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 Gujrat - Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad, the sixth largest city in India, is located in the state of Gujarat, in the western part of India. It lies along the Sabarmati River. Ahmedabad is 440 km north of Mumbai. Ahmedabad is known for its rich past and its association with Mahatma Gandhi. Ahmedabad is India’s textile city as it has numerous cotton and textile mills. Ahmedabad is a mix of ancient and modern culture with a large no. of factories, mosques, temples and high-rise offices. The city offers a unique style of architecture, which is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles (Indo-Saracenic style of architecture). Ahmedabad became the base camp for the Indian freedom struggle. Gandhiji built the Sabarmati Ashram on the outskirts of the city. From here, he guided India to freedom. During the freedom movement, this city of textiles became the nerve centre of the struggle. Ahmedabad is the industrial capital of the State of Gujarat. Ahmedabad boasts of the largest denim production in the world. It is also home to several interesting museums. Many of Ahmedabad's buildings bear the signatures of world-renowned architects like Le Corbusier, Louis Khan , Doshi and Correa. Ahmedabad is famous for its Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated in the month of January with kite flying, folk music and dance. It is one of the most liveliest cities in India.

Weather

The climate of Ahmedabad is hot and moist. Winters are cool and pleasant (November-February) but summers (April-June) are extremely dry, hot and the temperature can be as high as 46°C at times. The city experiences good rainfall during the monsoon season (July-September). As the city of Ahmedabad experiences a harsh summer season, and is lashed by the southwestern monsoons, the best time to visit Ahmedabad is during winters. Ahmedabad is moist in the southern districts and dry in the northern districts.



Ahmedabad at a glance :  
Area8,707sq.km
Population48,01,812
Temperature Summer: Min: 25oC, Max:45oC
Winter : Min: 15oC, Max:35oC
Altitude53m
Best SeasonNovember to February
STD Code079
StateGujarat
Famous ForUnique Textiles.
Best SeasonMonths Of October And March.
Main LanguagesGujarati, Hindi, English.
How to reach

By Air

Ahmedabad has a domestic as well as an international airport. There are various domestic airlines connecting Ahmedabad with Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta, Bangalore as well as international flights to various overseas destinations.

By Train

Ahmedabad is linked by rail to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Udaipur, Calcutta, Chennai, other major cities and towns of India. Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat are major cities of Gujarat on the broad-guage railway network. There is a broad-guage connection up to Dwarka, including Jamnagar and Rajkot. There are meter-guage connections to the rest of the state.

By Road

Ahmedabad has a good road network. By road it is linked with towns like Vadodra, Rajkot, Palitana and Jamnagar. National Highway No.8 and an excellent network of State Highways makes Gujarat easily accessible to other parts of the country. State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various cities of Gujarat to rest of India.

Distance from Ahmedabad to :  
Bhopal 571 km
Baroda (Vadodara)113 km
Mt. Abu228 km
Udaipur 252 km
Jaipur 657 km
Bombay 545 km
Delhi 1076 km
Gandhinagar25 km
Modhera 110 km
Nal Sarovar 71 km
Lothal80 km.
Palitana215 km
Madras1,848 km.


Places of Interest

Calico Museum , Shreyas Museum of Folk Art , Sardar Patel Museum , Institute of Indology , Vishalla Vichar Museum , Kite Museum , Hussain-Doshi's Gufa , Kankaria Lake , Sabarmati Ashram , Jama Masjid , Sarkhej Roza , Teen Darwaja , Shaking Minaretsarets , Rani Rupmati's Mosque , Kutbi Mazar , Siddi Sayed Mosque , Shah Alam Roza , Shahibag Palace , Hatheesing Jain Temples , The Pols , Heritage Walk , Bhadra Fort


Places of Interest around Ahmedabad

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary , Lothal , Gandhinagar , Patan , Modhera , Ambaji , Mehsana , Kandla , Dakor

Calico Museum

The Calico Museum of Textiles, widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was constructed in 1949. The Museum houses the finest fabrics spun, woven, printed and painted in different parts of India that date back to the 17th century. It also has a collection of marble, sandstone and bronze icons and busts split in two thematic sections-gallery for religious textiles and historical textiles. There is also an excellent reference library on textiles.

