Ahmedabad (also called Amdavad, Ahmadabad or Ahemdavad) is Gujarat’s major city and a startling metropolis with a long history, many remarkable buildings, a fascinating maze of an old quarter, excellent museums, fine restaurants and fabulous night markets. Yet the old-world charm is all but swamped by 21st-century traffic, crowding, pollution and the usual extremes of wealth and poverty. Many travelers stop off briefly en route to Rajasthan or Mumbai, sneaking in a visit to Sabarmati Ashram (Gandhi’s former headquarters). You need a little stamina to get to know the city better, as it’s quite spread out and moving around can be a bit of a task.
Places to See in Ahmedabad
Gandhi Ashram Located near Vadaj: The Sabarmati Ashram 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 in 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.
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 of the temple of Bhadrakali and was built in 1411 during the Maratha rule.
Heritage Houses of poles: A living heritage, the structures here are 100-600 years old and the people living in there are original traditional families of Ahmedabad.
Science City: Newly built Science City is one latest happening place in the city.
Vaishnodevi Temple: Replica of famous Vaishnodevi temple is 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.
Juma Masjid, (Mosque): It is amongst the most popular tourist sites 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.
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 Kankaria Lake and one of the best zoos in India.
Vastrapur Lake: Newly constructed artificial lake.
Sarkhej Roja: This is a small city located 10 km south-west 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 too is rich in intricate carvings display, among other things, and musicians.
Indian Institute of Management (IIM), in Vastrapur: It is one of the best B-School of Management in India and was built by Louis Kahn. It is a wonderful architectural creation.
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, it is widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world. The museum 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. The museum is split in two thematic sections- gallery for religious textiles and historical textiles. An excellent reference library on textiles is found here.
Gujarat National Law University (GNLU): is a statutory university established by the Govt. of Gujarat through the Gujarat National Law University Act, 2003. This University is based in the city of Gandhinagar, which is the capital of Gujarat and is located 30 kilometres north of Ahmedabad.
Darpana Academy of Performing Arts: is one of the oldest performing arts academies in the city. Its amphitheatre, 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.
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 500 illustrated ones. These documents from the past cover a wide range of subjects like Vedas, Agamas, Buddhism, Tantras, Jain Darshana, System of Indian Philosophy, Jaina Philosophy, Grammar and Poetics etc. The institute has also published seven volumes of catalogs in languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, Old Gujarati, Prakrit and Rajasthani. The institute also conducts periodical workshops on manuscriptology and paleography. It can be a learning experience if you get to attend these workshop.
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.
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 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 system 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 not only provides formal education, but also provides training in horse-riding, archery, dairy development, yoga, ayurveda, etc.
Dada Hari ni Vav (step well) in Asarwa: Next to this, there is Mataji ni Vav (also a step well). Vavs are the thing that can be experienced when days get hotter, it is cooler inside a step well yet to be filled with water and waiting for rain. Whether it rains or not, it is cool in there.
S. G. Highway, or Sarkhej : Gandhinagar Highway, the recently developed hub of entertainment in Ahmedabad is worth visiting. From fun and movies at Fun Republic and Wide Angle or R-World to temples like Mini Vaishno Devi Temple and ISKON temple, you will find almost everything that you need for entertainment. A few minutes walk straight from Vaishno Devi temple, you’ll find ‘Boot camp’ – Ahmedabad’s first and only outdoor recreational facility that has activities like Paint Ball shooting, Archery, Dirt biking etc. The same highway leads you to Gandhinagar as well, where you can visit Akshardham temple and many other places of interest.
Veechar Utensil Museum: The only museum in the country showcasing over 3,000 utensils used by the various households in India. It is 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 is a magnificent museum showcasing a very different side to the culture of India.
National Insitute of Design: India’s Premier Design Institute with over 16 disciplines of Design.
Husain Doshi Gufa, called Amdavad ni Gufa: Time of visiting – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.. There is Kanoria Gallery of Art and Vikram Sarabhai Science Musuem for children in the walkable area (Gujarat University area). Best of all, there is no entry fee. This place has some fantastic open air eatables in makeshift vans especially around Navrangpura.
Auto World Vintage Car Museum: Shri. Pranlal Bhogilal is a connoisseur of vintage cars. He has converted his private collection of vintage cars into a museum named Auto World Vintage Car Museum at Dastan Farm House. The Museum has a collection of more than 100 cars. The cars are amazing and lovely. One can find all the best cars of the world – Rolls Royce, Bentley, Maybach, Jaguar, Cadillacs, Austin, Chrysler, Lincoln, Ford and many many more under one roof. Each car is in a perfect driving condition. In fact, you can even drive them by paying a fee of Rs 500 for 3.5 km drive.