The city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, is also called ‘Amdavad’, and is India’s seventh largest city. Its flourishing textile industry has earned it the nickname ‘Manchester of the East’.
Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah. In 1583 it came under Akbar’s rule and thrived as a major centre of textile trade and export. In 1758 this provincial capital of the Mughals was surrendered to the Marathas, till the British East India Company took over.
Ahmedabad is Famous For:
Art and Culture
Here you will find Bandhini, or colourful tie-dyed designs on Sarees and dress materials, coveted by women all over India, traditional footwear, Mojris, and beautiful hand-made idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Gujarati cuisine is immensely popular in India: the thali , a meal with rotis, rice, vegetables and dal, delectable and wholesome; snacks like dhokla (steamed savoury gram-flour cakes), thepla (rotis with fenugreek leaves), khandvi (steamed savoury rolls of gram-flour) and bhel-puri (made with puffed rice and tangy sauces) are also famous .
Gandhiji’s Ashram at Sabarmati attracts millions of visitors annually; you will find people of all religions here. In addition, the several mosques built by the city’s erstwhile rulers, the many Hindu and Jain temples, especially the Swami Narayan Mandir, and the churches representing all denominations of Christianity, make Ahmedabad an ideal destination for those seeking spirituality.
Ahmedabad is the leading producer of cotton textiles in India, and one of the biggest exporters of jewellery and precious stones. Today, the automobile industry also contributes to the city’s flourishing economy. There are several pharmaceutical, chemical and detergent companies based in Ahmedabad.
The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad is the most prestigious management school in India. The National Institute of Design is one of the top rated design schools globally. The Indian Space Research Organization established by Vikram Sarabhai in the ‘60s is India’s chief Space Agency. A petroleum University, Environment planning college and Infrastructure management college are unique institutes found here.
Ahmedabad celebrates Navratri with great fervour. People of all ages can be seen dancing the Garba (popular folk dance) in groups, all over the city. The annual kite flying festival of Uttarayan on January 14th and 15th is observed with gusto, and one can see thousands of kites everywhere. Diwali is celebrated by lighting oil lamps; the Gujarati New Year follows Diwali.
Gujarati is the main language with Marathi, Hindi and English also being spoken.
Ahmedabad is a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, as can be seen in the architecture: ancient monuments stand side-by-side with modern skyscrapers. It is one of the most productive and richest cities in India.
Majority of the income for its citizens comes from the cotton and jewel trade and chemical-based industries. It has a high literacy rate and is the fastest growing city in the world. With a negligible crime rate, low unemployment and excellent infrastructure, it was rated the best Indian city to live in recently. The city has an excellent public transport system which will receive a boost with the Metro system in the near future.
Climate and Best Time to Visit
Rainy monsoon and the suffocating heat of summer are ruled out; the ideal time to visit Ahmedabad is winter: November-March.