Information on Ahmedabad :
Ahmedabad, also known as Amdavad is the second largest city of west India and the largest city in Gujarat. Ahmedabad was also the former state capital of Gujarat. Ahmed Shah I founded this city on the banks of the Sabarmati River in 1411 AD and thus named as Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is also known for its association with the Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation and is one of the Indias foremost industrial centres. It is a place where tradition and modernity co-exist in perfect harmony. Sir Thomas Roe also described Ahmedabad as a "goodly city as large as London”. In summers the temperature is around 41 degree Celsius and in winters it is around 12 degree Celsius. The best season to visit the Ahmedabad is from October to March. Gujarati, Hindi and English are the common languages which are spoken in Ahmedabad.
History of Ahmedabad :
The city of Ahmedabad was originally the Karnavati that was founded on the left banks of the Sabarmati river by Karna Solanki between 1063 and 1093 AD. It was re-established by the Ahmed Shah I in 1411 AD on the banks of the Sabarmati River. This city was considered as one of the finest cities of India in the 17th century. But in the 18th century this city went through a period of decline. In the 19th century the industrial strength raised up the city. Ahmedabads cotton industry received patronage under its Sultans. The first mill was established by Rancholal Chotalal in 1859, and today there are 80 mills in Ahmedabad. In 1915, Ahmedabad became famous due to the Dandi March started by the Mahatma Gandhi.
Tourist Attractions in Ahmedabad :
The major tourist attractions in Ahmedabad are the Gandhi Ashram, Sidi Bashir mosque, Kankaria Lake, Sidi Saiyad mosque, Hathee Singh Jain Temple, Calico Museum of Textiles and Jama Masjid etc.
Gandhi Ashram :
Gandhi Ashram, also known as the Sabarmati ashram is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, about 7 kms north of Ahmedabad. This ashram is one of the important tourist attraction and the beautiful ashram complex of Ahmedabad. This Ashram was set up by the Mahatma Gandhi in 1915 and one of the most moving memorial. This ashram was the Mahatma Gandhis headquarters during the struggle for Indias independence. His ashram still makes handicraft, handmade paper and spinning wheels. His living quarter is still preserved as a small museum and there is a library and a memorial centre.
Sidi Bashir Mosque :
Sidi Bashir Mosque is known for its two shaking minarets, one of an architectural wonder. These two tall towers are connected by a bridge which was once the entrance to the old mosque. This was destroyed by the Marathas in 1753 and has now been replaced by a modern one. When one minaret is shaken, the others also get shake in sympathy. This was done so due to the protection against earthquakes. These two shaking minarets lost half their height in the great earthquake of 1819, and in 1957 these minarets were completely destroyed. 260 columns support the roof of the mosque.
Hathee Singh Jain Temple :
Hathee Singh Jain Temple is located just outside the Delhi Gate in the north of the old city. This Jain temple was built in 1850 by a rich Jain merchant and is one of the Ahmedabads best ornate Jain temple. This temple is dedicated to Dharamanath, the 15th Jain Tirthankar. This temple is built of pure white marble and profusely decorated with rich carvings.
Sidi Saiyad Mosque :
Sidi Saiyad mosque was built by Sidi Saiyad, a general of Abysinian origin in the 1573. This mosque is located close to River and was once part of the old citadel wall. This mosque is one of the Ahmedabads most stunning building and best known for its intricate perforated stone work and has beautiful carved stone windows which depict the intricate intervening of the branches of the kalpa tree.
Calico Museum of Textiles :
Today, the Calico Museum of Textiles is widely regarded as one of the finest textiles museums in the world. This museum was started in Calico Textile Mill. The museum is housed inside one of Gujarats famous carved wooden haveli in Shahi Bagh Gardens. This museum was inaugurated by Pandit Nehru in 1948, and is now managed by the Sarabhai foundation. Calico Museum of Textiles has excellent collection of antique and modern textiles including heavy brocades, fine embroideries, sarees, carpets, turbans, rare tapestries, wall hangings, Maharajas costumes, old weaving machines and royal Mughal tents. It also houses an excellent collection of Jain manuscripts.
Kankaria Lake :
Kankaria Lake is located in the south-east of Ahmedabad. This lake is a polygonal artificial lake which has 34 sides and was constructed in 1451 by the Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak. In the centre of the lake an island summer palace is situated which is known as Nagina Wadi. This lake was frequently visited by the Mughal emperor Jahangir and his empress Noor Jahan. Now, this lake is a popular picnic spot and is surrounded by a children park, zoo, boat club, garden and natural history museum. The Ghattamendal pavilion in the centre houses an aquarium.
