inspiring Jumma mosque with three grand doorways, erected by Ahmad Shah 2nd in 1424, is another roadside attraction of Ahmedabad. Stylish and modish sculptures along with countless numbers of historical equipments had been brought all the way from the various dotted Hindu and Jain temples which were already in ruins. It is opined that the black stoned throne with bow shaped arch of the mosque was placed previously in a consecrated Jain temple. 15 domes of the remarkable Jumma mosque are well established on 260 adjoining pillars. The huge and majestic mosque is getting illuminated by the light which is coming through the excellent arrangements of stones. This is a notable evidence of the ancient Jafri architecture. The structure of the mosque is counted as one of the most eye-catching and skillful fine arts of the world. The water body, spread across 76*65 meters, is positioned amidst the mosque premise and is the central attraction of the voguish Jumma mosque. Previously the entire terrain of the Jumma mosque could be observed climbing up the two 26 meters tall Shaking towers. Various scattered monuments of the Jumma mosque had been destroyed during the earthquakes of 1819 and 1957. The shrine, placed at the eastern side of the pretty and unique Jumma mosque, of the king Ahmad Shah was artistically planned and designed by his son Muhammad Shah in 1451. The Jali architectures on the pillars which are there at both the sides of the chief shrine are impeccable. Colorful marbles increase the splendor of the entire shrine. The shrines of the emperor’s son and son-in-law are there around the prime shrine as well. The access to the core room of the shrine is restricted to the male visitors only.
The Ranitho Hazira, situated at the opposite side of the Jumma mosque in the middle of the congested territory, houses innumerable shrines of queens. The Hindu architectural flair and panache, exhibited on these shrines make these really special enticements for the hordes of holiday makers.
It would be a fabulous and enthralling experience to walk through the tin darwaza in Khas bazaar on the Mahatma Gandhi road. This innovation structure was the stunning creation of the emperor Sultan Ahmad Shah. The architectural style of it is worth watching. The stately procession which used to pass through the 37 feet tall grand gateway, Tin Darwaza, was closely observed and enjoyed by the emperor sitting on the imposing Tin Darwaza. The huge structure of the gateway was adorned with Arabian inscriptions and is an ancient example of beguiling architectural elegance. The Royal Square, the captivating ground, at the opposite side of the Tin Darwaza, was an ambling paradise for the emperor. His wife used to accompany him.
Erected during 1572, the Sidi Sayed Mosque, located adjacent to the Lal Darwaja, on the banks of the Sabarmati River, is pulling huge crowds for its 10 entrancing windows, each of which is a prime substantiation of the singular and primeval Jali or Jafri architecture. 2 semi circular models, portrayed on the yellow stones of the western wall of the mosque, look like original flowers. Even though it exemplifies Muslim architectural stateliness but the main architects who had given this impressive monument its shape were Jains and Hindus. Engraved Hindu mythological tales are quite prominent on the walls of this riveting mosque. The architectural flair of the mosque can be best viewed from the contiguous orchard. Women are not allowed to access the picky mosque.
Tourists can travel all the way to the museum to watch the Jali works of miniature New York and Kensington, made up of marble on the wooden model. Besides this well-known museum, numerous scattered museums are drawing the attention of the tourists. The anthology of the primeval and contemporary attires is kept with utmost zeal and passion in the Calico museum, located at a distance of 3 km towards the northern side of the Delhi gate. A lot of machines which make textiles are put on display in the rich museum as well. A library showcases old and significant collections of books which are related to textiles. To watch the miniature paintings of Rajasthan and Gujarat you need to drive your car to the N C Mehta Museum of Miniature, located adjacent to the Gujarat University. Buses frequently travel to this affluent museum from Lal Darwaja.
