Top Eight Places to Visit in Ahmedabad
India is a land of hidden treasures, be it in the form of gigantic temples eluding the paltry human's eyes, hidden for centuries under the ground, or be it in the form of the calm yet daunting snow-covered mountains that make us question our existence.
There is no challenge in accepting the fact that from the tip to the last meter of land in India, the country keeps throwing pleasant curveballs towards anyone curious enough to venture into the vast subcontinent.
Curiosity has always gotten the best of us. Interest led us to travel to the ends of this vast landmass, allowing our ancestors to interact in different tongues, share trade secrets, explore the myriad of cultures, and bring back home something new.
Today, every demarcated state varies concerning language, culture, geography, climate, and food. One such place that takes extreme pride in its culture and heritage is Gujarat, a state that is flanked by Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and the Pakistani province of Sindh. And home to the largest city in the country: Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad, once Gujarat’s capital city, is a bustling, vibrant city. It has a myriad of colors, and an abundance of food, paan, tea, and business people. It has old pols in contrast to high rise buildings. The entire city hustles and works hard all day, and ends its day with a massive bowl of dish gola or a refreshing glass of sugarcane juice.
Ahmedabad has seen leagues after leagues of dynasties come and go, like the Delhi sultanate, Mughals, the Marathas, and even the British Empire. Today, Ahmedabad is one of India’s most developed cities, and more so, one of the most important financial hubs in North-Western India.
Yet, despite its modern cityscape, Ahmedabad wears its badge of being India’s first UNESCO world heritage city with utmost honor and pride, preserving what gives it that honor, yet keeping up with the times.
Gets your attention, doesn't it? In this piece, we shall try to explore the city of Ahmedabad, not just a tourist, but as a resident, exploring the best and exploring the underrated. In the end, it shall, of course, be a matter of personal choice for any of you wishing to visit the colorful city. We shall look into the staples of every tourist place in Ahmedabad lists, the not-so-staples of every tourist place in Ahmedabad, and then some more. But before we jump into it, let us answer age-old "What's the best time to visit" and “how to reach”question. Well, optimally, Sankranti (The festival of spring) is what most backpackers would suggest because it is when the city is the most vibrant, with kites flying from almost house, pleasant weather accentuating the beauty of the city. However, it is never a "bad time" to undertake an Ahmedabad tourism mission and enjoy the vacation while staying in Ahmedabad resorts.
And what better way to do this than with Club Mahindra?
Club Mahindra, renowned for their lavish lifestyle offerings, have outdone themselves with the Kensville Golf Club Resort. The panache with which the resort boasts of a 900-acre swathe of a lush verdure is unmatchable. Also acting host to an almost encyclopedic range events, from the humble “stay” stay, to weddings, celebrations, and events, Club Mahindra’s Kensville Golf Club Resort lives on in the minds of its esteemed guests like the vivid image of looking at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Situated an hour’s ride to the outskirts of Ahmedabad, this resort makes for one of the most luxurious stays of your life.
Power packed with amenities like a spacious banquet hall, a relaxing spa, a gym equipped with state-of-the-art training material, and a lavish swimming pool, Club Mahindra lets you unwind on your own terms.
Apart from these amenities, Club Mahindra offers a golf course tour, and horse riding as outdoor activities in the green pastures. Club Mahindra also organizes outings to Nal Sarovar, Lothal, and the Blackbuck National Park. And if your timing is just right, you might be in luck, as Club Mahindra hosts Uttarayan and Navratri like none other. The Club Mahindra Kensville Golf Club Resort is truly, in a worldly sense, out of this world!
Once out of the resort, Ahmedabad starts to pull you in with its eccentric charm. There is no shortage of spots worth visiting and soaking in the culture of Gujarat. Here, we try to list out the Top 10 tourist places to visit in Ahmedabad, the famous, and the not-so-famous alike. Here we go!
The Sabarmati ashram has to be in every “thing to do in Ahmedabad” list ever. Not Just because the Mahatma resided here, but because the place is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Sabarmati Ashram, although right at the heart of the city, feels like a different planet altogether. It is located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, and it is quaint, clean, and simply relaxing.