Jama Masjid :
Jama Masjid was built in 1423 by Ahmed Shah and described as one of the most beautiful mosque in India. This mosque is believed to have been built by using the salvaged items from the demolished Hindu and Jain temples. This mosque is built of yellow sandstone and combines the best of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. Inside the mosque the large black slab by the main arch is the base of a Jain idol, that is buried upside down for the Muslims to tread on.
Sarkhej Roza :
Built in AD 1446-1458 in Indo-Islamic architectural style, Le Corbusier, a famous 20th century architect, compared it to the Acropolis Sufi saint Shaikh Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh, who was advisor to Ahmedabads founder Sultan Ahmed Shah, is buried here.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Museum :
This National Museum is housed in the Moti Shahi Mahal in the Shahibaug area. It was constructed between 1618 and 1622 for the Shah Jahan. The building was later used as a British cantonment to house the senior officials. In 1878, the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore stayed here when he was only seventeen years old and this building served as an inspiration behind his story The Hungry Stones. After the Indian independence, from 1960 to 1978, this palace became the Raj Bhavan, official residence of the Governor of Gujarat In the year 1978, the building was transformed into a national memorial dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Now the museum has been further enhanced with the latest technological interventions, for a more interactive experience.
Maganbhais Haveli - Khadia :
This was the home of famous mill owner Ambalal Sarabhais grandfather, Maganbhai Karamchand. This wood-carved 19th century haveli used to have Belgian chandeliers and German glass artifacts. Maganbhai had no son so he adopted his daughters son Sarabhai.
Bhadra Fort – Lal Darwaza :
This was the royal courtroom of Sultan Ahmed Shah, which he built soon after he moved base from Patan in north Gujarat, to found Ahmedabad in the 15th century. It is believed to be the citys oldest monument.
Triple Gateway :
Immediately to the west of the entrance to Ahmed Shahs mosque is the triumphal archway known as Tin Darwaza or Triple Gateway, which once led to the outer court of the royal citadel. At a later period it was surrounded by the tamarind and palm trees, but is now crowded by shops, considerably diminishing its effect. Although it is on a comparatively small scale, being only 12 m high, Percy Brown compares it to a Roman triple archways built by Constantine in the 4th century. He particularly draws attention to the fineness of the pointed arches, the best in India.
Swaminarayan Temple :
Swaminarayan Temple is situated in the old Ahmedabad city. This glorious, multicoloured, woodcarved temple looks like a grand haveli dating from 1850, enclosed in a large courtyard.
Rani Rupmatis Mosque :
Rani Rupmatis Mosque is situated to the south of the Delhi Gate. This mosque was built between 1430 and 1440 and was named after the Hindu wife of the Sultan. This mosque incorporates Hindu and Islamic design. Rani Rupmati was the princess of Dhar and the Hindu wife of Sultan. It has a high central arch and two minarets which were damaged in the great earthquake of 1819. The roof carries three domes, each above an entrance. The carvings in the gallery and the mihrabs are particularly attractive. The dome is elevated to allow light in around its base. The Rani Rupmatis tomb lies to the north-east. The tombs are decorated with Hindu motifs.
Dada Hari Vav :
Dada Hari Vav was built in 1499 by a woman of Sultan Begaras harem. This wav has steps to lower platforms, terminating at a small, octagonal well. The depths are cool, even on a hottest day. Neglected and often borne dry, it is a fascinating place. The best time to visit and photograph the well is between 10 to 11 AM (earlier in the summers and later in the winters), at other times the sun does not penetrate to the various levels.
Adalaj Stepwell :
Adalaj is situated about 17 kms. north of Ahmedabad. The baoli or step-well at Adalaj Vav is one of the finest step well in India. Queen Rudabai built this well in 1499 to provide the traveller with a cool and pleasant refuge from the summer heat. A long flight of steps descends to the water. It has three entrances leading to a huge platform that rests on 16 pillars, with corners marked by shrines. Ornately carved pillars and cross beams create open spaces and four storey that are quite striking. The octagonal well is five storey deep. The baoli is decorated with exquisite stone carvings, subjects range from eroticism to buttermilk.
Vishala is situated about 5 kms. from Ahmedabad. It is purposefully built showpiece of a collection of huts along clay paths which capture the spirit of a traditional Gujarati village. It began as an excellent vegetarian restaurant in 1978 but has grown since to include a museum, live performances of music, dance and puppet shows as well as craftsman at work and an excellent shop. Pots, handloom linens, hand crafted shoes, clothes, brassware or embroidery from Vishala. Here you can sit cross-legged at low tables, eat on green leaves and drink from clay tumblers. The portions are generous and there is a large variety of traditional dishes, breads, chutneys, ending with an Indian sweet and nutty ice-cream.