Ahmedabad or Amdavad is a major city in the state of Gujarat and one of western India’s most important cities. It is a startling metropolis with a rich Mughal heritage; a city where the old combines with modern infrastructure and has given rise to a major business powerhouse. From fascinating buildings excellent museums, brilliant restaurants, and thrilling night markets, Ahmedabad has a lot to offer.
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The most popular attraction in Ahmedabad, Sabarmati Ashram was the headquarters of Gandhi from 1917 to 1930 during India’s long freedom struggle. It is said that Gandhi choose this spot because it lies in between a cemetery and a jail, and any non-violent protestor was bound to end up in one or the other. Today, Gandhi’s humble abode has been preserved and there is a museum which presents a moving and informative record of his life and his teachings.
Opening hours: 8.30am-6.30pm
Jama Masjid is one of India’s most beautiful mosques, built by Ahmed Shah in 1423. The materials for building the mosque was obtained from demolished Hindu and Jain temples and there is evidence of fusion in the stunning architecture, such as the lotus like carvings of some of the 15 domes (supported by a total of 300 pillars). Right next to the mosque is a mausoleum which houses the grave of Sultan Ahmed Shah, his son and his grandson. Evenings are the best time to visit the mosque; one can feel an atmosphere of peace and unity in the enormous courtyard, take a walk and soak in the grand architecture.
The Calico Museum of Textiles
The Calico Museum of Textiles is India’s premier textile museum. The museum contains one of the world’s most complete collections of antique Indian textiles. Some of them are up to 500 years old. Exhibits include incredible examples of handiwork – such as a Kashmiri shawl that took three years to create. There are two tours every day, the main textile galleries can be visited in the morning tours while the afternoon tour is devoted to the Sarabhai Foundation’s collection of religious art (the foundation looks after the museum). The perfect place to explore and understand India’s rich textile history and prowess. Opening hours: 10.30am-12.30pm 3pm-5pm (Wednesdays Closed)
Manek Chowk is the place to head when hunger strikes at midnight. Located in the oldest quarter of Ahmedabad, the area serves as a jeweller’s market in the day and as the sun sets, the shops shut doors and outcome the delicious dishes. Legend has it that it was the jewellers who encouraged the setting up of street stalls which served food till the wee hours in the night. Whoever’s idea it was, visitors should visit the chowk to experience some of Gujarat’s best desserts, ice creams, sandwiches and so much more.
The municipal corporation of Ahmedabad runs a fantastic daily walking tour through the old city (the old part of Ahmedabad). It begins at 8am from the Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur in the morning and ends by 10.30am at Jama Masjid. One can expect a lot of walking and plenty of discoveries. There are around 600 pols-nooks-like neighbourhoods with common courtyards which are impressive and worth the long trip. An excellent way to acquaint one with Ahmedabad.
Located in the southern part of Ahmedabad, Kankaria Lake is the biggest lake in the city. It was built in the 15th century by Sultan Kutubuddin. It is is a popular attraction for kids and families; the area has many options for entertainment like a toy train, water rides, tethered balloon rides etc. If you’re more into sightseeing, there’s also a beautiful garden situated in means ‘beautiful garden’. In the last week of December, a week-long Kankaria Carnival is held; many cultural, art and social events are held during this period.
Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden
Situated on the banks of Kankaria Lake is the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden, a zoo which serves as a home to many endangered species like flamingos, Indian Wild Ass, Mouse Deer and the Asiatic Lion. The zoo is also home to albino animals like the red-necked wallaby. The zoo was established in 1951 with the aim to recreate wild scenarios. However, today the zoo, which now covers 117 acres, is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species to protect them from extinction.
Opening hours: March-October 9am-6.15pm; November to February 9am-5.30pm
Located 28kms away from Ahmedabad, Akshardham Temple is an architectural masterpiece and the most famous temple in the city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan and celebrates the commandments of Swaminarayan faith. 6,000 tonnes of pink sandstones were used to build this 10 storied temple and its 93 sculpted pillars. The main highlight is that the structure of sandstone stands erect without the use of an iron rod. It is visited by nearly two million devotees every year. The temple complex also houses an herbal garden, a lake and a waterfall.
Science City was set up the government of Gujarat in 1960 to spread awareness about the progression of science and its application in human life. It boasts an IMAX 3D Theatre, exhibition hall, amphitheatre and thrill rides with exhibits appearing in The Energy Education Park the Life Sciences Park, The Hall of Space and the Hall of Science.
Auto World Museum
This museum is a heaven for petrol heads, especially those who love vintage cars. Auto World Museum holds one of the largest and biggest automobile collections in India. From vintage cars to motorcycles, every type of automobile is on display. Various pavilions showcase more than 100 of the finest cars in this world, from Bentleys and Rolls-Royces to Daimler and Lincolns.
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