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Ahmedabad (અમદાવાદ)
Ahmedabad Skyline
Ahmedabad (અમદાવાદ)
Location of Ahmedabad (અમદાવાદ)
in Gujarat and India
Coordinates 23°02′N 72°35′E / 23.03°N 72.58°E / 23.03; 72.58
Country  India
State Gujarat
District(s) Ahmedabad
Mayor Kanaji Thakor
Municipal commissioner I.P.Gautam
Police commissioner S. K. Saikia
Civic agency Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation
Population
Density
Metro
4525013 (2001)
22,473 /km2 (58,205 /sq mi)
6167589 (7th) (2009)
Official languages Gujarati, Hindi, English[1]
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area
Metro
Elevation
205 km2 (79 sq mi)
10,000 km2 (3,861 sq mi)
53 m (174 ft)

Ahmedabad (Gujarati: અમદાવાદ Amdāvād, Hindi: अहमदाबाद About this sound Ahmadābād ,Sindhi: امداواد) is a city in India; it is the largest city in the state of Gujarat, with a population of approximately 52 lakhs (5.2 million).[3] Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, the city is the administrative centre of Ahmedabad district and was the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970; the capital was shifted to Gandhinagar thenafter. In colloquial Gujarati, it is commonly called Amdavad.

Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate. The city is named after its founder. Under British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernised and expanded. Although incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during the British rule in India, Ahmedabad remained the most important city in the Gujarat region. The city established itself as the home of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname "the Manchester of the East."[4][5] The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century.[6] It was the centre of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote workers' rights, civil rights and political independence.

With the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad gained prominence as commercial capital of the state. The city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. A rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries, Ahmedabad remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat and much of western India.

Contents

History

Map of Ahmedabad, depicted in a miniature style painting on a cloth, circa 19th century

Archaeological evidence suggests that the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashapalli or Ashaval.[7] At that time, Karandev I, the Solanki ruler of Anhilwara (modern Patan), waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval,[8] and established a city called Karnavati located at the present time area of Maninagar close to the river Sabarmati. Solanki rule lasted until the 13th century, when Gujarat came under the control of the Vaghela dynasty of Dholka and Karnavati was conquered by the Sultanate of Delhi. In 1411, the rule of the Muzaffarid dynasty was established in Gujarat. According to legend, Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the River Sabarmati, saw a hare chasing a dog. Impressed by this act of bravery, the Sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to locate the capital at this forest area close by to Karnavati right on the river bank and christened it Ahmedabad.[9]. The incident is popularly described in a one liner saying "Jab kutte pe sassa aaya, tab Badshah ne shaher basaya". When the hare chased the dog, seeing that act of bravery then the Emperor built the City.

In 1487, Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, fortified the city with an outer wall 10 km (6 miles) in circumference and consisting of twelve gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements.[10] Ahmedabad was ruled by the Muzaffarid dynasty until 1573 when Gujarat was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar. During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the Empire's thriving centres of trade, mainly in textiles, which were exported to as far as Europe. The Mughal ruler Shahjahan spent the prime of his life in the city, sponsoring the construction of the Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibaug. During a drought, the Deccan Famine of 1630-32 affected the city, as did famines in 1650 and 1686.[11] Ahmedabad remained the provincial headquarter of the Mughals until 1758, when Mughals surrendered the city to the Marathas.[12] During Maratha governance, the city lost some of its past glory, and was at the center of contention between two Maratha clans—The Peshwa of Poona and the Gaekwad of Baroda.[13] The British East India Company took over the city in 1818 as a part of the conquest of India. A military cantonment was established in 1824 and a municipal government in 1858. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established by the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway (BB&CI), making Ahmedabad an important junction in the traffic and trade between northern and southern India. Large numbers of people migrated from rural areas to work in textile mills, establishing a robust industry.

The Indian independence movement developed strong roots in the city when, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi established two ashrams — the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Satyagraha Ashram (now Sabarmati Ashram) on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917 — that would become centers of intense nationalist activities. During the mass protests against the Rowlatt Act in 1919, textile workers burned down 51 government buildings across the city in protest at a British attempt to extend wartime regulations after the First World War.[14] In the 1920s, textile workers and teachers went on strike, demanding civil rights and better pay and working conditions. In 1930, Gandhi initiated the Salt Satyagraha from Ahmedabad by embarking from his ashram on the famous Dandi Salt March. The city administration and economic institutions were rendered functionless by the large masses of people who took to the streets in peaceful protests in the early 1930s, and again in 1942 during the Quit India movement. Following independence and the partition of India in 1947, the city was scarred by intense communal violence that broke out between Hindus and Muslims.

The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire during the Gujarat riots

Ahmedabad became the capital of the new state of Gujarat after the bifurcation of the State of Bombay on 1 May 1960. During that period, a large number of educational and research institutions were founded in the city, making it a major center of higher education, science and technology. Ahmedabad's economic base was diversified with the establishment of heavy and chemical industries in its vicinity around the same period. But the growth in the next two decades was punctuated by political events in and around the city. In 1974, Ahmedabad occupied the centre stage in national politics with the launch of the Nav Nirman agitation — a protest against a 20% hike in the hostel food fees at the L.D. College of Engineering that snowballed into a mass agitation against general corruption to remove Chimanbhai Patel, then-chief minister of Gujarat.[15] In the 1980s, a reservation policy was introduced in the country, which led to anti-reservation protests in 1981 and 1985. The protests witnessed violent clashes between people belonging to various castes.[16] On 26 January 2001 a devastating earthquake struck the city, centred near Bhuj, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale. As many as 50 multistory buildings collapsed, killing 752 people and devastating the city's infrastructure.[17] The following year, Gurajat violence between Hindus and Muslims spread to Ahmedabad, paralysing the city for more than a month. The crisis resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,044 people across the state.[18] The displacement of thousands of Muslims led to the erection of refugee camps around the city. On 26 July 2008 a series of seventeen bomb blasts rocked the city, killing and injuring several people.[19]

In recent years, the effects of liberalization of the Indian economy has energized the city's economy towards tertiary sector activities like commerce, communication, construction activities.[5] The city has witnessed the establishment of scientific and service industries, the expansion of the information technology sector, and significant improvements in transportation and communications. Ahmedabad's population is growing, which has resulted in a construction and housing boom.[20]

Panoramic view of the city

Geography and climate

Ahmedabad, from IMD
Climate chart (explanation)
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average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Geography

Sabarmati Riverfront Development
Vastrapur Lake

Ahmedabad is located at 23°02′N 72°35′E / 23.03°N 72.58°E / 23.03; 72.58 in western India at an elevation of 53 metres (174 ft). The city sits on the banks of the River Sabarmati, in north-central Gujarat. It spans an area of 205 km² (79.15 square miles). The Sabarmati frequently dries up in the summer, leaving only a small stream of water. The city is located in a sandy and dry area. Many of the localities and roads are often spread in sand, reflecting the intensifying fallout caused by deforestation. The steady expansion of the Rann of Kutch threatens to increase desertification around the city area and much of the state. Except for the small hills of Thaltej-Jodhpur Tekra, the city is almost flat. Two lakes are within the city's limits — Kankaria Lake and Vastrapur Lake. Kankaria lake, in the neighbourhood of Maninagar, is an artificial lake developed by the Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, in 1451.[21] According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone-III, in a scale of I to V (in order of increasing proneness to earthquakes)[22]

Ahmedabad is divided by the Sabarmati into two physically distinct eastern and western regions. The eastern bank of the river houses the old city, which includes the central town of Bhadra. This part of Ahmedabad is characterised by packed bazaars, the clustered and barricaded pol system of close clustered buildings, and numerous places of worship. It houses the main railway station, the General Post Office, and few buildings of the Muzaffarid and British eras. The colonial period saw the expansion of the city to the western side of Sabarmati, facilitated by the construction of Ellis Bridge in 1875 and later with the modern Nehru Bridge. This part of the city houses educational institutions, modern buildings, well-planned residential areas, shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts centred around roads Such as AshramRoad, C.G.Road & Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway.[23]

Climate

Under the Koppen climate classification, Ahmedabad has a semiarid climate. There are three main seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Aside from the monsoon season, the climate is dry. The weather is hot through the months of March to June — the average summer maximum is 45 °C (113 °F), and the average minimum is 23 °C (73 °F). From November to February, the average maximum temperature is 30 °C (85 °F), the average minimum is 15 °C (59 °F), and the climate is extremely dry. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill in January. The southwest monsoon brings a humid climate from mid-June to mid-September. The average annual rainfall is about 76.0 cm (36.7 inches), but infrequent heavy torrential rains cause the river to flood. The highest temperature recorded is 47 °C (116.6 °F) and the lowest is 5 °C (41 °F).[24] In recent years, Ahmedabad has suffered from increasing air, water and soil pollution from neighbouring industrial areas and textile mills.

