Ahmedabad General Information
- Area 204.6 sq. km
- Population 2,954,526
- Altitude 53 metres above sea level
- Languages Gujarati, Hindi and English
- STD Code 079
- Best time to visit November to February
Ahmedabad- A Introduction
Sir Sidi Mosque Ahmedabad was named after the Sultan Ahmed Shah, who built the city in 1411. Also called the “Manchester of the East”, today, it is one of the most highly industrialized cities of India. Historically, Ahmedabad was a major base camp during the Indian freedom struggle. Mahatma Gandhi built the Sabarmati Ashram on the outskirts of the city, from where he guided India to freedom. Today Ahmedabad, more than any other Indian city represents non-violence and peace. Ahmedabad is also the textile city of India. Though the city has developed more as a business and commercial center, it also holds attraction as a center for the study of Indo-Saracenic architecture, a style that fuses elements of Hindu and Islamic architecture. The old city of Ahmedabad is dotted with labyrinth of bylanes called polls. The exquisitely carved wooden mansions are beautiful examples of the craftsmanship of the time. Although it is no longer the capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad remains the second largest industrial city in western India.
Places of Interest
The Jama Masjid of Ahmedabad is one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. Located to the east of the Teen Darwaja besides Mahatma Gandhi road, the mosque was built in AD 1423 by Ahmad Shah. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the mosque has 260 columns supporting the roof. The dome is illuminated by the natural light which is reflected into it by the external roofs. One of the major attractions of the mosque is the beautiful stonework of the Muluk-Khana or the Royal Gallery, which is a platform standing on pillars
The Sidi Bashir Mosque, commonly known as the Shaking Minaret or Jhulta Minar, is located outside the Sarangpur Gate. An interesting thing about the minarets is that if one of the minarets is shaken, the other begins to vibrate on its own. The minarets evoke lot of curiosity and are the major attraction here. The mechanism that causes the vibration is still a mystery and it is believed that that the vibration is a protection against the damage caused by the earthquakes
Sidi Saiyad Mosque
The mosque was built by Sidi Sayid, Ahmad Shah’s slave, in AD 1573. The mosque is famous for its stone tracery and the motifs of the banyan tree on its windows. It is located near the Lal Darwaza (Red Gateway) and is very close to the river end of the Relief Road
Hatheesing Jain Temple
Built in 1848, this two-storeyed structure in pure white marble is dedicated toDharmanath, the fifteenth Jina or Jain apostle. The temple has 52 shrines, each with an image of a Jain Tirthankara. Located outside the Delhi Gate, the temple is named after its builder Sheth Hathi Singh.
Dada Hari Vav (Stepped Well)
This well was built in 1501 to provide a cool resting place and water to the travellers. The stepped well is among the finest examples of Gujarati architecture. Even on the hottest days, the well remains cool.
Seven kilometres to the north of the city on a quiet stretch of the river Sabarmati lies the ashram set up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1915. The Sabarmati Ashram, as it is popularly called, was the first Satyagraha Ashram set up by Gandhi. The ashram still makes handicrafts, handmade paper and spinning wheels. Hridaya Kunj, the cottage where Mahatma Gandhi lived, is preserved as it was during his lifetime. The Gandhi Ashram also houses a small memorial. Visitors can have a look at a sound and light spectacle that takes place three days a week.
The Calico Textile Museum
This museum of textiles displays antique and modern textiles. It is housed in a carved wooden haveli and exhibits rare tapestries, wall hangings and costumes. Some of the old weaving machines are also kept here. The museum’s collection dates back to the 17th century and it also has an excellent reference library on textiles.
These arched gateways were built by Sultan Ahmed Shah. They formed the royal entrance to the Maidan Shah or Royal Square. From here the Sultans watched the processions from the palace to the Jama Masjid.
Rani Sipri Mosque
Another beautiful mosque is the Rani Sipri mosque, built by the Queen of Mahmud Shah Begda in 1514. After her death she was buried in the premises of the mosque itself. NC Mehta Museum The NC Mehta Museum houses a spectacular collection of miniatures from various Indian painting schools.
The Shreyas Folk Museum
This museum displays some of the finest examples of the traditional arts & crafts of Gujarat. A must-see for those interested in folk art.
Adalaj is situated about 19 km north of Ahmedabad on Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway. This step-well was built by queen Rudabai in 1499. The well has three stepped entrances that ascend into an open court. From here, a single arched heavily decorated entrance leads to a corridor. The corridor has four pavilions and is five storeys under the ground up to the well. The monument is best seen around noon, when sunlight penetrates the bottom of the five-storey octagonal well shaft, making the exquisite sculptures, the walls, pillars, cornices and niches portray erotica, dancing maidens, musicians, animals and images of Shiva come alive. Stone elephants, horses and mythical animals are seen around the sides of the shaft.
Hathi Singh TempleAround 102 km north-west of Ahmedabad lies the town of Modhera. The Sun Temple in this town, built by Raja Bhimdev I, is a major source of attraction here. The Temple has been divided into three main compartments. The first is the Surya Kund, a fascinating massive rectangular stepped tank. The tank now stands dry, but in ancient times it was believed to be full of nirmal jal (holy water). Devotees on their way to offer prayers to the Sun God were required to first stop here for ceremonial ablutions. Several small steps from the Kund lead up to the enchanting Sabha Mandap. The place was meant for religious gatherings and conferences. Open on all sides with four doorways, the major attraction here is its unique walnut-shaped ceiling supported by 52 spectacular pillars. Each of these pillars is intricately carved with scenes form Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Krishna Leela (the childhood antics of Lord Krishna). The Guda Mandap contains a surang (tunnel), the other end of which is believed to emerge at Patan. These tunnels provided the ideal escape routes for the kings and members of the royal family in case of attacks. From Modhera, one can also take trip to the nearby towns of Unjha, where one can find the fragmented ruins of an ancient temple.
Famous for Patola saris, Patan is situated at about 130 km north-west of Ahmedabad on the banks of the river Saraswati. Originally known as Anhil-Vad-Pattan, the town flourished during the reign of the Solanki dynasty in 8th-11th century. The Queen/’s Step well or Rani-Ki-Vav is one of the most fascinating monuments in the town. Constructed by queen Udayamati (AD 1022-63) and built in the Khajuraho style, the vav is 90 feet wide. Its walls are lined with images of Vishnu, Shiva and other gods and goddesses. Also situated here is the Sahastralinga Talav or tank of a thousand Shiva shrines spread over an area of 5 km. Its construction was carried out by Jayasimha Siddharaja (AD 1093-1143). Among the Jain temples in Patan, said to number over a hundred, the one dedicated to Panchasara Parasvanath is the largest. It has a famous white marble image of Vanaraja. In its vicinity lies the Hemchandracharya Jain Gyan Mandir that contains valuable Jain manuscripts, some of which were written in ink made of gold.