The Ashram is also host to a museum. The museum is well kept, with newspaper clippings about every update about every single step taken towards freedom is framed and maintained. It is like a mini-history tour, culminating in the news clipping about Mahatma Gandhi's unfortunate demise. The library can be found on the right-hand side across the mown lawns. The library houses a wide range of books and souvenirs for sale, including vintage postcards with important events printed on them, books you would find online, and handcrafted items. What is even more interesting is that the ashram is constructed at the exact spot Sage Dadhichi sacrificed his spine towards the construction of Lord Indra’s great weapon, the Vajra, making the Sabarmati ashram the first pick of this top-ten tourist places in Ahmedabad list.
Although not compulsorily part of Ahmedabad, the Dandi Kutir is a must-visit. Roughly 25kms outside Ahmedabad, part of the mega Mahatma Mandir complex, the Dandi Kutir is a modern addition to the plethora of options one can opt to visit as a tourist in Ahmedabad. It is a modern marvel, with the outer dome supposedly designed to look like a mound of salt, the Dandi Kutir silently explainns everything the Dandi March stood for. Essentially an interactive museum revolving around the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the museum employs the use of technology like 3-D holography and mapping, augmented and virtual reality, 360-degree projections, lasers, and a digital LED floors in a gripping 90-minute show. The Dandi Kutir is touted to the world's ONLY museum to be built around the life of one man. A must-visit for history buffs and anyone keen enough to learn through modern technology alike.
Built by some of the most beautiful Mughal architects of the era, the Kankaria lake is a man-made water body and a staple of every tourist place in the Ahmedabad list made. Sultan Qutbuddin had the lake built with the intention of establishing it as a tremendous common bath for kings. One of the busiest tourist attractions in Ahmedabad today, Kankaria lake, consists of an island that encompasses a beautiful summer palace that goes by the name Ghattamandal. And bang in the middle of a lake is an enchanting little garden called Nagina Wadi, which roughly translated means Jewel Farm or Jewel Garden. The garden now has a variety of fun activities, including a serene boat ride into the lake.
A beautiful fort inside the walled city, Bhadra was constructed under the orders of Sultan Ahmad Shah I in the year 1411 and is touted as the city's cultural center. During the British raj, the fort has even served as a jail. Today, the fort houses government offices and the hosts the flag hoisting ceremonies on both Independence Day and the republic day of India. With its massive gates, wide-open spaces, and impressive mosques, Bhadra fort does not fail to impress and finds a permanent place in our top-ten tourist places in Ahmedabad list.
Built circa 1498 A.D, the Adalaj stepwell, also known as Rudabai Stepwell, is a stepwell that was constructed by Queen Rudadevi in memory of her husband Rana Veer Singh, a Vaghela chief. This stepwell has served as a resting place for hundreds of years, catering to the needs of weary travelers and pilgrims along their trade route. The walls have intricate carvings and murals The Indo-Islamic architecture is so brilliantly planned and seamlessly blended that at no point during the day does the sunlight touch the steps or the landing except for a brief time period during noon, hence keeping the temperature an estimated 6 degrees lower than the outside. Other attractions at the Adalaj stepwell include the Ami Khumbor (Pot that holds the water of eternal life) and the Kalpvrukhsa (Tree of life). This, with the story of the devout Rudabai culminating in a rather tragic ending of her suicide in this very well, gives this place a fascinating backstory.
Akshardham (The house of God) or Swaminarayan Akshardham is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the world. Sprawling over a 23-acre swathe of land, the Akshardham temple is a modern architectural marvel, and a sight to behold. The vast stretch not only houses the 7-foot-tall gilded Lord Swaminarayan statue, but the complex also serves as a center for arts, education, and devotion. Primarily composed of pink sandstone, it is said that the construction of the complex took a little over 13 years to complete. The temples itself can be divided into two divisions: The Vibuti Mandapam and the Prasadi Mandapam. Apart from the temple and the vast, grand complex, anyone visiting the place should add the Sat-chit-Anand Water Show to his/her to-do list as a tourist in Ahmedabad. The Sat-Chit-Anand water show employs the use of lasers, water animations, pyrotechnics, screen projections, and music in an enthralling 45 minutes of storytelling on the life of Nachiketa, an influential Hindu character with an unbreakable resolve of attaining Moksha.