Shreyas Museum of Folk Art

The Museum has a unique collection of folk culture from Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch with displays of crafts and costumes from these areas.

Sardar Patel Museum

The musuem is housed in old Raj Bhavan, which was also a palace. Museum situated in Shahibaug exhibits Sardar's life and works.

Institute of Indology

The Institute contains some of the best collections of Jainism, illustrated manuscripts and miniatures.

Vishalla Vichar Museum

Vishalla is a restaurant with traditional Gujarati food in village surroundings. It has Vichar Utensil Museum worth visiting. The museum houses a unique collection of utensils.

Kite Museum

The museum houses a wonderful variety of kites that depict their colourful history and regional flavours.

Sabarmati Ashram

Founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1915, during the lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi it was known as Satyagraha Ashram and was the centre of the struggle for Independence. 'Hridaya Kunj', the simple cottage where he lived, is preserved as a National Monument. The cottage is now a small museum displaying his few possessions. A Gandhi Memorial Centre, a Library and a Sound-and-Light show offer indepth insight into the Mahatma's life and work.

Kankaria Lake

A circular lake constructed in 1451 by Sultan Qutubub-Din. At the centre of the lake is an island garden with a summer palace, known as Nagina Wadi. The lake is a popular recreation centre surrounded by parks, 'Bal Vatika', an aquarium, a boat club, a natural history museum and a zoo.

Hussain-Doshi's Gufa

It is a gallery housing the collaborative efforts of artist M. F. Hussain and the architect B. V. Doshi. Here, art and architecture fuse to become a unique experience, both complementing each other magnificently. Located in the campus of the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology, the Gufa is a configuration of cave-like structures buried under the ground. This marvel of contemporary architecture was constructed using computer aided design and tribal initiative.

Jama Masjid

Built by Ahmad Shah in 1423, Jama Masjid is the principal mosque of the Islamic era, situated at the heart of the city. The mosque was built in the Indo- Saracenic architectural era and is said to be the most beautiful mosque in the East. The mosque has 260 pillars supporting 15 domes arranged symmetrically. A special feature of the mosque is the Muluk-Khana, or the Royal Gallery, which is a platform standing on pillars and enclosed upto the roof with beautiful stone work.

Sarkhej Roza

About 8 kms. from the city, Sarkhej comprises one of the most elegant architectural complexes of Ahmedabad. Grouped around a great stepped tank is the tomb to the saint, Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh (1445), the mosque, the tombs of Mehmud Shah Begada and his queen, and the palace and pavilions. The buildings are remarkable for the complete absence of arches and the use of pierced stone trellises throughout.

Teen Darwaja

The triple-arched gateway was built by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the royal entrance to the Maidan Shahi or the Royal Square. It is an imposing monument of perfect proportions and highly ornate buttresses.

Shaking Minaretsarets

The shaking minarets are two minarets located at the Siddhi Bashir mosque. They are uniquely designed in a way that when one minaret is shaken the other one shakes too.This is also known as Jhulta Minar.

Rani Rupmati's Mosque

Named after the Hindu wife of Sultan Mohammed Beghara, this mosque was built between 1430 to 1440 A. D. It has three domes supported by pillars with the central dome slightly elevated so as to allow natural light into the mosque. The mosque has richly carved minarets, balcony windows and perforated stone lattices. Its three domes are linked together by a flat roof. However, the mosque and tomb of Rani Sipri at Astodia surpasses it for its planning and structural arrangement. Popularly known as Masjid-e-Nagina, this mosque is the most exquisite gem of Ahmedabad.

Kutbi Mazar

A colossal monument raised in the memory of Syedna Qutubuddin Shaheed, the high priest of the Bohra community.

