OT Itinerary: 3 Days In Ahmedabad, The Manchester Of India

Ahmedabad is a city of rich culture and historical significance. Its various attractions offer a unique glimpse into the city's intriguing past. Explore this intriguing place over a weekend with the help of our guide
Bhadra Fort is situated in the walled city area of Ahmedabad
Bhadra Fort is situated in the walled city area of AhmedabadShutterstock

Ahmedabad, a bustling city in the western state of Gujarat, is a place that exudes cultural richness and historical significance. Its various attractions offer a unique glimpse into the city's intriguing past and showcase its diverse cultural heritage. From the stunning Dada Harir Stepwell, an architectural marvel that dates back to the 15th century, to the peaceful and serene Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked for over a decade, every site in Ahmedabad has a fascinating story to tell. The intricately carved Adalaj stepwell and the latticed Jama Masjid are also noteworthy attractions that cannot be missed. These sites have stood the test of time and bear witness to the city's glorious past, earning it the prestigious status of UNESCO's World Heritage City in 2017. For those visiting Ahmedabad for the first time, be prepared to embark on a journey back in time as you explore and discover these remarkable sites. Here's a three-day itinerary to Ahmedabad, perfect for a weekend break.


Visit An Ancient Stepwell

The best way to begin your holiday in Ahmedabad is with a visit to the incredible stepwells. The Adalaj Stepwell is a five-story structure with a unique octagonal shape. At the entrance, there is a temple that adds to the spiritual significance of the place. The stepwell's exceptional design allows light to enter through the opening in the ceiling, creating a mesmerising effect. The Dada Harir stepwell was built in the Solanki architectural style in 1485, during Mahmud Shah's reign and is an excellent example of exquisite architecture and masonry. You'll be amazed by the intricate craftsmanship and the inscriptions in Sanskrit and Persian on the walls and pillars, narrating the story of its construction.

The Dada Harir stepwell was built in Solanki architectural style during the reign of Mahmud Shah
The Dada Harir stepwell was built in Solanki architectural style during the reign of Mahmud ShahSvetlana Eremina/Shutterstock

Break For Lunch

Once you have finished visiting the stepwells, consider stopping for a lunch break at Atithi, a renowned restaurant located in the heart of Ahmedabad known for the finest Gujarati thali experience. The thali perfectly balances all four components: cereal, pulses, vegetables, and rice, along with supplements like pickle, chutney, papad, buttermilk, and salad. In addition to this, they also offer a variety of interesting salads, sweets, and other cuisines from various parts of India. If you want to explore more thali options, check our list here.

Address: Kavya Traders, Mohini, Zanzarwadi Rd, opposite Shraddha Petrol Pump, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380054


In the Footsteps of Gandhi

Start your day by heading to the Gandhi Ashram, also known as the Sabarmati Ashram, which is situated on the banks of the Sabarmati River. This was one of the primary locations where Gandhi's movement for Indian independence took shape between 1917 and 1930. On March 12, 1930, Gandhi launched the Dandi March from this very location to oppose the British Salt Law in India. The most popular attraction within the complex is Hriday Kunj, Gandhi's cottage. The museum, designed by acclaimed architect Charles Correa, is home to a library and three galleries, among other things. The museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, and admission is free of charge. More information here.

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

Sabarmati Ashram was a key location for Gandhi's movement towards Indian independence.
Sabarmati Ashram was a key location for Gandhi's movement towards Indian independence.saiko3p/Shutterstock

Break For Lunch

Chandravilas Restaurant is a century-old institution well-known in Ahmedabad for its exquisite Gujarati delicacies. The café was frequented by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi. It is said that Gandhi visited the restaurant to congratulate the owners after India attained independence. You can start with a plate of juicy dhoklas followed by crunchy gaathiyas. Alternatively, you can choose a Gujarati thali consisting of hot pooris with dry potato sabzi, sev tameta nu shak, paapdi, fafda, gota, patra, and samosa. End your meal with some ghee-soaked jalebis.

