A city of sweet food and vibrant fabrics
Ahmedabad as a city was introduced to me in a classroom as I read in history textbooks of it being the epicentre of the non-violent movement for India's independence. But a quick visit to the city introduced me to the multitude of charms this 600 year old walled city has to offer. From being an important hub of the textile industry to the incredible architecture of its forts and mosques, from the bustle of the narrow lanes in busy chowks to the vibrancy of Navratri festivities.
Listed are a few snapshots from my hurried yet lovely visit:
If on your trip to Ahmedabad you wish to visit a place where you can find a complete peace and steeped in history, the Sabarmati Ashram would make for a perfect pit stop. Situated approximately 5km from Ahmadabad city center and located on the banks of the river Sabarmathi, the ambiance of whole ashram can be described in one word – serene. At the home of Mahatma Gandhi where he resided between 1917 and 1930 which has its own place in history as being the place the Dandi March, one can find complete details of this historical man known as the Father of the Nation.
Apart from a spectacular collection of photographs and memorabilia from Gandhiji's life, the ashram evokes memories of times gone by. The simple room with a spinning wheel and a floor cushion where discussions were held giving birth to the Indian freedom movement is a must see. A peaceful reminder of non-violence in a violent world.
ADALAJ VAV - The favourite part about my visit to Ahmedabad.
Step wells or vav in Gujrati are an amazing display of ancient engineering that has narrow steps built on three sides of the wall in perfect symmetery that lead down to the well. Step-wells are usually a part of a complex that include a temple and rest-stop. The entry to this almost 500 year old historical site is surprisingly free. The moment you enter it, you feel the reduced temperature. The well is a 5 storied structure with stone carvings adorning it's base and arched alcoves fashioned to last centuries. We visited fairly early in the morning, around 10 AM. Most of the people there seemed to be art students who were sketching the well. The entry structure has sculpted motifs and is very pretty to look at.
I found it to be a unique place. The site does not seem to have any timings or even security nor is there any artificial source of light. If it is raining outside, the steps could be slippery. The steps are not disabled friendly by any stretch of the imagination and will pose a challenge to couch potatoes. Going down and then coming up the flight of stairs will mean that many unused leg muscles will be announcing themselves very loudly. Well worth a visit.
Budget shoppers paradise. By day a jewellery square situated between the tombs of the Shah and the Queen (visit both, since they are extraordinary examples of Gujarati Islamic architecture), the place is teeming with dry fruit vendors, silver jewellery and merchants selling reams of bandhani and block print cotton material that can be fashioned into kurtas, bedspreads and myraid of other options. After sunset, the entire space is transformed to a vegetarian outdoor eatery with a variety of Chinese/Indian/Gujarati food served in the various stalls.
Do not fear the crowd and enjoy the experience. Finish diner with the best kulfis in town from Asharfilal and go for a stroll in the nearby streets. Ahmedabadis truly deserve the fame of being foodies.
Amdavad ma aapnu swaagat che.
Until next time.