Ahmadabad Travel Guide
Places To Visit
places to visit
Ahmedabad has several floridly carved historic monuments including the Stepwell at Adalaj and the Rani Mosques (dedicated to Rani Sipri and Rani Rupmati). It is also home to many fine museums and art galleries. Modern office buildings and malls dot the more recently developed areas.
Important places to see include:
* Gujarat National Law University Located in Gandhinagar, GNLU is a national law university established by the Gujarat National Law University Act of 2003. It aims to advance and disseminate learning and knowledge of law and legal processes, and to develop a sense of responsibility among students and scholars to serve society and contribute to social development.
* Gandhi Aashram Located near Vadaj, the Sabarmati Aashram was once house of Mahatma Gandhi. The ashram was founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1915, and today without doubt, it is the biggest tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. It lies on the tranquil stretch of the Sabarmati river and was referred to as the Satyagraha Ashram during the lifetime of the Mahatma. It was from here, that the Mahatma began his famous 'Dandi March' in 1930 to protest against the Salt Tax imposed by the British. One can see the three wise monkeys and many more of Gandhiji's teachings at the ashram premises. The ashram today continues the work started by Mahatma and houses a handicrafts centre, a handmade paper factory and a spinning wheel factory. Besides, there are several other attractions for the tourist.
* Sidi Sayed Mosque, Sidi Sayed Mosque is unique for its exquisite screens, which are praised for their amazing Jhali screen, framed, in the ten semi-circular windows. The screen carved out of one rock is just exceptional. A visit to this superb and outstanding example of delicate carving is an absolute must.
* Bhadra Fort, To add special charm to the varied sights of the city there is the Bhadra Fort, which once housed royal palaces and well-laid gardens. It boasts the temple of Bhadrakali and was built in 1411 during the Maratha rule.
* Akshardham Temple, Rich and Wonderful architecture. Located in Gandhinagar, about 20 km from Ahmedabad.
* Science City, Newly built Science City is one latest happening place in the city
* Vaishnodevi Temple, Replica of famous Vaishnodevi temple located at Sola Gandhinagar Highway.
* Amar dham, This religious site is known for its architectural grandeur.
* International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple, This hindu temple depicts Krishna, and his lover, Radha, who is regarded as the personification of love.
* Kankaria Lake. A circular lake built in 1451 by Sultan Qutub-ud-Din. In the centre of the lake is an island garden with a summer palace known as Nagina Wadi. It has a very beautiful Musical Fountain show (although the music isn't too good, the lights and fountain are worth a trip). The lake is a popular recreation centre surrounded by parks, 'Bal Vatika' - an aquarium, a boat club, a natural history museum and a zoo.
* Kamla Nehru Zoo This is near to Kankaria Lake and one of the best zoos in India.
* Vastrapur Lake. Newly constructed artificial lake.
* Law Garden, Considered the main center of activity in Ahmedabad, one can purchase handcrafts and traditional Gujarati outfits, amongst other things.
* Sarkhej Roja, This is a small city located 10km southwest of Ahmedabad. It is widely known for its architectural complexes.
* Hathisingh Jain Temple, Shahibaug Road. An impressive white structure, the Jain temple built of white marble and elaborately carved is dedicated to Dharmanath - the 15th Jina or Jain Apostle. Similar to all Jain temples, this temple to is rich in intricate carvings displaying, among other things, musicians.
* Calico Textile Museum. One of the finest textile museums in the world in one of Gujarat's famous carved wooden havelis. The museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century. There is also an excellent reference library on textiles. Located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in Shahibagh the Calico Museum of Textiles, widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was constructed in 1949. It has the finest collection of not just textiles and clothes but also furniture, temple artifacts and crafts in the country. It has no less than five centuries of the finest fabrics spun, woven, printed and painted in different parts of India. It has a collection of marble, sandstone and bronze icons and busts split in two thematic sections- gallery for religious textiles and historical textiles. An excellent reference library on textiles is found here.