Civic administration

Ahmedabad is administered by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). Some of the regions surrounding the city are administered by the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA). The AMC was established in July 1950 under the Bombay Provincial Corporation Act, 1949. For administrative purposes, the city is divided into 43 wards.[25]. Citizens elect corporators during civic elections. At present the corporation consists of 129 corporators elected from 43 wards. These 129 corporators elect a mayor and deputy mayor for a turn of two and a half years.[5][26][27] Executive powers are vested in the municipal commissioner, who is an IAS officer appointed by the Gujarat state government. The mayor is responsible for the day-to-day running of the municipal school board, the city bus service, the municipal hospital, and the city library.[5] The city serves as the headquarters of Ahmedabad district and as the seat of the Gujarat High Court. The Ahmedabad city police are headed by a Police Commissioner, an Indian Police Service officer.[28] Ahmedabad's Kamla Nehru Zoological Park features endangered species like flamingoes, caracal, Asiatic wolf, chinkara and many more.[29] AMC has initiated the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project with an of objective environmental improvement with provision of slum rehabilitation for poor living on the river banks. Ahmedabad boasts of some of the largest number of hospitals in the country - both government and private. The Ahmedabad civil hospital is the largest hospital in Asia.[30] The healthcare in Ahmedabad is one of the best in India.

Electricity in the city is provided by Torrent Power group, previously a state-run corporation. The city elects two members to the Lok Sabha and seven to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha. Two main political parties have won a significant number of seats in elections — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC). Of the thirteen assembly seats of Ahmedabad, ten were won by the BJP and three by the Congress Party during the legislative elections in 2007.[31] In the 2005 Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections, the BJP won 96 seats, 32 seats went to the Congress, and one seat went to an independent candidate.[32]

Economy

A mall in Ahmedabad. Retail Industry is one of the largest employers in the city

In the 19th century, the textile and garments industry received strong capital investment. On 30 May 1861 Ranchhodlal Chhotalal founded the first Indian textile mill, the Ahmedabad Spinning and Weaving Company Limited.[33] This was followed by the establishment of a series of textile mills such as the Calico Mills, Bagicha Mills and Arvind Mills. By 1905 there were about 33 textile mills in the city.[34] The textile industry further expanded rapidly during the First World War, and benefited from the influence of Mahatma Gandhi's Swadeshi movement, which promoted the purchase of Indian-made goods.[35] Ahmedabad was known as the "Manchester of the East", for its largely expanding realms of the textile industry.[citation needed]

Ahmedabad has a thriving chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry. Two of the biggest pharmaceutical companies of India — Zydus Cadila and Torrent Pharmaceuticals — are based in the city. The city serves as the corporate headquarters of the Adani Group, which is a leading multinational trading and infrastructure development company. The Nirma group of industries, which runs a large number of detergent and chemical industrial units, has its corporate headquarters in the city. In recent year many foreign companies have set up their sales offices and production facilities in Ahmedabad. Amongst them are Bosch Rexroth, Germany (hydraulic components); Stork, Netherlands (textile machinery; joint venture with ATE, India's leading textile equipment trading house); Rollepaal, Netherlands (pipe extrusion equipment); and Johnson Pumps, Sweden.

The completion and operation of the Sardar Sarovar Project of dams and canals has improved the supply of potable water and electricity for the city. In recent years, the Gujarat government has increased investment in the modernisation of the city's infrastructure, providing for the construction of larger roads and improvements to water supply, electricity and communications. The information technology industry has developed significantly in Ahmedabad.[36] A NASSCOM survey in 2002 on the "Super Nine Indian Destinations" for IT-enabled services ranked Ahmedabad fifth among the top nine most competitive cities in the country.[20] City is the largest supplier of denim and one of the largest exporters of gems and jewellery in India.[5]

A diverse labour force of migrant workers from different parts of Gujarat and neighbouring states is integral to the economy of the city. These workers provide vital household labour and services for the city's large middle class. Ahmedabad plays a strong and significant role in providing commercial resources and market access for the economies of neighbouring cities. A majority of the working-age citizens of Ahmedabad are traders and business people. This has led to the creation of major mercantile corporations and artisan guilds that are a key influence on the economic life of Gujarat. The city's educational and industrial institutions have attracted students and young skilled workers from the rest of India.[37]

Demographics

As per the 2001 Indian census, the area under Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has a population of 3,520,085.[2] The population of the Ahmedabad urban agglomeration (which includes the region governed by AUDA) was 4,525,013.[2] The urban agglomeration accounts for 21.7% of Gujarat's urban population.[39] Ahmedabad has a literacy rate of 79.89%, which is the Second highest in Gujarat After Gandhinagar With 87.11%; 87.81% males and 71.12% females are literate.[40] According to the census for the Ninth Plan, there are 30,737 rural families living in Ahmedabad. Of those, 5.41% (1663 families) live below the poverty line.[41] Approximately 440,000 people live in slums within the city.[42] Ahmedabad is home to a large population of Vanias (i.e., traders), belonging to the Vaishnava sect of Hinduism and the sects of Jainism. Most of the residents of Ahmedabad are native Gujaratis.

Although Gujarati is spoken, Hindi is very commonly spoken, especially in commerce, education, politics, government, shops, and road signs. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report of 2003, Ahmedabad ranks 12th in the list of 35 Indian cities with a population of more than 10 lakh in the crime rate ratio.[43] City's main jail is Sabarmati Central Jail.[44]

Since its founding, the city has attracted migrant workers from other areas of Gujarat, including Kutch and Saurashtra, and from the neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh. There is a sizeable population of Punjabis, Marathis, Telugu, Tamils, Sindhis, Malayalis and Marwaris, who bring their native language and culture to the city. The most recent arrivals are people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who mainly work as labourers and are attracted to Gujarat due to greater industrialisation and more employment than their native states. In addition to this, the city is home to some 2000 Parsis and some 300 members of Bene Israel Jews community.[45][46] There are 2273 registered NRI's from Ahmedabad.[47] Slightly less than half of all real estate in Ahmedabad is owned by "community organizations" (i.e. cooperatives), and "the spatial growth of the city is to the extent contribution of these organizations."[48] Ahmedabad Cantonment also provides residential zones for Indian Army officials.[49]

Culture

Gujarati cuisine containing vegetarian diet.

Ahmedabad enjoys a thriving cultural tradition, being the centre of Gujarati cultural activities and diverse traditions of different ethnic and religious communities. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan — an annual kite-flying day on 14 January. The nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba — the folk dance of Gujarat — at venues across the city. The festival of lights — Deepavali is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, the decorating the floors with the rangoli and the bursting of firecrackers. Other festivals such as Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi,Gudi Padwa,Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas are celebrated with enthusiasm. The annual Rath Yatra procession on the Ashadh-sud-bij date of the Hindu calendar and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are integral parts of the city's culture.

The people of Ahmedabad enjoy rich culinary traditions. The most popular form of meal — a typical Gujarati thali (meal) — consists of rotli, dal, rice and Shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes with curry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted papads. Popular beverages include buttermilk and tea; sweet dishes include laddoos and mango. There are many restaurants, which serve a wide array of Indian and international cuisines. Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city's Jain and Hindu communities. The first all-vegetarian Pizza Hut in the world opened in Ahmedabad. Ice creams are consumed in plenty. Amul has many parlours in Ahmedabad. Honest restaurant serves variety of ice creams.On Sundays dinner for almost all families from the lower middle class to rich are in hotels.After having a Gujarati Thali which is rich in oil and sweet, you should have a pan for smooth digestion and hence there are many PAN Stalls near Hotels.[50]

The architectural history of Ahmedabad stretches across the last millennium. The Sultanate fused Hindu craftsmanship with Islamic architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many mosques in the city are built in this fashion.[51] After independence modern buildings came up in Ahmedabad when renowned architects were given commissions in the city like Louis Kahn who designed the Indian Institute of Management; Le Corbusier who designed the Shodhan and Sarabhai Villas, the Sanskar Kendra and the Mill Owner's Association; and Buckminister Fuller who designed the Calico Dome. B. V. Doshi came to the city from Paris to supervise Le Corbusier's works and later set up the School of Architecture. His local masterpieces include Sangath, the Doshi-Hussain Gufa and the School of Architecture. Charles Correa, who became a partner of Doshi's, designed the Gandhi Ashram and Achut Kanvinde the Indian Textile Industries Research Association. Christopher Charles Benninger's first work, the Alliance Francaise, is located in the Ellis Bridge area. Hasmukh C. Patel, and his son Dr. Bimal Patel, are renowned architects of the city having designed the St. Xavier's High School Loyola Hall, Gujarat High Court and the Ahmedabad Management Association. Anant Raje recently designed a major addition to Louis Kahn's campus, the Indian Institute of Management.

