Guide to Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad is the largest city of Gujarat and the sixth largest city in India, with a population of around six and a half million. The commercial centre of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is around 30 kms away from the capital, Gandhinagar. Ahmedabad is located on the bank of the Sabarmati River. In its earlier days, Ahmedabad was also known as Manchester of India for its numerous textile industries. Today the city is better known for its chemical, petroleumand IT industries as well as for its international trade. Ahmedabad is home to a great many finance wizards and is also the modern hub of the Jain religion.

The diversity of its culture and the range of festivals celebrated here have made Ahmedabad famous on not just the national, but also the international map. The Gujarati people are not just known for being shrewd businessmen but also for their wonderful sense of hospitality.

QUICK FACTS


Area: 8,707sq.km
Population: 48, 01,812
Temperature: Summer: Min: 25°c, Max: 45°c
Winter: Min: 15°c, Max: 35°c
Attitude: 53m
STD Code: 079
State: Gujarat
Best Season: November and February


HISTORY:

The city of Karnavati was established to the east of the Sabarmati river by the Solanki ruler, King Karandev 1 and remained a city of great importance till the early 15th century. In 1411, Sultan Ahmed Shah captured Karnavati and renamed it as Ahmedabad.

The city had a smaller fort known as the Bhadra Fort, the walls of which had 12 gates. The city continued to expand on both sides of the river.

In 1753, the Gaekwads took over the city from the Mughals and in 1818 it again passed hands and went to the British. The British established the Municipal Committee and the railway link in Ahmedabad.
The British did not pay a major role culturally in the city. They restricted themselves to the cantonment area without trying to integrate the city into their way of life the way they had done in other cities of India.
Ahmedabad saw the birth of the non violent movement for India's independence. Sabarmati Ashram was the centre of all such activities.


IMPORTANT INSTITUTIONS
Indian Institute of Management (IIM)
National Institute of Design (NID)
Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology
IHM
Mudra Institure of Communication Management (MICA)
Petroleum Institute
EDI
Nirma University
Swaminarayan Gurukul
Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT)
National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)


CLIMATE »
The climate of Ahmedabad is by and large hot and humid. The summers which last from mid-March to mid-June are really hot and the temperatures touch up to 46 degree centigrade. The arrival of Monsoon by Mid-June gives a welcome relief from the scorching heat. Winter, which lasts from November to February, is the best season to visit the city.

REACHING AHMEDABAD »
Ahmedabad is well-connected with the rest of the country by air, rail and road. By Air
The Ahmedabad airport is located around 10-15 kms from the city center. Almost all domestic airlines have flights moving in and out of Ahmedabad connecting it to every major city in the country. Ahmedabad also has an International airport with connections to various cities in worldwide.

By Train »
Ahmedabad is connected by rail with every city in the country. Trains leave out of Ahmedabad to several major cities almost daily and times several times a week.

By Car »
You could drive to Ahmedabad from Mumbai on national highway NH-8, but journey by road is an arduous journey and will take you a minimum of eight hours. The road passes through Vapi, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, and Nadiad.

LANGUAGE SPOKEN »
The local and most widely spoken language is Gujarati. Hindi is also understood by almost everyone. English as a language is common primarily among educated people.

FESTIVALS CELEBRATED IN AHMEDABAD »
Makar Sankranti, also known as Uttarayan or the festival of kites is celebrated on the 14th of January. On this particular day, everyone flies colorful kites throughout the day. The festivities continue into the night with the flying of lamps or tukkal.

RakshaBandhan, which comes around August, is a festival celebrating the strong bond of love between a brother and a sister.

Holi, the festival of colors is a fun-filled event when people from all walks of life, come together to apply color on each other.

Navratri , the festival of nine nights is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Shakti. Each night starts with the aarti and is followed by the traditional folk dance called Garba which continues well into the wee hours of the morning.

Eid-Ul-Fitr or Ramzaan is celebrated on the first day of Shaw'waal (tenth month of the Islamic calendar) at the completion of Ramadan. Eid-al-Fitr is a Thanksgiving Day Muslims show their real joy for the health, strength and the opportunities of life, which Allah has given to them.