* Juma Masjid, (mosque). It is amongst the most popular tourist sights in the city. Built of yellow sandstone this mosque stands on 260 pillars which support 15 domes at varying elevations. The mosque was built by Ahmad Shah in 1423. It is easily accessible as it stands in the centre of the old city. This imposing structure reflects the Muslim architecture of that period.
* Jhulta Minara, Quite an unusual structure, Jhulta Minara or swaying minarets are a part of the mosque of Siddi Bashir and can be moved back and forth by applying a little force at the topmost arch. One of the minarets was partly demolished by an Englishman in his endeavors to unravel the mystery of the swaying minarets. The mosque was built by master craftsmen and the crucial mechanism that leads to the vibration is still a mystery. The other interesting fact here is that these minars stand the test of the rumbling trains that pass not very far away from them.
* Indian Institute of Management (IIM), in Vastrapur, the best School of Management in India was built by Louis Kahn and is a wonderful architectural creation.
* Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, is one of the oldest performing arts academies in the city. Its amphitheater Natarani has a fabulous performance venue overlooking the Sabarmati river and is one of the few places to bring internationally acclaimed performing artists to the city.
* Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, It is one of the best arts displaying museum in city. It has a wide collection of Indian miniature paintings, stone sculptures, terracotta, paintings of Tagore, art of Nepal and Tibet, bronzes, textiles, wood work, cloth paintings, metal sculptures, coins. A must see museum in Ahmedabad city.
* L. D. Institute of Indology, Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology was established in Ahmedabad by Muni Shri Punyavijayji and Shri Kasturbhai Lalbhai. The museum houses priceless collection of books, manuscripts and other reference material from ancient India.The museum is a treasure trove of manuscripts relating to Jainism. In all there are about 45,000 printed books with 75,000 manuscripts including out of which 500 are illustrated ones. These documents from the past cover a wide range of subjects like Vedas, Agamas, Buddhism, Tantras, Jain Darshana, System of Indian Philoshy, Jaina Philoshpy, Grammer and Poetics etc.The institute has also published seven volumes of catalogues in languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, Old Gujrati, Prakrit and Rajasthani. The institute also conducts periodical workshops on manuscriptology and paleography. It can be learning experience if you get to attend these workshop.
* Nirma University, It is a private university developed by the legendary businessman Mr. Karsanbhai Patel, founder of one of the biggest Indian FMCG house Nirma. The campus of the university, which is spread in about 100 acres is worth a visit. You would also like to see the internal infrastructure and the overall administration of the university, that puts it in line with any international university. It is located at S. G. Highway about 20 km distance from the heart of the city - C. G. Road. 
* Swaminarayan Gurukul, It is a residential and day boarding school run by the Swaminarayan faith of Hinduism. The infrastructure and the education systems are worth watching. On the first look of the main school building, you may feel that you are visiting some ancient palace of a powerful king. The school teaches not only formal education but also provides training in horse-riding, archery, dairy development, Yoga, Ayurveda, etc. After your visit, you may feel like putting you own child in this school.
* S. G. Highway, or Sarkhej - Gandhinagar Highway, the recently developed hub of entertainment in Ahmedabad, is worth putting in couple of evening for. From fun and movies at Fun Republic and Wide Angle or R-World to temples like Mini Vaishnow Devi Temple and ISKON temple, you will find almost everything that you need for entertainment. The same highway leads you to Gandhinagar as well, where you can visit Akshardham temple and many other places of interest.
* Dada Hari ni Vav (step well)
* Veechar Utensil Museum, the only museum in the country showcasing over 3000 utensils used by the various households in India. It's a personal collection of Mr. Surendra Patel who has curated and designed the museum. The museum is a part of Vishalla, a restaurant serving ethnic Gujarati Food. It's a magnificent museum showcasing a very different culture of India.
* National Insitute of Design, India's Premier Design Institute with over 16 disciplines of Design.
Get There and Around
get in and around
The airport is just 15 km north-east from the city-centre. The airport is expanding with permissions for many international air lines being given and development of new terminals. http://www.ahmedabadairport.com/ The domestic terminals were recently upgraded and provide decent amenities, however, arriving at the current international airport can be a nightmare. Often, most international flights arrive late at night and within the same time frame creating chaos. However, the new international terminal that will be constructed will make all that a thing of past.