Parts of Ahmedabad are known for their speciality of folk art. The Paldi area is famous for shops selling works of embroidery from the Kutch and Saurashtra regions. The artisans of Rangeela pol are famous for making bandhinis (tie and dye work), while the cobbler shops of Madhupura sell traditional mojri footwear. High-quality idols of Ganesha and other religious icons are made in huge numbers in the Gulbai Tekra area. The shops at the Law Garden are famous for their mirror work handicraft. Victorian architecture is showcased in most college, railway station and government buildings, mainly constructed during the colonial period.

Many Gujarati intellectuals migrated to Ahmedabad due to its prosperity. Three main literary institutions were established in Ahmedabad for the promotion of Gujarati literatureGujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarati Sahitya Parishad and Gujarat Sahitya Sabha. Musicians and instrumentalists from across the world come to perform at the popular classical music festival held each 1 January by the Saptak School of Music. The Sanskar Kendra — one of the many buildings in Ahmedabad designed by Le Corbusier — is a city museum depicting history, art, culture and architecture of Ahmedabad. The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial have a permanent display of photographs, documents and other articles of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. The Calico Museum of Textiles has a large collection of Indian and international fabrics, garments and textiles. Ahmedabad maintains a strong popular literary tradition in large public libraries maintained by the literary societies, research and government institutions and colleges. The Hazrat Pir Mohammad Shah Library has a collection of rare original manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Sindhi and Turkish languages.[52]

Sports

The Sardar Patel Stadium

Cricket is the most popular sport in the city. Sardar Patel Stadium, built in 1982, hosts both one-day internationals and test matches.[53] The stadium also hosted the 1996 Cricket World Cup.[54] Ahmedabad also has a second cricket stadium at the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's Sports Club of Gujarat which is the home ground of the Gujarat cricket team that plays in domestic tournament of Ranji Trophy.[55] City is represented by Ahmedabad Rockets in Indian Cricket League which is played in Twenty20 format of the game. Other sports gaining popularity are field hockey, badminton, tennis, and squash. Ahmedabad currently has three golf courses.[56] Mithakhali Multi Sports Complex is being developed by the AMC to promote various indoor sports.[57] There has been a significant increase in recent years in the number of private sports clubs, gymkhanas, gymnasia and sports teams sponsored by corporations, private associations, schools and colleges. Young people congregate in the evenings to play cricket and football at numerous public and neighbourhood grounds. Recently Ahmedabad hosted national level games for roller skating and Table Tennis.[58] Kart racing is fast gaining popularity in the city, with facility of 380 meter long track based on Formula One concept.[59][60] In 2007, Ahmedabad hosted the 51st national level shooting games.[61] Geet Sethi, a five-time winner of the World Professional Billiards Championship and a recipient of India's highest sporting award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, hails from Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad has produced cricketers such as Jasu Patel and Parthiv Patel who have been members of the Indian cricket team.[62][63] Tejas Bakre, a chess grandmaster, is from Ahmedabad.[64][65] Soccer has also become a very popular sport in Ahmedabad. Gujarat's best goalkeeper Anukal Yana is from Ahmedabad and Gujarat's best midfielder Rajesh Tadvi is also from Ahmedabad.

Transport

Ahmedabad BRTS bus
Ahmedabad BRTS

Air

The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport serves both domestic and international flights to and from Ahmedabad and the neighboring cities of Surendranagar, Mehsana and Nadiad. The airport connects the city with destinations across India and the world. It is the busiest airport in Gujarat, and one of the busiest in India. In 2008 the airport served 5,372,259 passengers.[66]

Rail

Ahmedabad is one of the six operating divisions of the Western Railway.[67] Railway lines connect the city to all towns in Gujarat and other major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Jabalpur,Raipur, Hyderabad, Nagpur etc. The Ahmedabad Railway Station, locally known as Kalupur Railway Station is the city's main terminus; Ahmedabad's other stations are Maninagar, Vatva, Gandhigram, Asarva, Chandlodia, Kali gam, Vastrapur, Sabarmati, Sarkhej, Naroda, Aamli[68].

The state government has registered MetroLink Express Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad Company Ltd as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the metro rail project connecting Ahmedabad with Gandhinagar. The state government plans to use this SPV as a nodal agency to implement the metro and regional rail project based on public-private partnership for Ahmedabad Region and Gandhinagar Cosmopolitan Region.

Road

National Highway 8, linking Delhi to Mumbai, passes though Ahmedabad connecting it with Gandhinagar, Delhi and Mumbai. The National Highway 8C links Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar. It is connected to Vadodara through National Expressway 1, a 94 km (58 mi) long highway with only two exits. This expressway is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project.[69].

Ahmedabad's main traffic arteries are the Ashram Road, C. G. Road, Relief Road and SG Highway. The SG Highway or Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway is also known as Ahmedabad's growth symbol. Transportation For Gandhinagar is available for 24 hours from SG highway. Auto rickshaws, share autos and buses are the most popular forms of public transport. The Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) runs the local bus service in the city. In 2005, AMTS began a drive to convert all of its petrol and diesel engine buses to run on compressed natural gas engines to reduce the effects of air pollution. AMTS runs 750 buses.[70] Bicycles and motorcycles are a popular medium of transport with the city's young people and students.

In 2001, Ahmedabad was ranked as the topmost polluted city in India, out of 85 cities, by the Central Pollution Control Board. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board gave auto rickshaw drivers an incentive of Rs. 10,000 to convert all 37,733 auto rickshaws in Ahmedabad to cleaner burning compressed natural gas to reduce pollution. As a result, in 2008, Ahmedabad became the 50th most polluted city in India.[71]

Ahmedabad BRTS

Ahmedabad BRTS is a Bus rapid transit system for the city, maintained by the Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL). A part of the first phase connecting R.T.O to Pirana was inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi on 14 October 2009[72][73][74] and the second half of the first phase connecting Chandranagar to Push Kunj gate at Kankaria was inaugurated on 25 December, 2009.[75] Remaining phases are under construction and will be operational by mid 2010.

The BRTS is modelled on the International standards and proved to be highly affordable and effective in operation. It has revolutionised the system of public transport in the city. The buses are comfortable and technically advanced. The system has dedicated corridors running along the middle of the city roads in which no other vehicles are allowed.

Education

The Gujarat University clock tower in Ahmedabad
Louis Kahn Plaza, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Schools in Ahmedabad are run either by the municipal corporation, or privately by entities, trusts and corporations. Most schools are affiliated with the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board. A few schools are affiliated to the Central Board for Secondary Education, Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, International Baccalaureate and National Institute of Open School. A large number of colleges in the city are affiliated with Gujarat University. Other deemed universities in Ahmedabad include the Nirma University of Science & Technology and the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University.[76] The Gujarat Vidyapith was established in 1920 by Mahatma Gandhi without a charter from the British Raj and became a deemed university in 1963.[77] Other institutions such as the Indian Institute of Management, the National Institute of Design, the Mudra Institute of Communications, the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, B.J. Medical College, NHL Municipal Medical College and the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology are located in Ahmedabad. Many national academic and scientific institutions, such as the Physical Research Laboratory, the Indian Space Research Organisation, were established in the 1960s largely through the efforts of prominent astrophysicist and industrialist Vikram Sarabhai.[78] The Ahmedabad Management Association is a notable institution established to impart management training and experience to young students and professionals. The campus was opened with a plan to offer 100 courses in various technical disciplines.[79]

The National Institute of Design (NID) is internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost multi-disciplinary institutions in the field of design education and research. NID has been a pioneer in industrial design education after Bauhaus and Ulm in Germany and is known for its pursuit of design excellence to make Designed in India, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (also known as IIMA), was ranked as the top business school in India according to the Business Today.[80] B-School Rankings in 2007-08 and the ET B-school Survey 2007.[81] It is widely considered to be also one of the toughest MBA programmes in the world to gain admission to as over 200,000 people apply each year for the entrance exam to get into roughly 250 places.