Siddi Sayed Mosque

The Mosque of Sidi Sayed, near Lal Darwaja is world-renowned for its magnificent stone tracery. Sidi Sayed, is celebrated all over the world for its exquisite stone window tracery - a superb example of delicate carving that transforms stone into filigree.

Shah Alam Roza

The tomb and mosque of Saint Shah Alam are said to have been built by the brother of the Empress Noorjehan. The brass doors are set in carved marble frames and the floor tiled in black and white marble.

Shahibag Palace

Built during the reign of Shah Jahan who, as Prince Khurram, spent the early years of his marriage in Ahmedabad as Viceroy of Gujarat. Rabindranath Tagore stayed here during his visit to Ahmedabad as a young man and the room where he wrote his famous work- 'Hungry Stones' - has been preserved as a memorial to the poet.

Hatheesing Jain Temples

Built outside Delhi Gate in 1850 by a rich Jain Merchant, this is the best known of Ahmedabad's many ornate Jain Temples. Built of pure white marble, it has a paved courtyard surrounded by an imposing row of cloisters containing 52 shrines, each with an image of a tirthankara, profusely decorated with rich carvings, one containing the marble image of the 15th tirthankar. The temple is a two storied structure with elaborate porches on three sides and front porch crowned by a large dome. It was designed by Premchand Salat and is dedicated to Dharmanath, the fifteenth Jina or Jain apostle.

The Pols

The Pols, integral parts of old Ahmedabad are residential units dating back to 1714 with intricately carved facades, which line the streets. It nurtures within its folds, pages of history, a breath of harmony and a showcase of exquisite architecture. Notable in the present day Pols are Mhurat Pol, Mandvi-ni-Pol, and Lakha Patel-ni-Pol.

Bhadra Fort

Once housed royal palaces and beautiful gardens. It has the temple of Bhadrakali and was built in 1411 during the Maratha rule.

Heritage Walk

The Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad is conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation with NGO, CRUTA Foundation like most Indian cities, has a long history and strong architectural and urban character. The Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad is a guided walk of two and a half hours. This daily affair by the AMC is extremely well designed in guidance and co-operation with CRUTA and Swaminarayan Trust, being operationalised by a group of young volunteers. There is also a half hour special slide show running through pages of the city's history unfolding back its birth from a 10th century AD ancient site known as Ashaval to the present walled city re-founded during the period of Ahmedshah and onwards. The walk begins from the picturesque Swaminarayan Mandir in Kalupur and ends in the most glorious architectural legacies the Jumma Masjid, covering in between the numerous pols, havelis, ornamental facades, workplaces of artisans and number of magnificent Hindu and Jain temples.

Places of Interest around Ahmedabad

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

Just 65 kms. Southwest of Ahmedabad, is the delightful bird sanctuary of Nalsarovar nestling around the Nal Lake, extending over 11,500 hectares. Established in 1969 A.D., it is known to harbour over 250 species of wetland birds. Nalsarovar sees winter migrants from the north that includes Rosy Pelicans, Flamingoes, White Storks, Brahminy Ducks and Herons.

A pair of binoculars and a person well -versed in the local bird life will surely make it one of your best outings. Visitors are ferried in small boats to experience a sunrise or sunset while gliding gently through the silent waters. The nearest airport and railway station are at Ahmedabad, 65 kms. away. Nalsarovar can be easily accessed from Ahmedabad by state and private buses.

Lothal

Located 87 kms from Ahmedabad, is a place of tremendous archaelogical significance. Excavations have uncovered a planned city of Harappan civilisation of the 2nd millennium B.C. with an intricate underground drainage system. An on site museum displays beads, bangles, painted bowls, goblets, jars, terra-cotta toys and ivory and shell objects which were unearthed during the excavations. Lothal would have been a very important port on the subcontinent, indicated by a dockyard revealed in excavations at Lothal. It also shows a very high degree of town planning, like other sites in the Indus valley. An unusual discovery was made here of two bodies found in a single grave. At least three such instances show that double burial was a common feature among the people who lived in Lothal. The people also appear to have worshipped fire and believed in some from of animal sacrifice as is apparent from the presence of sacrificial altars.