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

Heritage Walk

Explore the Jama Masjid area, situated to the west of Manek Chowk, to burn off the calories after your lunch. This mosque was built in the early 15th century and boasts of a beautiful courtyard surrounded by columns adorned with massive Arabic calligraphy. The main prayer hall has more than 260 columns that support the 15 domes. Both the mosque and arcade are decorated with intricate carvings that are a feast for the eyes. The King's Tomb, also known as the Badshah no Hajiro, is located to the eastern side of Jama Masjid and is connected by a doorway. It is the final resting place of Ahmed Shah I, his son Muhammed Shah II and his grandson Ahmed Shah II. There are smaller domed chambers with perforated stone screens set in arches in the four corners of the central hall. However, women are not permitted here. The Queens Tomb, or the Rani no Hajiro, is situated on the opposite side of the street and is surrounded by a courtyard. You can also visit the market that sells women's clothing and accessories on the way to the tomb. Additionally, do not miss the Sidi Sayeed Mosque, built in the 16th century, which has stunning carved stone jaali work, especially along the windows of the western wall that look like fine lace patterns.

Incredible details on the outer wall of the Sidi Sayeed Mosque
Incredible details on the outer wall of the Sidi Sayeed MosqueRealityImages/Shutterstock

Shop Till You Drop

End your day with a shopping trip around Ahmedabad, a city famous for its handicrafts and textiles that showcase Gujarat's rich heritage. You can pick up elegant Patola sarees known for their woven geometric patterns at Dhalgarwad Market on IP Mission Road in the Old City. Another popular textile craft is bandhini, a gorgeous tie-dyed fabric with a crushed finish. You can find stoles, dupattas, or sarees in bandhini work at many boutiques in the city, such as Bandhej located at 2GG4RC8, Ambli Road, Sanidhya. Don't miss out on khadi, the fabric symbolizing the freedom struggle, which is widely available at several khadi bhandars in Ahmedabad, including Kocharab Khadi Bhandar on Paldi Road in Kocharab. If you're looking for colorful mirrorwork clothes, you can head to the roadside markets near Law Garden and Teen Darwaja, where you'll find a vast array of stalls selling silver jewellery, traditional chaniya cholis, and Indo-western fits. And last but not least, make sure you try some of Gujarat's famous sweets and snacks while you're here.

Pick up mirror work skirts from the markets
Pick up mirror work skirts from the marketsVrajshahclicks/Shutterstock


A Unique Architecture Trail

Start your last day in Ahmedabad with an exploration of a unique architectural and cultural gem - the centuries-old gated neighbourhoods, known as Pols. These Pols are scattered throughout the old parts of the city and offer a glimpse into community living. Usually, a gate marks the entry to a Pol, with narrow lanes lined by buildings featuring wooden facades that converge on a central square. Since each Pol was occupied by people belonging to the same religion, caste, or profession, the houses reflect architectural styles typical of the community. You can find some of the Pols in the Dariyapur and Kalupur area of Ahmedabad. Read more about them in our feature here.

Usually, a gate marks the entry to a Pol
Usually, a gate marks the entry to a Polpjhpix/Shutterstock

On your unique architecture tour, the Jhulta Minars or Shaking Minarets should be your next stop. These minarets have three storeys and are adorned with beautifully carved balconies. It is believed that if one of the minarets shakes, the other one will also shake. The taller pair of minarets is located in the Kalupur district, near the Ahmedabad railway station, while the other one can be found near the Sarangapur Gate. You can also sign up for a heritage walk to discover the city.

Break For Lunch

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.

Contemporary Connection

After spending the day exploring the historic city areas, take a peaceful stroll along the Riverfront Road. The road connects the city and offers a great setting for cycling, boating, and evening walks.

Patola Treasures

It is highly recommended that you do not leave Ahmedabad without purchasing a Patola saree. These sarees come in elegant and colorful designs that leave a lasting impression with their charming sheen. Originally, they were made in the town of Patan, located about two hours from Ahmedabad. However, you can afind them in the bustling city as well. The famous Dhalgarwad Market in Khadia is known for housing the best finds of Patola sarees, although it tends to be quite crowded. 

Getting There

If you're travelling by air, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is the city's main gateway, with flights from major domestic and international destinations. For those preferring trains, Ahmedabad Junction connects the city to several parts of the country through an extensive rail network. Additionally, a well-developed road infrastructure facilitates travel by bus or car. National highways like NH8 and NH47 provide smooth connectivity to nearby cities. 

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