The most popular as well as one of the busiest cities of Gujarat, Ahmedabad still boasts of being the ‘Land of Gandhi’. The Sabarmati Ashram still manages to allure the visitors and have a glimpse of how the old-world in India used to be like. Besides the Sabarmati Ashram, there is much more in Ahmedabad, pronounced locally as ‘Amdavad’ which makes the city a treasure to Gujarat and also to the whole nation.
There are mosques, temples, lakes, museums, tombs, stepwells, galleries, parks, markets and a lot more to offer to its tourists. There are many buildings displaying architectural excellence with Indo-Saracen style of architecture which is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles. Besides being an amazing holiday destination, Ahmedabad is also the second largest city of western India, a city of great importance for business people and also a home to numerous educational institutions. Some of the renowned institutes of higher learning are The National Institute of Design and The Indian Institute of Management. In 2012, The Times of India chose Ahmedabad as the best city to live in India.
Major tourist attractions
The Land of Gandhi is loaded with interesting and amazing spots for tourists. The major tourist delights of Ahmedabad include:
- Mosques – Sultan Ahmed Shah built Jama Masjid in 1423 using yellow sandstone in a blend of Hindu, Jain and Islamic styles of Architecture. 260 pillars and 15 domes are a part of this mosque. It is said that the Sultan and his family are still buried in this mosque.
Sultan Mehmud Beghara built Rani Rupmati mosque and named it after his Hindu Wife. Carved galleries, glorious domes and striking minarets are all a part of Rani Rupmati Mosque which is built in Hindu and Muslim architectures.
Other mosques in Ahmedabad that should be visited are Rani Sipri Mosque, Ahmed Shah Mosque, Sidi Saiyed Masjid and Raj Babri Mosque.
- Sabarmati Ashram – This is a spot in Ahmedabad that is surely not to be missed. This is the home of Mahatma Gandhi where he lived for 12 years of his life with his wife Kasturba Gandhi. Located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, this ashram is also the starting point of the famous Dandi March. The ashram also houses myriad rooms with 250 photo enlargements, a library with over 35000 books, a guest house and a cottage.
- Lakes – Thor Lake also popularly known as Thol Lake is a birdwatcher’s delight. Located at a distance of about 30km from the main city, this natural lake and bird sanctuary is a home to a lot of migratory birds. If you wish to spend some peaceful time in nature’s lap, then Thor Lake is a destination not to be missed.
Other popular waterbodies in Ahmedabad are Sabarmati Riverfront, Kankaria Lake and Vastrapur Lake.
- Temples – One of the most famous temples of Ahmedabad is the Vaishnodevi Temple which is an imitation of the original Vaishnodevi shrine of Jammu. Situated on Gandhinagar highway, this temple also receives equal adoration from devotees of Devi Maa.
Other popular temples in Ahmedabad are Akshardham Temple, ISKCON Temple, Kashtabhanjan Hanuman Mandir, Shri Mahalaxmi Temple, and Hathee Singh Mandir.
- Kite Museum – For those who are fond of different types of kites and kiteflying, this museum is an absolute delight. This was established only in 1985 and not many people are aware of the presence of this museum. This museum houses a rare collection of kites some of them made by Mr. Bhanu Shah. Almost all the different varieties of kites made in the world are showcased here.
Other places of interest for tourists visiting Ahmedabad are
Parimal Garden, Dada Hari Ni Vav, Calico Museum of Textiles, Balvatika, Sarkhej Roza, Adalaj Stepwell, Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, Shanku’s Waterpark, Maniar’s wonderland Snowpark, Gujarat Science City, Conflictorium, Sanskar Kendra City Museum, Kamla Nehru Zoo, Shaking Minarets etc.
Festivals and fairs
Although this enthusiastic city of Gujarat celebrates all the Indian festivals with a lot of fanfare and zeal but the festivals of Makar Sankranti and Navratri hold a special place in the hearts of Ahmedabadi’s.
Ahmedabad hosts International Kite Festival every year from 13th to 15th January to celebrate Makar Sankranti. At this time, thousands of colorful kites can be seen sailing in the sky. At night, people send a plethora of paper lamps in the sky which lightens up the entire city even in the darkness of night.
Navratri is also celebrated here with equal excitement. Garbha and Dandiya dance events are organized in all parts of the city and youngsters take part in them with a lot of frenzy.
Best time to visit
The best time to make a trip to Ahmedabad is between the months of November to February when it is the time of winters. The days remain pleasant and ideal for enjoying outings at tourist spots of the city. The nights however, can get a bit cold so carrying woolens is advisable.
From the month of April to June is the time of summers when the temperatures rise and the city gets quite hot. It may not be a very good idea to visit Ahmedabad with respect to the weather but the good part is that this is the time when you can grab some amazing deals on hotels.
The month of July brings monsoon which makes the city appear even more beautiful. This can also be a good time to travel to Ahmedabad.
How to reach
By Air – Located at a distance of about 14km from the main city, The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is well connected to all the major cities of country. Colombo, New York, Singapore, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, London etc. are the international cities that this airport is connected to.
By Rail – Known as Kalupur Station, Ahmedabad has a railway station of its own which is well connected to all the towns and cities of India by way of many superfast, express and mail trains.
By Road – It is held that the best network of roads in India belongs to Gujarat. Buses from Gujarat State Transport as well as Private Transport Service Providers ply to and from all the cities in Gujarat as well as other major cities around Gujarat such as Mumbai. If the distance is not too long, it is very convenient to travel to Ahmedabad by road since buses are frequent and efficient. One can also drive down the fine roads to reach this great city of Gujarat.