There are non-stop international flights to London and flights to New York, Newark, Frankurt, Chicago, and Atlanta via Mumbai served by Air India. Non-stop connections are available for Muscat, Kuwait (Kuwait Airways), Dubai (Emirates), Doha Qatar (Qatar Airlines), Sharjah, and Singapore (Singapore Airlines). Emirates flies 5 times per week between Dubai and Ahmedabad. Singapore Airlines has flights between Singapore and Ahmedabad twice a week.
Ahmedabad is well-connected domestically via daily flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Chennai, Bangalore, Goa, Kolkata, Jaipur, Pune, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Nagpur with connections to several other Indian cities and towns. Recently, flights to Kandla and Surat have also been launched. Most domestic airlines have a flight in and out of Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad is connected with Mumbai(500 km), Vadodara Jaipur, Jodhpur and Delhi with trains several times a day. Daily connections (or multiple weekly connections) are also available to several other major cities including Bikaner, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Udaipur, Indore, Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Nagpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Chennai, Nagarcoil, Trivendram, Banglaru, and Koimbttur. Direct trains are also available for Jammu, Patna, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Kolhapur, Goa, Mangalore, Cochin, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
You could drive to Ahmedabad from Mumbai on the new highway that's been built, but it will take you around 8 hours to do the 550 odd Kilometers. It's an interesting drive and will take you through some very scenic areas, and you will pass Vapi, Valsad, Surat, Vadodara, Anand, and Nadiad on your way. Driving to Delhi is a very tiring journey but could be interesting as you can stop at Udaipur, Ajmer and Jaipur on your way.
The best way to get around is with the yellow and green 3 wheeled taxicabs known as the auto-rickshaws or simply Rickshaws. Hollering 'Auto' or 'Rickshaw' at a passing Rickshaw should be enough to catch the drivers attention. In most cases, the drivers would be able to understand Hindi and maybe even a few words of English. They are normally quite helpful and are not known to cheat tourists. There are some taxis but you will need to book them in advance or at the airport or railway station. You can also rent a "Qualis", a slang generic term for a SUV-taxi named after the common Toyota Qualis(but now are available as many other bands, such as the Chevy and Mahindra). Normally, they are offered with a driver, and they will stay with you all day, week, or even month, if you'd like. This chauffeur can normally understand English, and knows the city very well. Most famous ricksaws are of Tushar Riksha Company founded by famous Ricksaw driver Tushar Dave, who owns more than 100 rikshas in Ahmedabad. Tushar rickshaws are famous for their weird look and good service.
 By bus
For using the local buses, you will need to know some Gujarati, as the routes and numbers are written only in that language. Besides, buses are the most common transport facility for the common people in the city and hence they are overcrowded at times
Ahmedabad (also spelled Ahmadabad) is the sixth largest city (pop. 6.5 millions) of India. It is the commercial hub of the state of Gujarat, though it is not the capital, which is Gandhinagar, 30 km to the north. Although it is not very well known as a 'tourist' place, it is certainly worth a visit. Actually, the fact that there are fewer tourists, will often get you a nicer welcome here.
Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate. The city is named after its founder. Under British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernised and expanded. Although incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during the British rule in India, Ahmedabad remained the most important city in the Gujarat region. The city established itself as the home of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname "the Manchester of the East." The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century. It was the centre of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote workers' rights, civil rights and political independence.