The Atira research center, which is a bright name in the textile research field, is located in Ahmedabad and was built in 1949. Another important allurement is the Shreyas Folk Museum which is rich in its diversified collections. Countless numbers of art forms of various corners of the world are exhibited in this museum. The children’s branch, tribal research center and Philatelic museum, located on the same premise of the Shreyas Folk museum, are treats to the travelers. 2500 kinds of utensils and various types of levers were collected from different parts of Rajasthan and are kept on the shelves of the Bechar Utensil Museum. To watch the impressive art forms, made by adroit and skillful artists, are displayed in the village, Hut Complex Vishala, about 5 km away from the city. Tourists can enjoy both the collections and the village ambiance at the same time. Savoring the taste of the Gujarati foods in the village would be a tantalizing experience.
The Kite museum and Hussain Doshi Gufa are other coveted spots of Ahmedabad.
The Institute of Indology, located on the University premise, exhibits innumerable inscriptions on Indian history, Sanskrit books and books on literature. Pictorial representations of facts and information in these books assist readers to comprehend and to get an insight very swiftly. Get an insight into the Jain psychology as well. It is closed on Sundays.
About 1 km towards the northern side of the Delhi gate, the righteous Hathee Singh Jain temple, was dedicated to the 15th Jain Tirthankar Dharamnath. As much as 10 lakhs were spent by the Jain merchant Hathee Singh Kesari Singh to build the famous temple. The hallowed temple was constructed by placing white marbles in a particular order. 53 neighboring domes and idols of 24 Jain Tirthankars are there. The Jain temple depicts an excellent architectural style and flamboyance. A commemorative of Hathee Singh had been built in front of the Jain temple as well.
The Swaminarayan temple, erected on the octagonal dome in 1878, is located on a slender road at the northern side of Ranitho Hazira. Deities, such as, Vishnu and Lakshmi are enlightening the entire temple. Jain and Maratha architectural splendors make this Haveli shaped temple a sought after attraction for the swarms of spiritual crowds. Nau Gaz Pir, situated at the southern side of the Swaminarayan temple, comprises of 9 adjoining tombs.
The Shaking Minaret, situated at the southern tip of the Ahmedabad railway station, is also popularly known as the Sidi Bashir Mosque. This classic tower structure was built in 1460 by Malik Shah Ranga Shah.
Two adjoining 21 meters tall circular minarets, made up of sandstones, are three storied monuments. A spiral stairway takes the tourists to its top most position. Both of these minarets are only connected to each other at the 1st floor. This is truly an astonishing structure. The vibration produced in one minaret can be felt standing on the other one. The linking balcony on the first floor is quiet though. British architects had tried on many occasions to understand the apparatus and processes used for constructing the memorial but had failed. Inhabitants believe that a hidden heavenly power was responsible in making this unusual and praiseworthy historical structure. The mesmerizing structure was destroyed in 1753 during the period of the Maratha dynasty. Later on, it had, however, been reconstructed and revamped. The minaret is inaccessible now.
Many more mosques are scattered in and around the city of Ahmedabad. Muslim devotees and tourists would enjoy their stay at Ahmedabad for sure. The shaking tower in the Raj Bibi Mosque, erected in 1454, would entertain all irrespective of their religions and creeds. The 25 meter tall pillar with 78 slopes, nevertheless, is closed now.
The ruins of the almost destructed mosque are there at the northern side of the railway station. The battle between the strong Mughal and Maratha soldiers had taken a toll on this ancient holy mosque.
Simple but marvelous structure and incomplete minaret of Ahmad Shah mosque, built in 1414 on the Hindu temple was dedicated to the royal family members. The commingling of Hindu and Jain architectures, visible on the walls of the mosque, recollects the memories of the bygone era. Sanskrit quotations are artistically portrayed on the walls as well. Ganje Sayad marks the entrance of this historical memorial.
Gita Mandir or temple is the newest allurement of the city. The pictorial depiction of Gita is wonderful. This was a magnificent and creative creation of the Birla family. It is due to this, the temple is also well known as the Birla temple in the proximity.
