[[Image:19654594 62b3c94f32 o.jpg|300px|right|thumb|Jama Masjid]]
'''Ahmedabad''' (also spelled '''Ahmadabad''') is the sixth largest city (pop. 6.5 million) in 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.
== Understand ==
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
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
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.
Ahmedabad proper is about 20km from the airport, and a rickshaw/taxi should cost roughly 200/300 rupees respectively. Save yourself considerable hassle by using the prepaid booth, or, better yet, arrange a pickup through your hotel.
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]], Bangaluru
If you are just connecting through Ahmedabad, there are showers available just outside and to the left of the station for Rs 10.
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
== Get around ==
A reliable way of booking your cab is to book it online. There are a couple of popular sites where you have the luxury of choosing from a variety of options - [http://www.savaari.com Savaari.com], [http://www.getmecab.com GetMeCab.com]
You can either book a taxi from hotel or directly book one outside the railway station. There is government authorized taxi stand. 950Rs/day for 12 hours. It maybe more costly to book through hotel as hotels do have their in the fares. It is better to negotiate with the driver directly.
== Talk ==
The local language is [[Gujarati phrasebook|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
== See ==
*'''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.
* '''Heritage Houses of poles''', A living heritage, the structures are 200-400 years old and the people living in there are original ahmedabadi families and they still live there traditions.
*'''Akshardham Temple''', Rich and Wonderful architecture. Located in Gandhinagar, about 20 km from Ahmedabad. Temple will be closed on Monday. Otherdays you can visit from 10 to 6
*'''Vastrapur Lake'''. Newly constructed artificial lake.
*'''Law Garden''', Considered the main
*'''Sarkhej Roja''', This is a small city located 10km southwest of Ahmedabad. It is widely known for its architectural complexes.
*'''Indian Institute of Management (IIM)'''[http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/], in Vastrapur, one of the best B-School of Management in India was built by Louis Kahn and is a wonderful architectural creation.
*'''Gujarat National Law University (GNLU)''' [http://gnlu.ac.in/index.aspx], is a statutory university established by the Govt. of Gujarat through the Gujarat National Law University Act, 2003. This University is based in the city of Gandhinagar, which is the capital of Gujarat and is located 30
*'''Darpana Academy of Performing Arts'''[http://www.darpana.com/], is one of the oldest performing arts academies in the city. Its
*'''Ahmedabad Metal Scene'''[http://www.metalabad.com/], One of the best underground metal scene, unknown to residents of gujarat.
*'''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
*'''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. [http://www.nirmauni.ac.in]
*'''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
*'''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
*'''National Insitute of Design''', India's Premier Design Institute with over 16 disciplines of Design.
* '''RakshaBandhan''' - A festival celebrated by sisters and brothers. The festival consists of a sister tying a rakhi 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
* '''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
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.
== Buy ==
[[Image:103772550 141eb1f44d b.jpg|300px|right|thumb|]]
Ahmedabad is well known for its textile industries. Be sure to look at the traditional hand embroidered and tie
The 10 Acres Shopping Mall is quite dead, although it offers 120 rupee movies to get out of the heat and into air conditioning while you wait for a bus at the very close Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation bus station.
== 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.
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.
Some of the notable restaurants in the city are:
*''' Dairy Den CTF (Chills - Thrills - Frills), Municipal Market, C. G. Road, Navrangpura, Delizio, Parhladnagar, Rambaug, Maninagar. One of the finest Soft Ice Creams, Artisan Scoop Ice Creams & Thick Milk Shakes.
*'''Amazo Restaurant / Geleteria / Cafeteria (Area: Prahladnagar, St. Xavier's College crossroads, Paldi):''' Specialized in various vegetarian cuisines, the restaurant has expertise and specializes in serving Italian and Mexican food
*'''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.
*'''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
*'''Bhagwati Chat''' (Area: Panchwati) The best dish by far is the paneer tikka. Try the gulab jamun or jabeli for dessert.
*'''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,
* '''ZK'''(Area: Relief Road). One of the best and oldest non-veg restaurant in the city
*'''Pudding''' Great place for veg and non-veg food. Very good Hydrabadi Biryani.
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
For some street food following places are quite famous:
*'''Jay Bhavani Vadapau''',Opp. Vastrapur Lake, Satellite, best vadapau in town along with a a host of other dishes from chinese bhel to a wide variety of sandwiches
*'''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.
*... Moti Mahal Hotel Walkable distance from
== Drink ==
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
== Sleep ==
*'''Ginger Hotel ''' [http://www.gingerhotels.com/ahmedabad/hotel_profile.aspx] 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. From Rs 1000/night
*'''Lemon Tree Hotel, Ahmedabad ''' Located in
*'''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. Reports of newly renovated rooms with mordern bathroom and furniture.
*'''Hotel Cama Park Plaza''' is a landmark of culture and comfort in the city of Ahmedabad, suited for business and
*'''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
*'''Hotel Fortune''' is a leading economy hotel of Ahmedabad located in the heart of the city's business
*'''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 Manager - Mr Chandrakant. 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
*'''Hotel Quality Inn''' is the modern, full serviced, centrally air-conditioned business class hotel of Ahemdabad. The hotel is 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
*'''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
*'''Hotel Country Inn''' is a new four star hotel in the city of Ahmedabad, suited for business
*'''Hotel Ramada''' is a new four star hotel in the city of Ahmedabad, suited for business
*'''Ista Ahmedabad'''[http://www.istahotels.com/hotels-ahmedabad.aspx] - Opening in March 2012. A contemporary and trendy 5 Star hotel is the 5th Ista Hotel after Ista Hotels in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Amritsar and Pune. Located in the heart of this historic city adjacent to the Vastrapur Lake, Ista is set in natural surroundings and beautiful landscaping and adjoins a Mall and Multiplex, the signs of a fast-developing Ahmedabad
*'''Gateway Hotel''' (formerly Taj Residency)[http://www.thegatewayhotels.com/TAMDTR_cityfacts.htm] 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.
== Get out ==
''''''''Adalaj 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 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.
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
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.
'''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, however it did survive the devastating 2001 earthquake when many other condominiums and apartments collapsed all over Ahmedabad.
'''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