Ahmedabad sprawls on the banks of Sabarmati, a gateway to the salt marsh lands of Gujarat. Hindu, Muslim and Jain communities have lived here in bustling residential quarters or pols and their cultural presence is marked by everything the city has to offer; cuisine (Gujarat is a dry state but its traditional beverages will keep your spirits up), dances, fabrics, festivals and architecture. The stone Mosques and tombs of Sultans, ornately carved temples and stepwells consort with the modern concrete structures of Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn and Charles Correa. Being the second largest cotton textile industry after Mumbai, Ahmedabad has a long standing reputation for producing some of the most complex forms of textiles like the double ikat Patola. A visit to the excellent Calico Museum of textiles is an unmissable opportunity to experience the craft and techniques used to create these fabrics.
The old city was once surrounded by a 10km-long wall, of which only the 15 formidable gates remain. Bhadra Fort, one of the city's oldest surviving buildings, is situated a nice walking distance from the Tomb of Ahmed Shah and many other important Sultanate buildings, including the main Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) and the Sidi Sayyid Mosque with its beautiful Jali decoration and ‘Shaking Minarets’. The Jains, whose beliefs in minimalism and vegan cuisine will find appeal among Millennials and Gen Z, have built richly sculptured temples in the Māru-Gurjara style architecture. Other sites include: The Lokayatan Folk Museum (displaying a brilliant range of Gujarati folk arts), performing arts centers, art galleries and some of the country's best universities. The famous Sabarmati Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi lived when he left South Africa, was the headquarters of India's Freedom Movement, and is now a museum.
Several day trips to nearby historic towns can be arranged from Ahmedabad. The sun temple of Modhera is a marvel of medieval engineering, Lothal, the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation dating from 2nd millennium BCE, the astonishing Pattan, with its famous Rani ki vav or the Queen's stepwell. October to March is the best time to visit Ahmedabad, not only because of the weather but also for the array of thrilling festivals like the Navratri when the whole city dances for nine days, the Rann Utsav where the Gujarati folk culture is found in its purest form and Uttarayan, the kite flying festival.
Features in the following itineraries
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Anonymous, India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr David Wallace, North India