Hajj-e-Qutub, located at a distance of 4 km towards the south-eastern side of the city, is now famously known as Kankaria Lake. This enamoring Lake was excavated long back during 1446-1451 by Sultan Qutub- Uddin.
The Naginawahi Island is nestled in 60 meters long Lake which has 34 edges. This proves the immensity of the Lake. It was a noteworthy summer resort of the ruler. Interested tourists can watch the aquarium in the middle of the breathtaking grove on the Lake banks. A zoo, Bal Vatika, bird sanctuary and boat club had been built on the banks of the Lake to pull holiday makers and nature lovers. It’s a nice spot for picnic and outing lovers as well. Buses regularly are running between the Lal Darwaja and the Kankaria Lake.
Bal Bhatika, on the banks of Kankaria Lake, has been shaped on the hilly slope. This was one of the impressive creations of David Ruben in 1956. He had also founded the zoo. The beguiling orchard, Bal Bhatika, was a well planned and well designed creation of the children psychologists. All the equipments, placed on the premise of the orchard, have scrupulously built to develop and grow the little brains and minds of the kids. Toy train, Rickshaw pulled by goats and deer, cultural program in the auditorium, library, innumerable toys and hall of mirror are few of the absorbing attractions of Bal Bhatika. Different kinds of mirrors, dotted around the orchard, entice the swarms of holiday makers as well.
The appeal of the Shahi Bagh palace is immense. Beautiful sculptures and artistic art forms visible on the walls of the Shahi Bagh palace entertain and greet countless numbers of tourists. The awe-inspiring palace was built way back in 1622 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. If you turn over the pages of the history, then you would get to know that Shah Jahan, Mumtaz (wife of the emperor Shah Jahan), Satyendra Nath and Rabindra Nath had enjoyed their stay at the Shahi Bagh palace. The Ballav Bhai Patel library in the Shah Bagh palace showcases a very good collection of books.
Manik Burj and Victoria garden, located at the right hand side and left hand side of the Gandhi road respectively are major attractions of Ahmedabad. Take a walk to both of these spots from the Shahi Bagh palace. If you are passionate about music, then you should also visit Darpana which was built by the Indian freedom fighter Mridula Sarabhai.
The Sabarmati ashram is located at a distance of 7 km away from the city of Ahmedabad in Ellis Bridge on the banks of Sabarmati River. Local dwellers often call this as Satyagraha or Harijan Ashram. It is the historical spot where the renowned Dandi procession had started from. 80 patriots had participated in the procession and walked for 386 km. They walked together for 24 long days to the Dandi village on the Kambe valley. After this, Mahatma Gandhi was put behind the bars by the British army in Karadi village. To recall the bravery and valor of Mahatma Gandhi a commemorative was built there. For 30 years, the Sabarmati Ashram, was one of the prime spots where from the battle against the British troop was controlled. The adjoining Gandhi museum was built on 10th May, 1963. The lifestyles of Mahatma Gandhi have been portrayed colorfully and all those portraits are kept in the museum. A film show of 5 minutes would show you the lifestyle of Mahatma Gandhi. Besides books and various other items used by Mahatma Gandhi, innumerable letters are kept carefully in the museum. A letter written by Mahatma Gandhi to Hitler and a letter written by Rabindra Nath Tagore to Mahatma Gandhi are the chief attractions. Engrossed and interested tourists can even buy books. Stay here for some time to watch the huge workshops of several small industries. A light and sound show in evening demonstrates the story of the freedom fight of Mahatma Gandhi.
Tourists can stay overnight at the Toran Sabarmati Ashram. A number of buses regularly ply to the Sabarmati Ashram from the city of Ahmedabad.