Gujarat, known for its textiles, would be bereft without a place to showcase its prowess and expertise. Although, it is interesting to note that the Calico Museum of Textiles did not start as a tourist place in Ahmedabad and had rather humble beginnings. Founded in 1949 by industrialist Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai on an idea inspired by Ananda Coomaraswamy, a pioneer in Indian art interpretation for the western world, the museum evolved into an establishment focusing on handicraft textiles instead of industrial fabrics over time. The collection is awe-inspiring, with Persian and Mughal textiles manufactured in the 18th and 19th century A.D. The museum also contains temple hangings, paintings, sculptures, and religious textiles.
An integral part of the Sidi Bashir Mosque, or for that matter, this top 8 tourist places in Ahmedabad list, Jhulta Minara, as the name suggests, literally translates to Swaying Minarets in English. Playful in its rights, the mystery of the swaying minarets confounds design engineers to date. Rumors say that if one minaret is shaken, the other one starts swaying on its own accord without affecting the connecting passageway between them. Unfortunately, these experiments cannot be carried out anymore as it is believed that British engineers had these minarets dismantled to study the swaying phenomenon, but were unable to restore them to their original assembly. Today, only two of the central gateway remain.
It is difficult to encompass the wonders of Ahmedabad in simple top-ten tourist places in Ahmedabad list. Here are some honorable mentions from in and around Ahmedabad.
Pols and Havelis of old Ahmedabad: If nostalgia if what you seek, the narrow crisscrossing lanes of Ahmedabad is what you are looking for. Each shop is a mini-museum in itself, with intricate ancient doors ad sneaky delicate windows adorning this photogenic feature of the city.
Poet Dalpatram’s abode: Situated in Lambeshwar pol, Kavi Dalpatram was a reformist poet who played a significant role in the development and promotion of the Gujarati language. The little statue that sits on the veranda of the house is a beloved sculpture and is maintained by the Heritage Department. Although the place finds its place in somewhat limited quantities on essential tourist places in Ahmedababd, the place is worth a visit to understand Gujarati culture and pride.
Teen Darwaza: A majestic congregation of three gorgeous arches, the Teen Darwaza is another gift Sultan Ahmad Shah has bestowed on us. Situated adjacent to the famous Bhadra Fort, the Teen Darwaza is yet another example of the extremely skilled Mughal architecture.
Siddi Sayyed ki Jali: One of the smallest mosques of Gujarat, this mosque is famous for its jaw-dropping lace-like stone sculptures. The intricate work on the windows is mind-blowingly precise, and the beauty of it all undermines the painstaking efforts the sculptor might have taken, especially considering the era.
Sarkhez Roza: Although the lake has now dried up, it is a fantastic sight when the lake does fill up in a godsend monsoon. The Sarkhez Roza was originally built as a tomb in honor of Shaikh Ahmed Khattu by Sultan Ahmed Shah II in 1451. Famously nicknamed as the "Acropolis of the East," the Sarkhez Roza is a perfect place to see th3e sunset as the azaan spreads across the golden sky.
Huteesingh Jain Temple: A serene place of prayer, the temple was a dream of a Jain trader who went by the name Sheth Hutheesingh Kesarisinh. Following his unfortunate demise at the age of 49, his third wife, Sethani Harkunawar took up this daunting task and supervised the construction of this temple throughout. Studded with ornate stone carvings, the temple is constructed in stunning white marble.
Although we have covered most of the tourist places in Ahmedabad segment, this article would be incomplete without a list of eateries in Ahmedabad.
Keep in mind that these restaurants serve authentic Gujarati food, and that is why these restaurants in Ahmedabad list does not have restaurants serving international cuisine.
However, if you are bored with restaurant food and want to explore the street food culture, here are some of the best places to find street food.
As with every Ahmedabad travel guide, this comprehensive list is subjective and based on personal experiences. Ahmedabad leaves no stone unturned in its attempt to please its audience.
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