Media

Broadcasting tower of the All India Radio, Ahmedabad

Newspapers in Ahmedabad include Hindi dailies as Herald Young Leader, Metro Herald, and English dailies such as The Times of India, Indian Express, DNA, The Economic Times and The Financial Express. Newspapers in vernacular languages (Gujarati and Hindi) include Divya Bhaskar, Gujarat Samachar, Sandesh, Rajasthan Patrika and Metro. A large number of magazines, periodicals and journals are published from Ahmedabad. The city is home to the historic Navajivan Publishing House — founded in 1919 by Mahatma Gandhi.[82] The Gujarat film and television industry has a small but significant presence in the city.

The state-owned All India Radio is broadcast both on the Medium Wave and FM bands in the city.[83] It competes with six private local FM stations — Radio Mirchi (98.3 MHz), Radio City (91.1 MHz), My fm (94.3 MHz), Radio One (95.0 MHz), Gyan Vaani (104.5 MHz) and S FM (93.51 MHz). Satellite radio was launched in the city by WorldSpace in 2005.[84] The state-owned television broadcaster Doordarshan provides free terrestrial channels, while two multi system operatorInCablenet and Siti Cable — provide a mix of Gujarati, Hindi, English and other regional channels via cable. Direct broadcast satellite is yet to gain popularity in Ahmedabad. A network of optical fibre cables connects almost the entire city. The city's telephone services are provided by landline and mobile operators such as BSNL, Reliance CDMA & Reliance GSM, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Tata Indicom. Broadband Internet services are provided in most parts of the city by the telecom companies.

References

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Further reading

  • Muktirajsinhji Chauhan and Kamalika Bose. History of Interior Design in India Vol 1 : Ahmedabad (2007) ISBN 8190409603
  • Altekar, Anant Sadashiv. A history of important ancient towns and cities in Gujarat and Kathiawad (from the earliest times down to the Moslem conquest. ASIN B0008B2NGA. 
  • Crook, Nigel (1993), India's Industrial Cities: Essays in Economy and Demography, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195631722 
  • Rajan, K. V. Soundra (1989). Ahmadabad. Archaeological Survey of India. 
  • Forrest, George William. Cities of India. Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 0-543-93823-9. 
  • Gandhi, R (1990), Patel: A Life, Navajivan Press, Ahmedabad, ASIN B0006EYQ0A 
  • Michell, George (2003). Ahmadabad. Art Media Resources. ISBN 81-85026-03-3. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid

Ahmedabad (also spelled Ahmadabad) is the sixth largest city (pop. 6.5 millions) of India. It is the commercial hub of the state of Gujarat, though it is not the capital, which is Gandhinagar, 30 km to the north. Although it is not very well known as a 'tourist' place, it is certainly worth a visit. Actually, the fact that there are fewer tourists, will often get you a nicer welcome here.

Understand

King Karandev 1, the Solanki Ruler, had waged a war against the Bhil king of Ashapall or Ashaval. After his victory, Karandev established the city called "Karnavati". This Hindu kingdom of Karnavati retained its importance till early 15th century when Gujarat fell to the Muslim Sultanate.

In 1411, Sultan Ahmed Shah conquered Karnavati, and after his name Karnavati was renamed to Ahmedabad.

The city was built in open and spacious plane to the East of Sabarmati. It comprised of smaller known Fort as Bhadra Fort. The city fort wall was enclosed containing 12 Gates. The city of Ahmedabad went on expanding in every direction by the addition of new areas on both the sides of the river. And with the well laid out beautiful buildings, lakes and mosques.

In 1753 combined armies of Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaekwad took the fort, which resulted into end of Mughal Rule in Ahmedabad. In 64 years during the rule of Gaekwad and Peshwa, city became cleaner. In 1818 British annexed Ahmedabad via cunning. During this period municipality Committee was founded, Railway link was established.

Dalpatram Memorial
Dalpatram Memorial

The British restricted themselves to the cantonment area and didn’t take much interest in the city. Nor did they get around to colonizing Ahmedabad culturally; they didn't set up schools, churches, clubs all over the city, the way they did in other cities they integrated to their way of life.

So, unlike most other large Indian cities, Ahmedabad is not an English speaking city by nature - but language is never a problem as it has emerged as an international trading hub of Gujarat and almost everybody speaks English. The local language is Gujarati. You can get around by using Hindi or English with most people. The locals are by and large a friendly folk so you’ll get by, even if you don't speak any Indian languages.

Ahmedabad was a cradle of the non-violent movement for India's independence, being host to the Sabarmati ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Ahmedabad poses a mixture of rich tradition and modern feel. Ahmedabad is famous for the Navaratri festival. It's considered to be the longest dance festival on earth. Navratri rocks Ahmedabadi people and their guests too.

The Gujarati community is largely known for its hospitality and for being shrewd businessmen. Ahmedabad is a big industrial city long reputed for its textile industry, and today more so for its chemical, petroleum, international trade & IT industries. It is also well-known for the Finance Wizards and as the modern hub of Jain Religion. The city has been put on world map by institutions like Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad, National Institute of Design, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology, IHM, MICA, Petroleum Institute, EDI, Nirma University, Swaminarayan Gurukul , CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology) University , NIFT and a few others. The place has become a landmark for good education practices.

Climate

Ahmedabad is by and large a hot place. Summer starts by Mid-March and lasts up to Mid-June. The typical temperature here on a hot sunny day in May would be between 34-44 degrees Celsius (93.2-111.2 degrees Fahreneheit). It is advisable not to visit this place during summer. With arrival of Monsoon by Mid-June, the city is a fun place. You will be able to enjoy various Monsoon specialties of the city like Boiled or Roasted Corn Dishes on road - side stalls or some special local dishes like Khichu during this season. There are also some famous Hindu festivals like Rakshabandhan (or Rakhi) and Janmastami - the birth date of Lord Krishna fall during this season. You may sometimes end up in a water logging problem though. Winter is the best season to visit the city. The typical temperature in the city during winter is between 5-20 degrees Celsius (41-68 degrees Fahrenheit). It's fun visiting various open-air restaurants and road-side stalls in winter.

Get in

By plane

The airport is just 15 km north-east from the city-centre. The airport is expanding with permissions for many international air lines being given and development of new terminals. http://www.ahmedabadairport.com/

There are non-stop international flights to London and flights to New York, Newark, Frankurt, Chicago, and Atlanta via Mumbai served by Air India. Non-stop connections are available for Muscat, Kuwait (Kuwait Airways), Dubai (Emirates), Doha Qatar (Qatar Airlines), Sharjah, and Singapore (Singapore Airlines). Emirates flies 5 times per week between Dubai and Ahmedabad. Singapore Airlines has flights between Singapore and Ahmedabad twice a week.

Ahmedabad is well-connected domestically via daily flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Chennai, Bangalore, Goa, Kolkata, Jaipur, Pune, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Nagpur with connections to several other Indian cities and towns. Recently, flights to Kandla and Surat have also been launched. Most domestic airlines have a flight in and out of Ahmedabad.

By train

Ahmedabad is connected with Mumbai(500 km), Vadodara Jaipur, Jodhpur and Delhi with trains several times a day. Daily connections (or multiple weekly connections) are also available to several other major cities including Bikaner, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Udaipur, Indore, Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Nagpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Chennai, Nagarcoil, Trivendram, Banglaru, and Koimbttur. Direct trains are also available for Jammu, Patna, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Kolhapur, Goa, Mangalore, Cochin, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Bangalore.Ahmedabad's fifteen other stations are Maninagar,Vatva, Gandhigram, Asarva, Chandlodia,Chandkheda,Saij,Kalol jn, Kali gam, Vastrapur, Sabarmati, Sarkhej,Naroda,Gandhinagar,Khodiyar,Aamli[

By car

You could drive to Ahmedabad from Mumbai on the new highway (NH-8) that's been built, but it will take you around 8 hours (without any traffic jams) to do the 550 odd Kilometers. You will pass Vapi, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, and Nadiad on your way. Driving on the NH-8 is an energy sapper and no fun as there is a huge amount of truck traffic. Be aware that broken down trucks on the highway regularly cause traffic jams for hours on end. The journey from Vadodara to Ahmedabad can also be done through the dedicated express way (NE-1) which does not pass through any towns , rather than NH-8.

Driving to Delhi is a very tiring journey but could be interesting as you can stop at Udaipur, Ajmer and Jaipur on your way.

Get around

By rickshaw

The best way to get around is with the yellow and green 3 wheeled taxicabs known as the auto-rickshaws or simply Rickshaws. Hollering 'Auto' or 'Rickshaw' at a passing Rickshaw should be enough to catch the drivers attention. In most cases, the drivers would be able to understand Hindi and maybe even a few words of English. They are normally quite helpful and are not known to cheat tourists. There are some taxis but you will need to book them in advance or at the airport or railway station. You can also rent a "Qualis", a slang generic term for a SUV-taxi named after the common Toyota Qualis(but now are available as many other bands, such as the Chevy and Mahindra). Normally, they are offered with a driver, and they will stay with you all day, week, or even month, if you'd like. This chauffeur can normally understand English, and knows the city very well. Most famous ricksaws are of Tushar Riksha Company founded by famous Ricksaw driver Tushar Dave, who owns more than 100 rikshas in Ahmedabad. Tushar rickshaws are famous for their weird look and good service.