Maqbara , lies 3 km off Ahmedabad, was erected by the famous Muslim saint Shah Alam Rauza. The grand doorway of the tomb was made up of white marbles where as its floor looks marvelous as it is decorated with black stones. The brother of Noorjahan, Asaf Khan, had wrapped the domes of the tomb in expensive gold and valuable metals at the beginning of the 17th century. Saleh Badakshi later on had constructed 3 big and 18 small domes as well. The praiseworthy and admirable architectures of the splendid monument make it a class-apart tourists’ enticement.
The new name of the water body, excavated at the western side of the Maqbara, is Chandola Lake. The credit of excavation goes to the wife of the Mughal emperor Taj Khan Nari Ali.
The Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel museum was a result of the artistic thinking and creation of the French architect Le Corbusier. To lay the foundation of the rich museum 64 neighboring pillars were constructed. Folk art forms and cultural evidences of Gujarat along with innumerable commemorative of Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel are exhibited here. The museum is open to all during 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Rani Roopmati Mosque was built during 1430-1440 and displays a wonderful commingling of both Hindu and Muslim architectures. All 3 of its domes had been constructed beguilingly on 12 pillars. Bright light marks its way through the tall dome and beams the shrine of Roopmati in basement. Watching the Jafri architecture on the walls of the mosque is truly a treat to the eyes of all the tourists. The mosque has lost its primeval splendor. The earthquake of 1819 had taken a toll on the mosque.
The Masjid-E-Niagara or the pearl of the mosques, located at the south- eastern side of the Rani Roopmati Mosque in Manek Chowk, would impress and fascinate all of you for its architectural modishness. The impressive Muslim monument was a class-apart creation of Rani Sipri. The patent Hindu and Muslim architectural touch are prominent on the walls of the monument.
Another enthralling allurement for the Muslims is Dostur Khan Mosque. The carvings on the stones of the mosque are appealing.
Hindu and Muslim architectural flairs are also displayed on the walls of Haibat Khan Mosque.
Darya Khan Mosque is located towards the north- western side of the Hathee Singh tomb, built in 1453. This used to showcase the tallest dome of Gujarat. Brick, limestone, sand and water were used while constructing the tomb. Iron and Cement were not at all used. This is a prime evidence of ancient historical architecture. Plenty of tourists used to flock to the tomb from Chota Shahi Bagh for enjoying the fresh air.
The primeval and singular Jain temple, built long back in 1638, located at the eastern side of the railway track, had later on converted into a Mosque by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Drive your car away from the hustle and bustle of Ahmedabad towards the capital of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. You would hit Adalaj Vav or the well, about 19 km away towards the north of the city of Ahmedabad. The well was excavated for a definite purpose of getting cool water. A combination of Hindu-Muslim-Buddha architectures had been used on the black stones. A spiral stairway could take you to 30 meters downside into the water of the well. There is also an underground rest room. The Vav can be best viewed during 10-11 a.m. due to the presence of direct sunlight.
The excellent and stylish structure of the Dada Hari Vav, built in 1501 by Bai Harir Sultani, about 6 km towards the north- west side of Ahmedabad in Asarbat, astounds one and all. Dada Hari Rauza and Mosque are there at the back end of the Vav, depth of which is same as a 7 storied building. The construction process of the Vav is excellent. The tree shaped carvings on the stones in a room is laudable and commendable. Two of its crests were sadly destroyed by the earthquake of 1819. The lack of maintenance has proved to be really detrimental for the structure of the Vav.
The nearby Mata Bhavani ni Vav showcases a stylish Hindu architectural elegance. Buses from Ahmedabad are regularly traveling to the Mata Bhavani Vav.
For the nature lovers a prime attraction is Thol Wildlife Sanctuary, about 40 km away from the city of Ahmedabad. Take a permission to enter into the forest from Deputy Conservator of Forest. It is actually a wetland providing for a bird sanctuary.
The name of the city, Lothal, had been derived from the word Lotha, the meaning of which is “death” in Gujarati. Plenty of historical evidences had been found on the land of Lothal, about 76 km away from Bagodra, in between the Rivers Sabarmati and Bhogavo.
