Ahmedebad is an ancient city and a modern metropolis. Located on the banks of the Sabarmati River in the prosperous Indian state of Gujarat, Ahmedabad boasts a rich history with ancient buildings and bazaars as well as a growing economy in commerce, communication and construction.
Ahmedabad was the headquarters for Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian independence movement and his Sabarmati Ashram remains a strong tourist attraction in the city.
Today, Ahmedabad is considered the spiritual home of the Jain religion, but also has a large Muslim and Hindu population.
Founded in the 15th Century by Mughals, Ahmedabad was considered one of the finest Indian cities in the 17th century before suffering a decline in the 18th century and regenerating itself again in the 19th century as a huge textiles hub.
Today, it is a centre of higher education, science and technology as well as heavy and chemical industry. A growing population is fuelling a construction and housing boom.
The Sabarmati River divides Ahmedabad into its ancient and modern centres. On the eastern bank, you’ll find the busy bazaars and ancient Indo-Saracenic buildings, the result of a unique blend of Hindu craftsmanship with Persian architecture. The construction of the Ellis Bridge in 1875 led to the development of the western part of the city, where today you’ll find the modern office buildings, shopping malls and education institutions.
When to go:
The best time to visit Ahmedabad is in the winter months from November to February.
- Visit the Sabarmati Ashram, which was Gandhi’s headquarters during his campaign for Indian independence. He began the famous ‘Dandi March’ here in 1930, as a symbolic protest against the British Salt Tax. The ashram continues Gandhi’s work and houses a handicrafts centre and paper factory.
- Stop by the fabulous white marble Hathee Singh Temple. The elaborately carved temple, built in 1848, is devoted to the 15th Jain tirthankar, or great teacher.
- Climb the Bhadra Fort, which was built in 1411 by Ahmedabad’s founder, Ahmed Shah.
- Step into a baoli, or stepwell: ancient bathing and cooling wells found across Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Adalaj Stepwell is a favoured tourist attraction.
- Pay a visit to the Calico Textile Museum, billed as one of the world’s best textile exhibitions. It has a collection of five centuries’ worth of the finest fabrics spun in India.
- There are several mosques that should be on your Ahmedabad itinerary. Sidi Sayed’s Mosque, built in 1573, is said to be the city’s most beautiful building, with exquisite jalis, or latticed screenwork. The shaking minarets of the Sidi Bashir Mosque are worth a look.
- Try a Gujarati thali, which is different to the Punjabi version with several sweeter options.
- The Swaminarayan Temple is an excellent example of a haveli, a grand old residence in the old city.
- Don’t miss the Navrati Festival in September/October that worships Durga, the mother goddess. Here, you’ll see the most sparkling outfits and the best dancing in all of India.