By bus

For using the local buses, you will need to know some Gujarati, as the routes and numbers are written only in that language. Besides, buses are the most common transport facility for the common people in the city and hence they are overcrowded at times.

Talk

The local language is Gujarati. Hindi is understood by almost everyone and English is prevalent amongst educated people. The education ratio is improving at a much faster pace though as the city is developing as an education center with some great institutions. English is at least partially understood by most people in the tourist industry.

See

Ahmedabad has several floridly carved historic monuments including the Stepwell at Adalaj and the Rani Mosques (dedicated to Rani Sipri and Rani Rupmati). It is also home to many fine museums and art galleries. Modern office buildings and malls dot the more recently developed areas.

Important places to see include:

Swaminarayan Temple
Swaminarayan Temple
  • Gandhi Aashram Located near Vadaj, the Sabarmati Aashram was once house of Mahatma Gandhi. The ashram was founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1915, and today without doubt, it is the biggest tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. It lies on the tranquil stretch of the Sabarmati river and was referred to as the Satyagraha Ashram during the lifetime of the Mahatma. It was from here, that the Mahatma began his famous 'Dandi March' in 1930 to protest against the Salt Tax imposed by the British. One can see the three wise monkeys and many more of Gandhiji's teachings at the ashram premises. The ashram today continues the work started by Mahatma and houses a handicrafts centre, a handmade paper factory and a spinning wheel factory. Besides, there are several other attractions for the tourist.
  • Sidi Sayed Mosque, Sidi Sayed Mosque is unique for its exquisite screens, which are praised for their amazing Jhali screen, framed, in the ten semi-circular windows. The screen carved out of one rock is just exceptional. A visit to this superb and outstanding example of delicate carving is an absolute must.
  • Bhadra Fort, To add special charm to the varied sights of the city there is the Bhadra Fort, which once housed royal palaces and well-laid gardens. It boasts the temple of Bhadrakali and was built in 1411 during the Maratha rule.
  • Akshardham Temple, Rich and Wonderful architecture. Located in Gandhinagar, about 20 km from Ahmedabad.
  • Science City, Newly built Science City is one latest happening place in the city
  • Vaishnodevi Temple, Replica of famous Vaishnodevi temple located at Sola Gandhinagar Highway.
  • Amar dham, This religious site is known for its architectural grandeur.
  • International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple, This hindu temple depicts Krishna, and his lover, Radha, who is regarded as the personification of love.
  • Kankaria Lake. A circular lake built in 1451 by Sultan Qutub-ud-Din. In the centre of the lake is an island garden with a summer palace known as Nagina Wadi. It has a very beautiful Musical Fountain show (although the music isn't too good, the lights and fountain are worth a trip). The lake is a popular recreation centre surrounded by parks, 'Bal Vatika' - an aquarium, a boat club, a natural history museum and a zoo.
  • Kamla Nehru Zoo This is near to Kankaria Lake and one of the best zoos in India.
  • Vastrapur Lake. Newly constructed artificial lake.
  • Law Garden, Considered the main center of activity in Ahmedabad, one can purchase handcrafts and traditional Gujarati outfits, amongst other things.
  • Sarkhej Roja, This is a small city located 10km southwest of Ahmedabad. It is widely known for its architectural complexes.
  • Hathisingh Jain Temple, Shahibaug Road. An impressive white structure, the Jain temple built of white marble and elaborately carved is dedicated to Dharmanath - the 15th Jina or Jain Apostle. Similar to all Jain temples, this temple to is rich in intricate carvings displaying, among other things, musicians.
  • Calico Textile Museum. One of the finest textile museums in the world in one of Gujarat's famous carved wooden havelis. The museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century. There is also an excellent reference library on textiles. Located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in Shahibagh the Calico Museum of Textiles, widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was constructed in 1949. It has the finest collection of not just 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. An excellent reference library on textiles is found here.
  • Juma Masjid, (mosque). It is amongst the most popular tourist sights in the city. Built of yellow sandstone this mosque stands on 260 pillars which support 15 domes at varying elevations. The mosque was built by Ahmad Shah in 1423. It is easily accessible as it stands in the centre of the old city. This imposing structure reflects the Muslim architecture of that period.
Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid
  • Jhulta Minara, Quite an unusual structure, Jhulta Minara or swaying minarets are a part of the mosque of Siddi Bashir and can be moved back and forth by applying a little force at the topmost arch. One of the minarets was partly demolished by an Englishman in his endeavors to unravel the mystery of the swaying minarets. The mosque was built by master craftsmen and the crucial mechanism that leads to the vibration is still a mystery. The other interesting fact here is that these minars stand the test of the rumbling trains that pass not very far away from them.
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM)[1], in Vastrapur, the best School of Management in India was built by Louis Kahn and is a wonderful architectural creation.
  • Darpana Academy of Performing Arts[2], is one of the oldest performing arts academies in the city. Its amphitheater Natarani has a fabulous performance venue overlooking the Sabarmati river and is one of the few places to bring internationally acclaimed performing artists to the city.
  • Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, It is one of the best arts displaying museum in city. It has a wide collection of Indian miniature paintings, stone sculptures, terracotta, paintings of Tagore, art of Nepal and Tibet, bronzes, textiles, wood work, cloth paintings, metal sculptures, coins. A must see museum in Ahmedabad city.
  • L. D. Institute of Indology, Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of Indology was established in Ahmedabad by Muni Shri Punyavijayji and Shri Kasturbhai Lalbhai. The museum houses priceless collection of books, manuscripts and other reference material from ancient India.The museum is a treasure trove of manuscripts relating to Jainism. In all there are about 45,000 printed books with 75,000 manuscripts including out of which 500 are illustrated ones. These documents from the past cover a wide range of subjects like Vedas, Agamas, Buddhism, Tantras, Jain Darshana, System of Indian Philoshy, Jaina Philoshpy, Grammer and Poetics etc.The institute has also published seven volumes of catalogues in languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, Old Gujrati, Prakrit and Rajasthani. The institute also conducts periodical workshops on manuscriptology and paleography. It can be learning experience if you get to attend these workshop.
  • Nirma University, It is a private university developed by the legendary businessman Mr. Karsanbhai Patel, founder of one of the biggest Indian FMCG house Nirma. The campus of the university, which is spread in about 100 acres is worth a visit. You would also like to see the internal infrastructure and the overall administration of the university, that puts it in line with any international university. It is located at S. G. Highway about 20 km distance from the heart of the city - C. G. Road. [3]
  • Swaminarayan Gurukul, It is a residential and day boarding school run by the Swaminarayan faith of Hinduism. The infrastructure and the education systems are worth watching. On the first look of the main school building, you may feel that you are visiting some ancient palace of a powerful king. The school teaches not only formal education but also provides training in horse-riding, archery, dairy development, Yoga, Ayurveda, etc. After your visit, you may feel like putting you own child in this school.
  • S. G. Highway, or Sarkhej - Gandhinagar Highway, the recently developed hub of entertainment in Ahmedabad, is worth putting in couple of evening for. From fun and movies at Fun Republic and Wide Angle or R-World to temples like Mini Vaishnow Devi Temple and ISKON temple, you will find almost everything that you need for entertainment. The same highway leads you to Gandhinagar as well, where you can visit Akshardham temple and many other places of interest.
  • Dada Hari ni Vav (step well)
  • Veechar Utensil Museum, the only museum in the country showcasing over 3000 utensils used by the various households in India. It's a personal collection of Mr. Surendra Patel who has curated and designed the museum. The museum is a part of Vishalla, a restaurant serving ethnic Gujarati Food. It's a magnificent museum showcasing a very different culture of India.
  • National Insitute of Design, India's Premier Design Institute with over 16 disciplines of Design.
  • Makar Sankranti or festival of kites or "Uttarayan", 14th January, in the festival of Makar Sankranti or festival of kites or "Utarayan". The festival marks the end of winter and return of the sun to northern hemisphere and hence is named "Uttar ayan". On this particular day, everybody in the city start the day through kite flying and continues into night with the flying of lamps (Tukkal) attached to kites in the sky. The sky remains dotted with colourful kites through out the day.
  • RahskaBandhan - A festival celebrated by sisters and brothers. The festival consists of a sister tying a rahki on the brother's hand. They ask to be by their side forever and also save them from all the problems they might face in the future. The festival is generally celebrated in the month of August.
  • Holi - Better know as festival of colours, where people apply color on their beloved very well known as 'gulal', which was ideally made of 'Kesuda' a flowering plant. But, now people use the powdered form. People gather at one place forgetting all their problems and have fun in this festival. It is also very well associated with myth or Holika - Phrlad & Hirnayakashyapu.
  • Navratri (festival of nine nights), Navratri or the festival of nine nights is devoted to Goddess Shakti. The festival also has the famous folk dance of Gujarat "Garba". The festival continues for nine nights, everybody takes part into it with same emphasis. Each night starts with ceremonial "Aarti" and is followed by Garba until midnight. The Garba dance is carried out around the statue of Goddess Shakti. Garba is also played with Dandiyas in hand. During these nights, city is been beautifully decorated and nights become short.
  • Eid-Ul-Fitr OR Ramdhan Eid EID-UL-FITR is celebrated on the first day of Shaw'waal, at the completion of Ramadan. Shaw'waal is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. The Eid-al-Fitr is a very joyous day; it is a true Thanksgiving Day for the believing men and women. On this day, Muslims show their real joy for the health, strength and the opportunities of life, which Allah has given to them to fulfill their obligation of fasting and other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan.

