I was lucky enough to live and work in India during my career as a Civil Engineer and for most of the time I was based there I stayed in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat State which is in the north west of India. It was a fantastic place to live and work although, like most of India can provide a bit of a culture shock for Westerners when they first arrive. My first recollection is of landing at the airport and upon finding the driver who would take me to my hotel we pulled out into the road right behind a camel truck. For some reason I had never thought of India having camels although in reality they are a common site in Ahmedabad. However the city has some fantastic attractions and here are a few of mine.
Gandhi Sabarmati Ashram
Most people in the world are aware of Gandhi and he spent a good deal of his life living in Ahmedabad after founding an Ashram in the city. This is now a tourist attraction and tribute to his life and is a fantastic place to visit. You can see the small buildings where Gandhi and his followers lived and worked and there are also two exhibitions to view. One details the life of Gandhi himself and the other shows the history of the Ashram. I visited on a few occasions and the location, right beside the Sabarmati River is very peaceful and relaxing and to walk in the footsteps of such a famous and respected man was a great experience. It is definitely one of the top places to visit in Ahmedabad.
Sidi Sayed Mosque
This is one of the main mosques in Ahmedabad and is a beautiful stone structure. It was constructed more than 400 years ago and one of its main features are the intricately carved screen windows which are known as Jali. These are amazing to see up close and are one of the best examples of their kind. I visited the mosque on many occasions and would definitely recommend going to see it.
House of Mangledas
The reason I saw the Sidi Sayad mosque so many times is because of the building across the road from it. The House of Mangaldas is a hotel and restaurant. The hotel appeared to be undergoing refurbishment during the time I was there, but the roof top restaurant was always open. It offers Gujarati food served in a thali which provides a selection of different dishes served in small bowls on a larger tray. I used to go there most Sundays for lunch and the food is great and is definitely worth tasting. For a set price they basically keep serving food and drink until you are full and it is a good place to have a meal if you are in Ahmedabad.
Vishala is another restaurant but also so much more. It is set out in the style of a Gujarati village and as well as the excellent food there are also a number of other activities which can be enjoyed. There is a small museum room which has many Gujarati artifacts. There is also a puppet show and music on offer which can be enjoyed before or after your meal. It is a great experience and good place to go for an evening meal.
C.G. Road is in the centre of Ahmedabad and is the main shopping road in the city. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for some souvenirs and many of the main shopping malls are located in this area. There also a number of great restaurants along the road serving a variety of styles including Indian, Italian and Chinese to name a few. There are also many good tailors where you can buy some fine clothes or even get some hand made. It is definitely worth checking out if you are in the city.
I visited this museum once and it is definitely worth going to. It exhibits temple hangings, paintings, tapestries and sculptures and offers guided tours with a knowledgeable guide who explains the history and significance of the exhibits you see. The tour takes around 1 hour and shows details of some of the famous gods and goddesses in Indian history and legend. I really enjoyed my visit to the museum as I am sure most people would.
The city of Ahmedabad has been around for many years having been founded in the 11thcentury when it was known as Karnavati. The name was changed in the 13th century when Sultan Ahmed Shah made it his capital. It has a long history and there are many attractions to see during a visit. If you ever go to the city try some of those mentioned above and you won’t be disappointed.