Ahmedabad is India’s sixth largest city and also their first UNESCO World Heritage City. This charming city has always been the heartbeat of western India with a wonderful mélange of old and new Ahmedabad, its wealth of architecture – from centuries-old mosques, mausoleums, museums to cutting-edge contemporary design. Everything in Ahmedabad has a story to tell and it is stories well worth listening to!
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
The temple was built in 1822 as a shrine dedicated to Narayan Dev on the instructions of Swaminarayan, who was the founder of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. The temple is an example of the 19th century with kaleidoscopic colours and intricate carvings. The deities inside the sanctum are decorated with ostentatious ornamentations and beautiful fabrics. Also on display is the beautifully carvings out of Burma Teak wood, the intricate detailing in the carvings of this temple make it an engineering masterpiece. Swami Narayan’s personal artifacts are also preserved for safe keeping here. Reflecting the many colours of spirituality, the Swami Narayan Temple is an unadulterated experience of the divine.
2.WORLD VINTAGE CAR MUSEUM
The private collection of vintage cars was converted into a museum by a connoisseur of vintage cars. The collection comprises of the best of the world - Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Cadillac, Austin and many more. For a small fee you are allowed to drive the vintage cars.
3.THE JUMMA MASJID
The mosque is one of the finest specimens founded in the city. Built by the Sultan Ahmed Shah in the year 1423 to render the Muslim devotees a place to congregate for Friday prayers. According to stories the mosque was built from pieces from the vandalized Hindu and Jain temples. With more than 260 pillars covered with intricate carvings and the interior of the shrine illuminated by natural lights that filter through latticework screens the mosque is something not to be missed!
4.SIDI SAYED MOSQUE
Famed for its latticework over the yellow sandstone, the mosque is one of the most photographed monuments in Ahmedabad. Highlight of the mosque is the twin jails on the western wall that depicts intertwining of tree branches. The carving is well appreciated as it has been done with excellent delicacy.
Built to ensure the safety and security of the people the pols are the tightly packed conglomerations of houses. The pols in the old city of Ahmedabad are the best example – with the most famed pol situated near the Manek Chowk. Inside the pols one would find a personal temple built at the centre and chaburtro. Many of the pols have been converted into cottage industries, so one may find people on the steps hand-sewing books or crimping the silver. Visiting these pols is a one of its kind experience.
6.HUTHEESING JAIN TEMPLE
Built in 1850 by a Jain Merchant, Huthising Kerarsing this marble temple is dedicated to Dharmanath, who was the 15th Jain Tirthankara. The marbles are intricately carved and the paved courtyard of the temple has 52 cubicles that house shrines dedicated to different Tirthankaras. This quiet and sacred place reflects its fine craftsmanship and the temple is a must see!
7.NALSAROVAR BIRD SANCTUARY
Reckoned to be the largest bird sanctuary in India and sprawling over an area of 115 square kilometer. Nal Lake and the surrounding forests attract about 250 species of waterfowls like flamingoes, geese, cranes, pelicans, storks, cormorants, spoonbills and ibis. During winters many migratory birds like Bluish-grey demoiselle crane gather here in large numbers from Siberia. The sanctuary makes an ideal weekend getaway as it allows one to get closer to nature to enjoy the piece and quietness.
8.THE CALICO MUSEUM
The museum was established in 1949 and displays 17th and 18th centuries collections of religious paintings on cloth, embroideries, brocades and silk weaves and Kashmiri Shawls.One has also the opportunity to see a collection of rare textiles such as royal tents, costumes and carpets. Within the museum compound is another haveli that exhibits a fine collection of bronze icons and paintings.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
The best way to get around Ahmedabad is by the black and yellow coloured taxis. The taxis can be hired for a full day for sightseeing purposes. Other transport is richshaws and buses.
Best time to visit Ahmedabad is between November and February (winter) and between July and September (monsoon). Between March and June (summer) the temperature on a hot sunny day ranges between 44 and 47 degree Celsius.