The Muslims of Ahmedeabad and surrounding villages come to Eidgah (a holy place to perform Eids' Namaz (prayer) and Shahi Jam-E-Masjid. The people decorate their homes, shops, buildings, greet each other etc.

Ahmedabad is well known for its textile industries. Be sure to look at the traditional hand embroidered and tie 'n die clothes, and if you are buying from the roadside shops be prepared to haggle. It would not be advisable to try these without a local guide. The city's main market area is situated at Teen Darwaja, Dhalgarwad, Ratan Pole, Manek Chowk(old areas)near Lal Darwaja and newer markets like C.G.Road and Sarkhej - Gandhinagar highway near Vastrapur. It is generally a crowded area, but you get a better variety of clothes (it is very crowded during festival seasons). The street side shops near Law Garden also offers good choices. Some shops such as Bandhej and Sanskruti offer these traditional items at fixed (and maybe overpriced) rates. But now the big shopping malls are offering almost all the things at a very cheap rate. You would also love to visit some of the local sweet shops, where traditional Gujarati sweets will catch your attention. Some of the famous shops are Bhogilal Mulchand Kandoi, Jai Hind, Ras Ranjan, etc.

Eat

Ahmedabad is a gastronomic paradise. You will find at least one restaurant in every nook and corner, anywhere in Ahmedabad. Gujarati people are fond of eating and the food generally tends to be on the sweeter side. Gujaratis are mostly vegetarians hence most local fare consists of vegetarian fare. However, with the advent of international and domestic food chains non-vegetarian fare has become popular in recent times. Ahmedabad is famous for its ice-creams because of abundance of dairy products in the state and Gujaratis' penchant for sweets as well. Gujarati specialties include Dhokla, Khandvi, Srikhand, Haandvo, Bhajiya amongst others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gujarati_cuisine).

There are lots of Gujarati dining halls where you can get unlimited "thali" meals within $4. A thali consists of variety of concoctions including salads, appetizers, snacks, breads, pulses, vegetable curries and sweets. This is a very unique experience in terms of not only taste and quality but also the way the items are served.

If you have not stayed in India for long, select a food place which is famous and well organized (hotels, big restaurants). Otherwise, its fun to eat at one of the road side stalls, especially at the Khau Galli in Law Garden area and Khan Pan Bazaar in Manekchawk. Various stalls start operating in both these places in the evening and run late in the night. You will enjoy the food like Paani - Puri (Gol Gappa), Indian Chat, Indian Sandwiches, North Indian, Indian-Chinese and some continental cuisines, amazingly at road-side stalls and for a very reasonable price of less than a $1 per item. Recently, SG Road in the western part of city has transformed into an restaurant strip. It has no less than 100 restaurants in a five-mile stretch offering most varieties in all price ranges.

Some of the notable restaurants in the city are:

  • Vishala (Area: Vasna Toll Naka): Best Dish: Thali Meals. This restaurant is a must-visit for any tourist visiting the city. Not only does it serve delectable Gujarati fare, but it is most famous for its village-like decor and an utensils museum. It has several pre-dinner activities like puppet-show for kids, folk music and dance, snake-charmers, etc. Of late, many restaurants have sprouted over the city especially providing a similar experience, but for less than $8, Vishala is truly amazing.
  • Tadka Punjabi (Area: Opp. Vastrapur Lake, Vastrapur) Serves authentic Punjabi food specialties like Amritsari Kulcha, Bathure-chhole, stuffed parathas, lassi, etc. If you want to try pure Punjabi taste, give this place a visit.
  • Sankalp (Area: CG Road, SG Road) One of the famous institutions of Ahmedabad specializing in South Indian fare. It is located in various parts of the city and provides excellent South Indian variety along with other items. It set an Guinness World Record for the "longest dosa (thin-crepe) in the World" (25 feet)
  • Havmor (Area: Panchwati, Stadium Circle) Famous for its Chola Bhatura a famous north Indian dish. Some of the novelty ice creams like Raja Rani, Cassata Roll Cut, Tall Beauty, etc. are Havmor's own creations and specialities
  • Choice Snacks (Area: CG Road) Excellent Chaat items including Bhel, Indian-style pizza and sandwiches.
  • Honest (Area: Panchwati, SG Road, etc.) Another well-known fast-food chain in Ahmedabad that started as road-side joint serving Pav-Bhaji and Pulav in Law Garden area and now a fledging restaurant chain
  • Asarfi Kulfi (Area: Panchwati & Law Garden) They only serve dessert. Try any of the Kulfis
  • Bhagwati Chat (Area: Panchwati) The best dish by far is the paneer tikka. Try the gulab jamun or jabeli for dessert.
  • Oswal (Area: Ashram Road Nr. Statue of Mahatma Gandhi) Snack shop specializing in gujarati snacks and sweets like Jalebis (sweet-syrup filled pretzels), Fafda (flat chick-pea biscuits served with spicy papaya chutney). Quality can be an issue for unacclimatized tourists hence, insist of fresh Fafda and Jalebis.
  • Raipur Bhajia House (Area: Raipur Darwaja) Famous for Bhajias (much better taste & quality than the Astodia Bhajia)
  • Cafe Upper Crust (Area: Vijay Char Rasta, Vastrapur) A popular cafe amongst the younger crowd. It serves continental fare including veg/non-vegetarian sizzlers, pastas, sandwiches, etc. The bakery has breads, cakes and desserts that are also worth trying. Look out for their special food festivals.
  • Mirch Masala (Area: CG Road, SG Road) Serves North-Indian fare in a typical highway "dhaba" setting. Excellent food but more interesting for its decor.
  • King's Food Factory (Area: Panchwati cross road, CG Road) It is new restaurant chain. They serve indian cuisine as well as some spanish, italian, chinese and american food. Very nice dessert are available in the coffee parlour and there is a possibility to play some scrabble or uno upstairs. It is very clean place, all staff speak english, menu includes desciption concerning how spicy the given dishes are; wi-fi, A/C and two plazma screens are at resturant guests' disposal. Perfect place for lunch or to gather for a nice dinner
  • ZK(Area: Relief Road). One of the best and oldest non-veg restaurant in the city

Other than these that are several other restaurants that serve excellent food for example (Swati Snacks, House of MG both famous for Gujarati food in chic setting, Bawarchi for Punjabi food, etc.) For western palates, a good way to find new restaurants is to ask a local, especially someone young who would certainly know about such places. International chains like Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway are present throughout the city.

For some street food following places are quite famous:

  • R. K. Vadapau,Vijay Char Rasta, Vada Pau at it's best, it is also known as Anna's Vada Pau
  • Karnavati Dabeli,Opp. Hirabhai Tower, Uttam Nagar, Maninagar, Best Kachhi Dabeli
  • Chamunda Pan Corder,JodhPur Char rasta, N/R Patel Trawels, Ahmedabad, Best Singola Pan ever in Ahmedabad - Devendra (Devu na Special Singola Pan), Hottest place of town.. to get 135 rajkot style masala & pan.

