In Ahmedabad For The World Cup? Here's A Two-Day Guide To The City

Ahmedabad is a treasure trove of heritage sites and contemporary places. If you are planning a match-watching trip to the city, here's a guide to what not to miss
The Adalaj Stepwell
The Adalaj StepwellShivajidesai29/WikiCommons

Ahmedabad is hosting five ICC Men's World Cup matches till November 19. The highlight will be the India-Pakistan match on October 14, expected to draw large crowds.

Founded in 1411 AD by Sultan Ahmed Shah, Ahmedabad was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List on July 8, 2017. It is the first Indian city to be thus honoured. According to the UNESCO citation, the city “presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.”

Ahmedabad is a treasure trove of heritage sites and contemporary places. If you are planning a match-watching trip to the city, here's a guide to what not to miss.

Day 1

Gandhi Ashram

Begin your day by visiting the Gandhi Ashram, also known as the Sabarmati Ashram, which is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River. It was one of the primary sites from which Gandhi's movement for Indian independence took shape between 1917 and 1930. Gandhi launched the Dandi March from here on March 12, 1930, to oppose the British Salt Law in India. Hriday Kunj, Gandhi's cottage, is the most popular attraction within the complex. The museum has been designed by acclaimed architect Charles Correa and houses, among other things, a library, as well as three galleries. The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily. There is no admission charge. More information here.

Address: Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ashram Rd, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380027

The museum has been designed by acclaimed architect Charles Correa
The museum has been designed by acclaimed architect Charles Correa Maulik Joshi/WikiCommons

The Pols

Next, explore the centuries-old gated neighbourhoods, the Pols. They dot the old parts of the city and are an example of community living. Usually a gate marks the entry to a Pol. Narrow lanes lined by buildings with wooden façades converge on a central square. Since each Pol was occupied by people belonging to the same religion or caste, or profession, the houses reflect architectural styles typical of the community. You can find some of the Pols in Dariyapur and Kalupur area of Ahmedabad. Read more about them in our feature here.

Lunch At Chandravilas Restaurant

This century-old institution is well-known in Ahmedabad for exquisite Gujarati delicacies. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi once frequented the café. The latter is said to have visited to congratulate the owners after India attained independence. Have a plate of juicy dhoklas followed up by crunchy gaathiyas. You can also choose a Gujarati thali with hot pooris with dry potato sabzi, sev tameta nu shak, paapdi, fafda, gota, patra, and samosa. End with some ghee-soaked jalebis.

Address: Gandhi Road, Near Ratan Pol, Old City, Danapidth, Khadia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001

The Sidi Bashir Mosque in  Ahmedabad
The Sidi Bashir Mosque in AhmedabadMiteshps1986/WikiCommons

Jama Masjid And Around

Walk off your ghee-laden lunch by exploring the Jama Masjid area which lies west of Manek Chowk. This early 15th-century mosque has a gorgeous wide open courtyard surrounded by columns painted with giant Arabic calligraphy. The main prayer hall has over 260 columns supporting the 15 domes. The mosque and arcade are covered with intricate carvings. The King's Tomb, or the Badshah no Hajiro, lies to the east of Jama Masjid and is connected by a doorway. It houses the tombs of Ahmed Shah I, his son Muhammed Shah II and his grandson Ahmed Shah II. The four corners of the central hall have smaller domed chambers with perforated stone screens set in arches. Women are not allowed here. The Queens Tomb or the Rani no Hajiro, lies across the street, enclosed within a courtyard. Check out the market selling women's clothing and accessories on the road to the tomb. Also check out the 16th century Sidi Sayeed Mosque which has stunning carved stone jaali work, especially along the windows of the western wall, which look like fine lace patterns.

A Shopping Spree

Wrap up the day with a shopping trip around Ahmedabad. The city is a hub of shops that showcase Gujarat's rich heritage of handicrafts and textiles. Pick up elegant Patola sarees known for their woven geometric patterns. You can pick them up at Dhalgarwad Market on IP Mission Road in the Old City. Another well-known textile craft is that of bandhini, a gorgeous tie-dyed fabric with a crushed finish. You can get stoles, dupattas, or sarees in bandhini work. There are many boutiques in the city where you can find these. Check out Bandhej at 2GG4RC8, Ambli Road, Sanidhya. Since you are in the land of Gandhi, you must not leave without picking up khadi, the fabric symbolising the freedom struggle. There are several khadi bhandars in Ahmedabad, such as Kocharab Khadi Bhandar on Paldi Road in Kocharab. For colourful mirrorwork clothes, hit up the roadside markets near Law Garden and Teen Darwaja. The vast array of stalls here sell silver jewellery, traditional chaniya cholis, and Indo-western fits. You must also pick up some of Gujarat's famous sweets and snacks. Check here for a list of shops.

Mirrorwork items at the shops in Law Garden
Mirrorwork items at the shops in Law GardenSudhamshu Hebbar/Flickr Commons

Day 2

The Stepwells

Start the day with a visit to the stepwells of Ahmedabad. Locally called vav, they are a key feature of the old cities of Gujarat. Two of the most popular stepwells in Ahmedabad are the Adalaj Vav and the Dada Harir Vav. These richly carved step wells served as community meeting grounds. People are believed to come here to fetch water, offer prayers to the divinity carved along the walls, spend time here to beat the summer heat, etc. According to experts, this vav is an example of Indo-Islamic architecture and design. A harmonious play of intricate Islamic floral patterns seamlessly fusing with Hindu and Jain symbols. Dada Harir Vav, besides the usual carvings, also has Sanskrit and Arabic scripts carved on the walls.

The Shaking Minarets

Your next stop should be the Jhulta Minars or Shaking Minarets. These are three-storey high minarets with beautifully carved balconies. It is believed that one of the pair's minarets shakes, the other one also shakes. The taller pair of minarets is in the Kalupur district, near the Ahmedabad railway station, and the other is near Sarangapur Gate.

Lunch At Agashiye In House of MG

Replenish your energy with a thali lunch at the Agashiye restaurant in The House of MG, a boutique heritage hotel. Built in 1924, it is the former home of wealthy textile magnate Mangaldas Girdhardas.

Bhadra Fort

Your architecture trail can conclude at the 15th-century Bhadra Fort, renovated by the city municipality in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India. It contains royal palaces with beautiful carvings on them, mosques, gates and open spaces. The Maidan Shah or the Kings Market is to the east. The 17th-century palace, the Azam Khan Sarai, meant as an inn for travellers, served as a hospital and jail during the British period.

The Sabarmati Riverfront
The Sabarmati RiverfrontHardik Jadeja/WikiCommons

The Riverfront And Things New

End the day with a stroll along the Sabarmati Riverfront and the riverfront road, which connects the city and provides a tranquil setting for evening walks, cycle rides, and boating. The SG Highway here gives a taste of contemporary Ahmedabad. The Corporate Road is filled with all the corporate offices, MNCs and uber-chic cafes making it the hub for the young professional population of the city. You can sit at one of the cafes and have a cuppa or go for a rooftop dining experience to enjoy the Ahmedabad skyline.

Getting There

To reach Ahmedabad, travellers can choose from various transportation options. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is the primary gateway for domestic and international flights. Ahmedabad Junction is a major railway station well-connected to the Indian rail network, offering train services nationwide. Inter-city and interstate buses provide an economical means of travel, with numerous private and government-operated services available. For those who prefer driving, well-maintained highways connect Ahmedabad to nearby cities and states.

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