Ahmedabad has more to offer than meets the eye. It is the cultural center of Gujarat which offers amazing food, shopping and a lot of History and heritage. It is India’s first World Heritage City that is acknowledged by UNESCO. In this blog I will show you my Top 10 things to do in Ahmadabad if you are short on time and are just there for the weekend.
Ahmedabad (also spelled Ahmadabad) was established by Muslim ruler Sultan Ahmed Shah, Ahmedabad is the sixth largest city (pop. 6.5 million) in India, and it’s India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City. It is the commercial hub of the state of Gujarat, though it is not the state capital, which is its twin city Gandhinagar, 30 km to the north.
Before we get into the Top 10, let me first tell you about where I stayed. This entire weekend in cities series is in partnership with Holiday Inn Express who are our accommodation partners.
Ahmedabad has a lot of places to stay. But we stayed at Holiday Inn Express as it provided with a very convenient location for us get in and out of Ahmedabad. It has a very quick check in and check out process. It literally took us 2.30 minutes to check in. It has everything you need and nothing that you don’t. Clean and comfortable beds. 24 hours gym and work out area. Essentials like hairdryer and USB plug points so that you can pack light. Nice cosy rooms with coffee maker, refrigerator, laptop friendly work place so that I can keep editing and writing blogs on the go. Goof Wi-Fi connectivity so that I can update my followers on Instagram with my stories. Warm shower to relax after a day full of travel in the city. In room dining if you just want to relax and do not feel like stepping out. Also the most important thing – Breakfast. They have the best spread of Indian and continental breakfast for price you pay. Over all, I think it is the perfect place if you plan on staying in the city for a couple of days. If you have a few meetings, some work or are just exploring the city like me. For 2800 Rs, i think it is incredible value for money and I highly recommend it.
If you want to stay at Holiday Inn Express, check out the link here. They have branches in cities like Nashik, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi and many more coming soon.
Holiday inn express also comes under the IHG. Which means that you gain points by staying here and can redeem it across all their hotels anywhere in the world.
So in no particular order lets start with the TOP 10 ! Things to do, see and eat in Ahmedabad
1. Sabarmati River Front
No trip to Ahmedabad can be complete without a visit to the Sabarmati River Front. The river front is truly the crown jewel and the pride of Ahmedabad. It is equivalent to the Marine drive for Mumbaikars. As the name suggests it is a riverfront built along the banks of the river Sabarmati. It a place where people can walk, cycle meet and enjoy this beautiful river. Nothing like this have ever built in India and there is also a River Front park and flower show area. It definitely is a place to visit when coming to Ahmedabad.
2. Kankaria Lake
kankaria Lake is a large lake right in the middle of the city.
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.
3. Jama Masjid
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 center of the old city. This imposing structure reflects the Muslim architecture of that period.
4. 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.
5. Gandhi Ashram
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
6. Adalaj Vav (Step Well )
Adalaj is a village 18km 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 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
7. Heritage Walk
With the purpose of unveiling this aspect of the city to the tourists and the citizens themselves The Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad was launched by the Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in association with CRUTA Foundation, an NGO, on 19th November 1997, during World Heritage Week.
A special feature of Ahmedabad is the plan of the old city, comprising numerous ‘Pols’, self-contained neighborhoods, sheltering large numbers of people. Some of these ‘Pols’ are virtually small villages, traversed by narrow lanes, usually terminating in squares (Chowks) comprising ‘Community Well’ and ‘Chabutro’ (for feeding birds). These ‘Pols’ were protected by gates, cul-de-sacs and secret passages. These historic residential settlements are explained in detail during the walk.
8. Manek Chowk
This bustling open square near the center of the city functions as a vegetable market in the morning and a jewelry market in the afternoon, the second biggest in India, at an apparently 3 million rupees of annual turnover. It is most famous, however, for its food stalls that start to emerge around 9:30 in the evening and continue till late night, with various local street snacks. Manek chowk is best known for its Kulfi.
Manek Chowk is one of the few of the food-street which is allowed to stay open till late night. Bhajipau, dosa, typical local sandwiches, and many more local cuisines are available.
9. Dada Harir Stepwell
Similar to the Adalaj Stepwell. But with its own uniqueness.
The step well was built in 1485 by Dhai Harir, a household lady of Mahmud Begada according to the Persian inscription in the step well. She was the superintendent of the royal harem.
Dhai Harir built a mosque and a tomb in which she was buried. The well bears two inscriptions, one in Sanskrit on the south, and one in Arabic on the north wall, of the first gallery.
Both of them have different messages and you should visit them yourself to solve this mystery of the different messages.
10. Teen Darwaza, Old City and the Pols
If the riverfront and the IIM depicts the modern side of Ahmedabad. The old city, Teen Darwaza and the various Pols (residential areas) are a must visit to see the polarity of the city. The area is beautifully chaotic. The sounds and smells of this area are truly overwhelming. This area is pretty close to Jama Masjid and some parts are a part of the heritage walk. But you need to explore more parts of the old city. You can get some amazing pictures and videos for your Instagram here.