Drink

Gujarat is the only Indian state where alcohol is prohibited. But this applies only to Indians. If you have a non-Indian passport / green card holder/ PR status, you can get an alcohol permit valid for one month by going to a liquor shop large hotel and purchasing one at their liquor shop. Hotels that have liquor shops include: Cama Hotel in Khanpur, Hotel Inder Residency, Opp. to Gujarat College, Comfort Inn President Hotel at CG Road among others open from 12 noon to 8 pm Monday to Saturday ph no. +91 79 26467575. Many local people will be able to direct you because they can purchase alcohol on a 'health' license. If you are non-resident of Gujarat, then one can get liquor permits issued at liquor shop on showing proof of travel to Ahmedabad like (1) Air/Train/Bus ticket,(2)any Identity proof by Govt. with Photo, Address & birthdate preferably drining licence and (3a)your Ahmedabad Local address proof like Residence Address of Local friend/relatives electric/telephone bill/ driving licence or (3b)Proof of stay at hotel

However, if you are staying longer you will need a non-resident permit. For that, you will need: a photocopy of passport including your entry stamps, a photocopy of visa, a photocopy of a local resident’s ID card (drivers license will probably be easiest). As of January 3rd 2009, 1000 INR (although the person may ask for Rs. 50 extra as a bribe but should not be given). Note: If you can get a local person to go with you, the entire experience will be a lot easier.

Directions 1 Get your copies notarized as ‘true’ copies. If you don’t have easy access to someone who can do this, the Prohibition and Excise Department will direct you to a nearby office. This will cost about 10INR per copy. 2. Go to Prohibition and Excise Department which is just off the Ellis bridge on the Victoria garden side of old city . 3. Pick up the bank payment form, and get copies notarized if you haven’t already done this. 4. Fill in the name and local address for the permit holder 5. Get a rickshaw and go to the State Bank of India which is very near by. If a rickshaw is not available, the bank is in walking distance. 6. Pay 1050 (or the asked fee) at the State Bank of India 7. Get an ink stamp on form from bank 8. Take your copies, your payment slip and your forms back to the Prohibition and Excise Department. 9. The Department office will provide you with form F.L. /A-1. Fill out form and ask for more than the maximum allowed (ask for about 6 units) to ensure you get the maximum. 10. Pay 2 rupees at the Department office. Receive two stamps which are to be stuck onto get form F.L. / A-1 form to show you have paid.

You will either be able to pick up the license immediately, or in a few days. Once you have your license, you take it to a large hotel where they have a liquor shop, and make your purchases.

Bootlegging is rampant, but it carries a risk as well. Amazingly, most Indian made brands cost less here than they do in Mumbai. Decent brands of Indian whisky starts just around Rs.200 as do rum, vodka and gin. Premium brands range from Rs.600 to 1800 (for 12 year old scotch).

Beer is difficult to come by (this is where your permit comes in handy) as is wine/vodka/gin/brandy/scotch/champagne/rum.

But booze is strictly a private affair and don't expect to order a drink at a restaurant (obviously there are no bars here) and you will have to drink in your hotel room or at someone's home. If someone invites you to a party, there is a good chance you will be offered a drink there. Under a new amendment to the law prohibiting alcohol, you cannot be arrested or detained for consuming alcohol illegally unless you misbehave under influence or indulge in bootlegging. However, it is best to consume alcohol at your hotel room or at a very close friends place. Majority of the guests staying at a hotel consume it in their rooms and there is always an implied consent from the hotel who will serve you ice, soda and glasses.

Many small shops sell lassi (a yogurt drink). Lassi choices include: sweet, salty, with almonds. Farki, Girish Cold Drinks and Krishna Dairy are some of the famous ones. Apart from this, Janta Ice Cream and Cold Drinks offers a delicious drink cold Chocolate Coco, a chocolate flavored thick - shake. Janta has its shops across Ahmedabad. There is also a very wide variety of fruit juices available. Most large places like HavMor are reputable and use good water, you should exercise care when drinking at smaller places. Besides, Ahmedabad is a place where most ice cream is consumed in the world. You would love to test many of the local brands like Havmore, Chills Thrills & Frills, Rajsthan Ice Cream, etc.

Sleep

Budget

Cheaper hotels are available on the Eastern side of the Sabarmati in the old town area.

More expensive and newer hotels are available in the more affluent Navrangpura area.

In case you don't have an idea where to go when you arrive to the city, you could ask a rickshaw driver to take you to Relief Road which has plenty of budget accomodation available and is pretty close to the main train station.

  • Lemon Tree Hotel, Ahmedabad Located in Ahmedabad’s downtown shopping and commercial area of CG Road in Navrangpura, this attractive and airy hotel is walking distance from Hazira LNG, Adani House, Vadilal Industries, Suzlon Energy, HDFC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Reliance Capital, Bank of Baroda and more. [4]
  • Ginger Hotel is located off Drive-in road, close to the SG Road Business district. Expect a no-frills, business class hotel experience, similar to the other Gingers. http://www.gingerhotels.com/ahmedabad/hotel_profile.aspx
  • Hotel Royal Highness is located centrally in the heart of business and shopping areas at Lal Darwaja. This hotel charges a premium mid range hotel tariff, with around 50 rooms and 8 conference rooms. The stay at this hotel is not satisfactory in my opinion. Worn out carpets, poor quality furnishings, run down bathroom fittings activated my hygiene-radar. The buffet breakfast was also quite sad.
  • Hotel Cama Park Plaza is a landmark of culture and comfort in the city of Ahmedabad, suited for business and leisure travelers alike. It is located centrally in the heart of business and shopping areas. It combines old-world charm with 21st century amenities to make your stay truly comfortable and memorable. Thus it is truly a endless fusion of traditional and modernity.
  • Hotel Comfort Inn Sunset is a beautiful hotel with its unique architectural design. Hotel enthralls guests with a relaxing lounge and a warm welcome. Its close proximity from Airport is another advantage. It provides a high standard of hygiene & comfortable living for the business traveller as well as tourists to the city. It provides guests with an atmosphere of quality hospitality which lives up to the international standards of a first class hotel at an affordable price.
  • Hotel Fortune is a leading economy hotel of Ahmedabad located in the heart of the city's business center, located around 10 km from the Airport. It offers its guests a complete range of amenities, including large meeting rooms, state-of-the-art business facilities and best food & beverage options. Its close proximity to city center, government houses and major business center in the city is its location advantage. All this makes this hotel an ideal place for both businessmen and travelers alike.
  • Hotel Comfort Inn President is a known for its delicious food at multi-cuisine "Princess" restaurant and hospitality and luxury, style, and comfort they offer to the guests. This Hotel is situated at the prime location of C.G.Road which is one of the most posh and prime commercial areas in Ahmedabad. Hotel is situated in the very heart of the Ahmedabad city. Do not forget to look up the friendly General Manager - Mr Parvinder Khosla. Visit hotel's liquor shop and buy liquor bottles from wide range of brands of whiskies,wines,beers etc. against liqour permit issued in the liquor shop to non-residents of gujarat and foreigners against their recognised photo identity proof with address e.g. passport, election card, motor driving licence,etc.
  • Hotel Quality Inn is the modern, full serviced, centrally air-conditioned business class hotel of Ahemdabad. The hotel is located in the hub of commercial district of Ahmedabad at the bank of Sabarmati River. Hotel provides an excellent view of the river at dawn and in the evening. It offers 69 well-appointed executive rooms, business & luxury suites of various categories, multi cuisine restaurant, health club, business center and much more.
  • Hotel Westend provides its guests with all the modern amenities available in a friendly and homely atmosphere. Hotel is conveniently situated in the commercial area of Ahmedabad. The hotel gives its guests a delicate combination of old-world charm and the modern ambience. The Westend offers a lot more than what you'd expect, landmark location, exotic cuisine, tasteful ambience and warm hospitality that makes you come back again and again.
  • Hotel Country Inn is a new four star hotel in the city of Ahmedabad, suited for business travelers. It is located centrally in the heart of business and shopping areas, off Drive-In Road.
  • Hotel Taj Residency offers warm hospitable service with distinct charm. Conveniently located guests are only a few minutes away from Ahmedabad’s international and domestic airports, and 15 minute drive from the central business district and state capital, Gandhinagar.
  • Hotel Le Meridien is located in middle part of the city, with a beautiful view of the Sabarmati river. Hotel is spread into six floors. In terms of its location and elegant interiors both, this sixty three rooms property is one of its kind in the city of Ahmedabad. The lobby has granite pillars and marble floors which enhance the atrium view of the hotel. The Rooms are well equipped and aesthetically designed.
  • Hotel Pride is located in the Judge's Bungalows area by Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway.
  • Hotel Fortune Landmark is located at Ashram Road, an ITC group of hotel offering luxurious stays and best restaurants of the city.
  • Hotel Inder Residency is situated in calm and quiet western suburbs of Ahmedabad close to main commercial roads: C.G & Ashram road. Easy accessibility to the Railway Station and Airport, and it's close location to main Ahmedabad, and other business areas makes the hotel more convenient.
  • Hotel Courtyard by Marriott Scheduled to open in Oct 2009, located on Satellite Road, an international chain of luxury hotel. Will probably be one of the better hotels of the city in the luxury segment.