With the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad gained prominence as commercial capital of the state.Once characterised by dusty roads and bungalows, the city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. A rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries, Ahmedabad remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat and much of western India
Archaeological evidence suggests that the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashapalli or Ashaval. At that time, Karandev I, the Solanki ruler of Anhilwara (modern Patan), waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval, and established a city called Karnavati located at the present time area of Maninagar close to the river Sabarmati. Solanki rule lasted until the 13th century, when Gujarat came under the control of the Vaghela dynasty of Dholka and Karnavati was conquered by the Sultanate of Delhi. In 1411, the rule of the Muzaffarid dynasty was established in Gujarat. According to legend, Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the River Sabarmati, saw a hare chasing a dog. Impressed by this act of bravery, the Sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to locate the capital at this forest area close by to Karnavati right on the river bank and christened it Ahmedabad.. The incident is popularly described in a one liner saying "Jab kutte pe sassa aaya, tab Badshah ne shaher basaya" (When the hare chased the Dog, (seeing that act of bravery) then the Emperor built the City)
In 1487, Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, fortified the city with an outer wall 10 km (6 miles) in circumference and consisting of twelve gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements. Ahmedabad was ruled by the Muzaffarid dynasty until 1573 when Gujarat was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar. During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the Empire's thriving centres of trade, mainly in textiles, which were exported to as far as Europe. The Mughal ruler Shahjahan spent the prime of his life in the city, sponsoring the construction of the Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibaug. During a drought, the Deccan Famine of 1630-32 affected the city, as did famines in 1650 and 1686. Ahmedabad remained the provincial headquarter of the Mughals until 1758, when Mughals surrendered the city to the Marathas. During Maratha governance, the city lost some of its past glory, and was at the center of contention between two Maratha clans—The Peshwa of Poona and the Gaekwad of Baroda. The British East India Company took over the city in 1818 as a part of the conquest of India. A military cantonment was established in 1824 and a municipal government in 1858. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established by the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway (BB&CI), making Ahmedabad an important junction in the traffic and trade between northern and southern India. Large numbers of people migrated from rural areas to work in textile mills, establishing a robust industry.
The Sabarmati Ashram, home of Mahatma Gandhi
The Indian independence movement developed strong roots in the city when, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi established two ashrams — the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Satyagraha Ashram (now Sabarmati Ashram) on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917 — that would become centers of intense nationalist activities. During the mass protests against the Rowlatt Act in 1919, textile workers burned down 51 government buildings across the city in protest at a British attempt to extend wartime regulations after the First World War. In the 1920s, textile workers and teachers went on strike, demanding civil rights and better pay and working conditions. In 1930, Gandhi initiated the Salt Satyagraha from Ahmedabad by embarking from his ashram on the famous Dandi Salt March. The city administration and economic institutions were rendered functionless by the large masses of people who took to the streets in peaceful protests in the early 1930s, and again in 1942 during the Quit India movement. Following independence and the partition of India in 1947, the city was scarred by intense communal violence that broke out between Hindus and Muslims.
Ahmedabad became the capital of the new state of Gujarat after the bifurcation of the State of Bombay on 1 May 1960. During that period, a large number of educational and research institutions were founded in the city, making it a major center of higher education, science and technology. Ahmedabad's economic base was diversified with the establishment of heavy and chemical industries in its vicinity around the same period. But the growth in the next two decades was punctuated by political events in and around the city. In 1974, Ahmedabad occupied the centre stage in national politics with the launch of the Nav Nirman agitation — a protest against a 20% hike in the hostel food fees at the L.D. College of Engineering that snowballed into a mass agitation against general corruption to remove Chimanbhai Patel, then-chief minister of Gujarat. In the 1980s, a reservation policy was introduced in the country, which led to anti-reservation protests in 1981 and 1985. The protests witnessed violent clashes between people belonging to various castes. On 26 January 2001 a devastating earthquake struck the city, centred near Bhuj, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale. As many as 50 multistory buildings collapsed, killing 752 people and devastating the city's infrastructure. The following year, communal riots between Hindus and Muslims spread to Ahmedabad, paralysing the city for more than a month. The crisis resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,044 people across the state. The displacement of thousands of Muslims led to the erection of refugee camps around the city. On 26 July 2008 a series of seventeen bomb blasts rocked the city, killing and injuring several people.
In recent years, the effects of liberalization of the Indian economy has energized the city's economy towards tertiary sector activities like commerce, communication, construction activities. The city has witnessed the establishment of scientific and service industries, the expansion of the information technology sector, and significant improvements in transportation and communications. Ahmedabad's population is growing, which has resulted in a construction and housing boom.