Gandhinagar

Gandhinagar, named after the Father of the Nation, is the capital city of Gujarat. Built on the river Sabarmati it is just 32 kms away from Ahmedabad. In 1960 when the old Bombay state was partitioned into Maharashtra and Gujarat, the city of Bombay went to Maharashtra. It was then decided to construct a new capital for Gujarat. Thus came into being Gandhinagar, the second planned city in India after Chandigarh. It presents a spacious, well designed look of an architecturally integrated city. It has 30 sectors with each sector having its own shopping, health, community center and housing colonies. Extensive planting of trees and large recreational areas along the river gives the city a fresh, green garden city atmosphere. The famous temple of Swaminarayan is also built in Gandhinagar.

Akshardham

Akshardham is a unique cultural complex built in Gandhinagar in memory of Lord Swaminarayan. Inspired by H. D. Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Akshardham is a miracle worked by the service and devotion of thousands of volunteers. It is an intricately carved, majestic monument of 6000 tons of pink sand stone. The entire monument was built without the use of steel. Besides a 7 feet gold leafed idol of Lord Swaminarayan and his holy relics, there are three exhibitions on Indian Culture with light and sound shows, a multimedia show and an animatronic show. The wisdom of the Vedas, the epics, the Puranas is depicted on a crowded canvas by the exhibition. The visitor comes face to face with personages who have made this land what it is. It is a perfect mix of modernity and ancient values. Apart from Lord Ram going in search of his kidnapped wife, the visitor can see Shravan, the dutiful son, the Pandavas losing the game of dice in the Hastinapur palace, etc. Besides the visitors can see Sabari's long wait for Ram and Draupadi's humiliation in the Kauravasabha. The Hall of Harmony projects world religious side by side. The monument is ringed by aparikrama containing 365 stone pillars. Nearest airport is located at Ahmedabad. Nearest railway stations are at Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centres of Gujarat. Games, rides and food refreshments are other attractions of Akshardham.

Shamlaji

One of the principal Vaishnava shrines in Gujarat, it is situated 126 km from Ahmedabad.

Adalaj Vav

Adalaj Vav is situated 18 kms. north of Ahmedabad in Gandhinagar district. Built in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudabai, this step well at the village Adalaj is a fine example of magnificent architectural form, unique to Northwestern India. The step well or Vav as it is locally called is intricately carved and is several stories in depth. The designs on its walls and pillars include, leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breathtaking ornamental designs. A unique characteristic of step wells was that they not only conserved water but were also cool chambers where one could rest during hot summer months. In the olden days, these step wells used to be frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along their trade routes.

Patan

130 kms from Ahmedabad, established during the Solanki era, this town is famous for its architectural wonders. Patan is an important centre for weaving.

Rani Udaymati Vav

Located at Patan, it is one of the largest step wells in Gujarat. It was built during the last decade of the 11th century by Rani Udaymati in memory of her husband Bhimdeva I of the Chalukya dynasty. The Vav is decorated with around 800 stone sculptures and reliefs. There are impressive images of Gods of the Hindu pantheon in their various incarnations with their consorts. No other Vav in India is as profusely adorned as this.

Sahastralinga Talav

Located at Patan, it occupies the northwestern part of the city. It's on the left bank of the river Saraswati. The Talav is reputed to have been built by Siddharaja Jaisinh, the Chalukkyan ruler. Pentagonal in shape, it is spread over an area of 17 hectares. The most interesting of the relics are the channels, the well, steps and side elevation of the Talav.