SHOPPING IN AHMEDABAD »

Ahmedabad is famous for its textile industries. If you are on a shopping spree in Ahmedabad, you just cannot afford to miss out on the traditional hand embroidered and tie 'n die clothes. If your shopping destination is the roadside vendor, be prepared for a huge haggling experience. Coz you can be very sure that , and if you are buying from the roadside shops be prepared to haggle. It is going to a test of your patience coz the more you are able to bargain the better deal you are likely to get. Some of city's best market areas in the old city include Teen Darwaja, Dhalgarwad, Ratan Pole and Manek Chowk. The newer and more posh marketing areas are at CG Road and SG Highway. The street side shops near Law Garden are a great hit with tourists.

ACCOMMODATION »
Less expensive, budget hotels are primarily available on the Eastern side of the Sabarmati in the old city. The new and more expensive are found more in the affluent western parts of the city. Budget Hotels
Ginger Hotel off Drive-in road
Mid-range Hotels
Lemon Tree Hotel, CG Road, Navrangpura
Hotel Royal Highness, Lal Darwaja
Hotel Cama Park Plaza, Khanpur
Hotel Comfort Inn Sunset, near airport
Hotel Fortune, Usmanpura
Hotel Comfort Inn President, CG Road
Hotel Quality Inn, Ashram Road
Hotel Westend , Navrangpura
Hotel Country Inn, off Drive-In Road
High-end Hotels
Gateway Hotel , formerly Taj Residency, Near Airport
Hotel Le Meridien, Navrangpura
Hotel Pride, Judge's Bungalows, SG Highway
Hotel Fortune Landmark, Ashram Road
Hotel Inder Residency, CG Road
Hotel Courtyard by Marriott, Satellite Road
Royal Orchid Central
Aloft , SG Highway
The Grand Bhagwati, SG Highway

EMERGENCY NUMBERS »
Emergency Help: 108
Police: 100
Fire: 101
Ambulance: 102 /108
Airport Inquiry:141
Railways I.V.R.S.: 139
Railways General Enquiry: 131
Telephone Directory Inquiry: 197
Telephone Local Assistance: 199

SIGHTSEEING IN AHMEDABAD »

Jama Masjid: This mosque was built in yellow sandstone by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1423. It combines the best of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture. Known as the best in India, the mosque stands on 260 pillars supporting 15 domes at varying elevations. Its rectangular marble paved courtyard measures 75 square metres by 66 metres and in its middle there is pool. It is in the centre of the old city. It took 13 years to complete it. Near the eastern entrance stands the tomb of Sultan Ahmed Shah built by his son, Mohammed Shah II. The tomb houses the graves of Ahmedabad Shah I, his son, Mohammed Shah, and his grandson, Qutub-Ud-Din Ahmed Shah - II . Near the Masjid is another landmark of the city – Teen Darwaja, that is richly carved.

Ahmed Shah Tomb: This tomb with its perforated stone windows stands outside the eastern gate of Jama Masjid. The son and grandson of Ahmed, who did not survive him, also have their cenotaphs in this tomb. Across on a raised platform is the tomb of his queens.

Bhadra Fort: This fort is built in 1411 by Ahmed Shah, the founder of the city. It was later named as Bhadra and now there is Bhadra Kali temple. There were royal palaces and a garden inside the fort which now houses government offices.

Sidi Saiyad Mosque: This mosque is noted for its twin windows of pierced stone, worked in style of a tree with palm leaves and curving tendrils. It is a superb example of delicate carving that transforms stone into filigree. It was constructed by Sidi Saiyad, a slave of Ahmed Shah. Wooden models of these windows of Indo-Sarcenic architecture are kept in the New York and Kensington museums.