16 graves were excavated under the ground during 1955-1962. 3 out of these graves were examined after discovery till date. 10” * 5” * 2.5” dockyard of bricks had also been excavated in 1924. The spectacle of the ancient dockyard can only be compared with that of Mahenjo Daro. The excavation has revealed that 30 ships of 60 tons each could be anchored in this dockyard.
Innumerable cultural evidences of Aryan civilization, Fortified fort city, huge water body, spread out market complex, drainage systems, cooking utensils, colorful attires, weights, material used in daily lives, more than 65 coins and totem prove that there was a business route to Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Bahrain. A 10 feet tall structure (tall710*166 feet) was excavated and is marvelous to stare at. It is believed that all these historical evidences used to belong to the Sindhu civilization (During 2500- 1700 B.C.). The civilization of Lothal used to exist even 500 years after the destruction of the civilization of Harappa. The ancient civilization of Lothal was later on shattered by a destructive flood. To recollect the memories of the ancient era, you can watch the ruins of several sculptures and primeval archeological evidences in the museum. The archeological museum of Lothal is open during 10:00 a.m.-5 p.m. except on holidays.
Dholka, about 35 km away towards the south- western side of Ahmadabad, was the residential place of the Muslim Governor of Delhi. Hilal Khan Quazi’s Mosque (1333), Tanka Masjid (1361) and Alif Khan’s Mosque (1453) are the coveted tourists’ spots of Dholka. Don’t forget to savor the taste of guava of Dholka.
How to reach: You can avail a package tour of TCGL to Lothal from Ahmedabad. The Lothal- Bhurki railway station is well connected to Ahmadabad and Bhavnagar. Buses regularly ply to Lothal from Ahmadabad and Bhavnagar. If you want, then you can stroll around Lothal to watch innumerable historical attractions. For a comfortable tour of Lothal you can hire a car from the railway station as well.
Where to stay: Hotel Palace Utelia in tribal village and Toran of TCGL.
Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary :
Nal Sarovar bird sanctuary which is entertaining the bird watchers since 1969 is pulling innumerable birds all the way from their nesting grounds. Birds, such as, Pelican, Flamingo, White succulent, heron, different species of ducks and egrets along with other 250 different species of birds land in this lake having traveled a long distance away from their home land.
Nal Sarovar, covering a rambling 182 square km of land, is a heavenly paradise for all the bird lovers who love to take pleasure in the sight of the colorful and vibrant flying birds. It’s a free strolling terrain of many known and unknown mammals as well. It’s an ideal spot for all the nature lovers who move around from one corner of the world to the other to stare astonishingly on the absorbing natural setting.
To watch the natural grandeur of Nal Sarovar sanctuary, however, you have to grant permission from the Conservator of Forest, Sector 16 (Gandhinagar). Watch the flying birds and the riveting cosmos riding on a boat on the water surface of the Lake.
How to reach: About 80 km away towards the south- western side of Ahmadabad, Nal Sarovar, is accessible from Ahmadabad, Viramgam, Sanand, Vinchhia and Aniali by bus. Lothal is located at a distance of 6 km from Nal Sarovar.
Where to stay: Taran Tourist Home and Forest Rest House.
How to reach: Ahmedabad is connected by a strong railway network to Kolkata, Bilaspur, Vadodara, Surat, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ranakpur, Ajmer, Nagpur, Bikaner, Delhi, Ernakulum and many more Indian destinations. Buses regularly ply to Abu Pahar, Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Delhi and different spots of Rajasthan from Ahmedabad as well. The best is to take an Indigo flight. Check our links below to book your flight at best rates.
Where to stay: Jali Hotel Ashiana, Hotel Butter Fly, Hotel Sweet Dream, Hotel Cadilac, Hotel Relax, Hotel Venus, Hotel Mehul, Hotel Balwas, Hotel Prime, Hotel Capri and Hotel Anukul. Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.