Contact

The local area code is 79.

  • Emergency Help( At any time) - 108
  • Police - 100
  • Fire - 101
  • Ambulance - 102 / [[108]]
  • Airport Inquiry - 141 [5]
  • Railways I.V.R.S. - 139
  • Railways General Enquiry - 131
  • Telephone Directory Inquiry - 197
  • Telephone Local Assistance - 199
  • Emergency - 108 (a special no. introduced by the Gujarat State Govt. for any emergencies)

Get out

'''Adalaj Step-Well''' Adalaj is a village 18 kilometres to the north of Ahmedabad. The Vav (step-well) at Adalaj derives its name from the lady patron, Ruda, wife of the Vaghela chief, Virsinh; who built it in the 15th or 16th century A.D. The Vav, laid out in the north-south direction, the well in the north and in the south, have a total length of 75.3 metres. It is the only major monument of its kind, which has three entrance stairs leading to the stepped corridor. These three entrances meet in the first storey, underground, in a huge square platform, which has, to the top, an octagonal opening. The platform rests on 16 pillars, on the corners, and two in front of each side. The four corners of the platform are marked by four built-in shrines, with doors, windows, balconies. The stepped corridor begins from this square platform. The corridor is entirely surrounded by a one-metre high parapet with a rounded topping. It descends with four pavilion towers for five storeys. The walls of the Vav are veritable show cases of sculptures and ornamentation. the sculptures range from a king sitting on a stool under a parasol, to erotic scenes; and buttermilk churning girls. The door frames around the entrances of the spiral staircases to the octagonal shaft are surrounded by a parikrama, which is an enlarged version of the frames around the niches. String-courses running along the side walls embellish all parts of the structure, sometimes dividing the wall into horizontal sections. They also appear on the walls of the octagonal shaft, depicting floral or leaf patterns, or rows of animals. The five-storied, step-well located in the sleepy village of Adlaj is a marvel of architecture. This unique water work is an excellent blend of Hindu and Islamic styles. The intricately carved monument served religious and utilitarian purposes of the people around though its origin is marred by tragedy.

The Indo-Islamic style of architecture, which developed in India in the early centuries of the medieval period, is neither a local variant of Islamic art, nor a modification of Hindu art, but it is an assimilation of both the styles, though not always to an equal degree. It is so because each region in India has its own form of Indo-Islamic architecture, which varies from place to place and there is no standardization. On the other hand, Islamic art itself was a composite style, which had various Muslims influences-Turkish, Persian, and Arabic. Rulers from different parts of the Muslim world, who came to India and settle here, brought with them the artistic traditions of their regions. The intermingling of such traditions with local Indian practices resulted in various examples of Indo-Islamic art.Though both the Indian and Islamic styles have their own distinctive features, there are some common characteristics, which made fusion and adaptation easy. Both the styles favor ornamentation and buildings of both styles are marked by the presence of an open court encompassed by chambers or colonnades. The Adlaj Vav (step-well) is a classic example of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture and has features of both the styles. The intricate floral patterns, which are a part of the Islamic style, can be seen in harmony with Hindu symbolism, which includes depiction of animal and human forms. The profusely carved pillars on different levels of this step-well show strong Hindu and Jain influences, while the ornamentation at a number of places in this monument are influenced by mosques and mausoleum halls of the 15th-16th century Gujarat Sultans.

Built entirely of sandstone, one can enter into this step-well from three sides, which consist of octagonal landings with huge carved colonnades and intricately carved niches. The architecture of this well also shows the influence of the earlier Solanki rulers of Gujarat. Carvings of leafy creepers-typical adornment of Islamic architecture-co-exist with Hindu symbolism. Among the other carvings on the panels are a king sitting on a stool with two bearers, a scene depicting women churning buttermilk, musicians accompanying dancing women apart from abstract representations of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. One can also see a few Buddhist and Jain influences on some of the pillars and walls.

This stupendous structure with its elaborate and heavily ornamented temple-like finish and surrounding structures is a synthesis of various elements-earth, rock and water. On one story is a little Hindu shrine secretly hidden in an obscure corner. The step-well served both ritualistic as well as utilitarian needs. People from the nearby villages used to take water from the well and considered it holy. In the semi arid climate of Gujarat, the cool water from the vav provided a welcome break, particularly in the harsh summer months. Water from the vav was also used for irrigation. Openings in the ceilings above the landing enable light and air to enter the well. However, direct sunlight never reaches the flight of steps or landings except for a brief period at noon as the inner ceilings are arranged to receive the sunlight through these openings. According to a research, there was a total difference of six degrees between the outside and inside of the well, thus making it a veritable air-conditioner.

Innumerable strong and exquisitely carved pillars support each story of the vav and each available stone surface is profusely covered with carvings. Each landing has wide space suggesting that people, especially travelers, rested there while on journey. The main attraction of this step-well is the pool of water at the lowest level. Besides this, there is a niche here that houses an ami khumb or a pot that contains the water of life and a kalpa vriksha or a tree of life made out of a single stone slab. These sites attract the villagers on religious and auspicious occasions like marriages, sacred thread ceremonies (a ritual performed by Hindus) etc. In the vicinity of the well are graves of the six masons who were instrumental in erecting it. It is believed when Mohammed Begda asked them if another vav was possible, they replied in the affirmative. This proved to be their undoing and they were instantly put to death. Perhaps that is why the Adlaj step-well stands unrivalled till today.

The legend behind the origin of this step-well is as interesting as its architecture and is shrouded in beauty, romance and tragedy. In AD 1499, the area around Adlaj was known as Dandai Desh and was ruled by Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty. Around this time, Mohammed Begda, a Muslim ruler of a neighboring state attacked Dandai Desh and killed Rana Veer Singh. The beauty of the slain king's widow, Rani Roopba, enamored Mohammed Begda who sent her a proposal of marriage. The heartbroken but determined queen agreed to the proposal on the condition that he complete a five-storied step-well (vav) for her. The Muslim ruler, enticed by the charm of the queen, readily agreed.

The construction of this well had begun years ago under Rana Veer Singh but had to be stopped later. Begda resumed this project with great enthusiasm and got the well completed in record time. When this five-storied edifice was completed but for the dome, Begda renewed his proposal. The next day, Roopba took a round of the well and saying a final prayer, flung herself into the water and drowned. Mohammed Begda immediately stopped further construction but did not get the monument demolished probably because Roopba had employed Muslim masons who had decorated it with Islamic motifs. The incidents, which led to the erection of this unique well, are detailed on the walls and pillars of the vav in Sanskrit and Pali (an ancient language).

The small village of Adlaj is at a distance of 19 km from Ahmedabad and 5 km from Gandhinagar. It can be reached from either of the two cities by road. Travelers can take taxi or hire cars from these cities to reach Adlaj.

Shaking Minarets Just south of the railway station, outside the Sarangpur Gate, the Sidi Bashir Mosque is famed for its shaking minarets, or jhulta minars. When one minaret is shaken, the other rocks in sympathy. This is said to be a protection against earthquake damage. It's a fairly fanciful proposition, and one which you'll be unable to verify, unless of course you happen to be on the spot during an earthquake.

Nal Sarovar - Bird Sanctuary About 65 km from Ahmedabad, spread over 120 sq. kms, the lake - Nal Sarovar - the extensive reed beds and marshes are an ideal habitat for aquatic plants and animals. The lake attracts a large variety of birds like plovers, sandpipers, stints, cormorants, grebes and openbill storks among others. The best season to visit the sanctuary is November to February.

Thol Bird Sanctuary This sanctuary is about 30 km west of the city center. Just as Nal Sarovar, this lake attracts a large variety of bird species. It has become more preferable for the amdavadis to take a early morning trip here. Although it does not have any facilities like boating, it has turned out more favorable as this is a lesser known place. It will be best to rent a taxi for a morning as there is no public transport available here. November to March is the best time to visit Thol Sanctuary.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Ahmedabad

  1. The soon to be megacity of the Indian state of Gujarat. Ahmedabad is now referred to as Denim Capital of the World.

Simple English

Ahmedabad is a big city in West India. It is the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat and the seventh-largest city in India. Its population (amount of people living in it) is almost 5.1 million (5,100,000).[1] The river Sabarmati goes through it. Ahmedabad has a famous industry for textiles (clothes), which is why it is also called "the Manchester of the East."[2]

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