Sheth Hathesing Jain Temple: A rich Jain merchant built this pure white marble temple outside the Delhi Gate in 1850 at cost of Rs 10 lakhs. It is profusely decorated with rich carvings and is dedicated to Dharamnath, the 15th Jina or Jain apostle. This is the best ornate Jain temple in Ahmedabad. The two-storied temple has a paved courtyard surrounded by an imposing row of cloisters containing 52 shrines, each housing a tirthankar.

Roza of Shah Alam:
This is another monument built in the memory of a well-known Muslim saint, Shah Alam. The Roza is believed to have been built by the brother of the Moghul empress, Noor Jahan, the consort of Jahangir.

Mosque with shaking minarets: Sidi Bashir Mosque mosque situated outside the Sarangpur gate is one of the popular monuments in the city. This is also known as the mosque with shaking minarets or jhulta minars. Each minaret has three storeys, girdled by carved stone balconies. When one minaret is shaken the vibrations are felt in the other one.

Ahmed Shah Mosque: This mosque is one of the earliest and is probably built on the site of a Hindu temple in 1414. It is at the south-west of the Bhadra Fort.

Rani Sipri Mosque: This small mosque, Masjid-e-Nagira, built in 1514 by a wife of Sultan Mehmood Begada after he executed their son for some minor misdemeanor, is known as the jewel of a mosque because of its graceful design.

Rani Rupmati Mosque: Named after the Hindu wife of Sultan Mehmed Beghara, this mosque was built between 1430 and 1440 in Astodia. It has three domes supported by pillars with the central dome slightly elevated to allow natural light into the mosque. The tomb of Rani Rupmati is next to it. They are linked by a flat roof.

Masjid-e-Nagina: This mosque is the gem of Ahmedabad. It also is a stylistic interlude between Achut Kuki's and Rani Sipri's mosque. Nearby are the superbly proportioned 1465 AD mosque of Muhafiz Khan, splendidly carved with a 3-arch façade and minarets, the Saiyad Usman mausoleum and the 16th century mosque of Hasan Muhammad Chisti with some of the finest traceries in India.

Kankaria Lake: This lake is another tourist attraction of Ahmedabad. It was constructed in 1451 by Sultan Qutub-Ud-Din. The lake has an island garden in its centre with a summer palace known as Nagina Wadi. Lush green parks, an aquarium, a boat club, a natural historical museum, and a zoo surrounding the park make the lake a place to be visited. The 'Bal Vatika' or the children's park makes it a great picnic spot. The area around the lake is recently renovated.

Calico Museum: This is one of the finest textile museums in the world. Housed in one of the famous wooden carved havelis of Ahmedabad, the textile museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century. An excellent reference library on textiles is another feather in the cap of the museum. Located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in Shahibagh, the Calico Museum of Textiles, was constructed in 1949. The museum's collection includes not only 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.

Sabarmati Ashram: The Gandhi Ashram situated alongside the Sabarmati River, was the nerve center for the Indian Freedom movement. The beautiful ashram complex houses a museum. During the lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi it was known as Satyagraha Ashram. After Gandhiji's return from South Africa, he decided to settle in Ahmedabad. It was the laboratory where the Mahatma had tested his moral and spiritual hypotheses. The Ashram at Sabarmati displays the Mahatma's letters and other possessions and collection of photographs of India's freedom struggle. It was from here the Mahatma and his followers led various Satyagrahas, the most notable being the historic Dandi March.

Adalaj Vav: About 19 km north of Ahmedabad, this step-well located in Adalaj is an architectural wonder built by Queen Rudabai and is certainly one of the finest monuments of Gujarat. It is a seven-storied structure in the form of a well with chambers one behind the other. The 'Vavs' or step-wells were used as meeting and resting places during summer. There is an inscription in Sanskrit, which gives the history, culture, and architecture of the area. Sarkhej Roza: This is a graceful architectural creation using pierced stone trellis and there are no arches at all. Sarkhej Roza has the tombs of Saint Ahmed Khattu Baksh and that of Emperor Mehmud Shah Beguda and his queen. Sarkhej (about 10 km. southwest of Ahmedabad) is noted for its stylish buildings, including the Mausoleum of Azam and Mu'assam.
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