Modhera

Modhera is famous for its Sun Temple.The Sun Temple is one of the finest examples of Indian temple architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank. Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside is magnificently carved with Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers which depict the incidents from the Ramayan and the Mahabharat, and forms of gods and goddesses and the way of life of the people of that time. An interesting iconograph is one with three heads, three arms and three legs. This temple, though not as famous as those of Konark and Khajuraho has resemblance with these temples in architectural style. Modhera's sun temple is positioned in such a manner that at the equinoxes the rising sun strikes the images in the sanctuary. It also incorporates an amusement park, a museum, a cafeteria, picture gallery and library. Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge 'Sun Kund' (Rama Kund) surrounded by step-terraces with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108.

Nearest airport is at Ahmedabad 102 kms. away. The nearest railway station is Mehsana. 2½ hours journey from Ahmedabad (119kms.). State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various major towns and cities of Gujarat.

Ambaji

Ambaji (Banaskantha district) is the seat of Ambe Mata, the mother goddess. Hers is a household name in the state. People pay homage to her during Navratri in song and dance. Navratri in Gujarat is comparable to the worship of Saraswati in Bengal. Ambe Mata is the Adya Shakti- the primordial female power the mother goddess. The Ambaji temple which is situated on the Arasur hill in the Aravali Range does not contain any idol. It has only a yantra engraved in a niche. The shrine is made of marble. Large number of devotees visit the shrine during the Purnima fairs held on the full moon day of Kartik, Chaitra, Bhadrapad and also Navratri is celebrated on a grand scale here. Ambaji is one of the 64 Shakti Piths. The Shakti Piths have been established at those places where the pieces of Sati's body fell. It came about this way. Shiv's father-in-law Daksha Prajapati felt insulted when the son-in-law did not stand up to receive him. In order to slight him he organized ayagna and did not invite Shiv. Sati went to the yagna uninvited. She too felt slighted when people failed to take note of her presence. According to Puranas she fell into the sacrificial fire. Shiv picked up her body and rushed about in great grief. Vishnu had to intervene. He cut up the body with his discus, so that Shiv may regain his composure. According to tradition one of the pieces fell at Ambaji. A short distance from Ambaji is the Gabbar Hill. It is said that the goddess revealed herself on the Hill and left her footprints.

The nearest airport is located at Ahmedabad approximately 179 kms. from Ambaji. The nearest railhead to is Palanpur located 60 kms. by road from Ambaji. Palanpur is 144 kms. by rail from Ahmedabad. Ambaji is 179 kms. by road from Ahmedabad.

Mehsana (Rani ki Vav)

Located at Mehsana, Raniki Vav believed to have been constructed by Udayamati, the queen of Bhimdeva I (1022-63 AD) and the mother of Karnadeva the Queen's step-well, is the most magnificent step-well in Gujarat. It has a deep octagonal shaft, wide flights of steps, and exquisite figures and foliate designs etched into dark gray stone wall and pillars. The well shaft has been decorated by a bevy of voluptuous and shapely maidens. Several sun motifs adorn the well shaft, dating from the era of pre-Hindu sun worship, but these are far outnumbered by sculptures of Vishnu and his various avatars, or incarnations. Look out for elephant-headed Ganesh figures and richly carved sculptures of the mother-goddess. Becharaji is an another important seat of Mother Goddess in Mehasana district. Hindu devotees especially childless women visit the temple.

Langhanaj locality

The Langhanaj locality of Mehsana is particularly interesting as 14 fossilized skeletons and microlithes were unearthed here. The early man of Langhanaj bore close affinity with the East African. During the early period, Mehsana was the home of the aboriginal.

Dakor

The temple town dedicated to Lork Krishna is 90 kms. from Ahmedabad. The temple of Ranchodrai ha the idol of Lork Krishan which is beloeved to be brought from Dwarka by a devotee.

Kandla

Kandla is a major sea port 380 kms from Ahmedabad. It has single point mooring facilities with a free trade zone. The places of interest are a monument of Mahatma Gandhi and Nirva Siteshwar Mahadev Temple.







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