Ahmedabad, also known as the ‘Manchester Of India’, has a lot in store for you. You might have gotten a fair idea about this vibrant city in Gujarat through the sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. Ahmedabad is a melting pot of many incredible festivals, delectable cuisine, and rich cultural history.
However, to experience all of that, you need to visit the city in question, and to help you navigate through all the twists and turns, we’ve created a comprehensive travel guide to Ahmedabad. Go on and see what else this booming city has in store for you.
No city in India is void of political history. Our predecessors have always left a little something for us to visualize how that city looked when they ruled over it. And the same goes for Ahmedabad. The city’s history is deep, the culture even more vibrant, and the people are always in a festive mood.
Way back in the 11th century, when Ahmedabad wasn’t called Ahmedabad, the region was known as ‘Ashapalli’ or ‘Ashaval.’ Then came the Chalukya dynasty, which renamed it ‘Karnavati’ before surrendering it to the Vaghela dynasty. Finally, early in the 15th century, Sultan Ahmed Shah entered the scene and made Karnavati the capital of the eastern area of the Sabarmati River. This area got a new name; it was called Ahmedabad. It was after this that the Mughals gained control over the area that established the textile empire that Ahmedabad is so famous for until they lost it to the Marathas in 1758. The Marathas then lost their reign to the British Raj and that’s when this city became a more significant icon in the cotton textile industry, especially after the introduction of the rail line from Bombay to Ahmedabad.
This is a little glance into Ahmedabad’s deep history. Its culture revolves more around festivals as they’re celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm. These include the annual kite flying festival that takes place in January, Navarati that’s celebrated with a peculiar dance called Garba, and Deepavali, celebrated by drawing rangolis, lighting lamps, and crackers. As far as its cuisine is concerned, Dhoklas (a savory cake made out of gram flour), Theplas (soft, savory flatbread), and Methi Dhebras (another variant of the Indian flatbread) are big hits in this city.
Ahmedabad is one of Gujarat's major cities. Therefore, it won’t come as a surprise when we say that this city has a well-connected travel network with all the other major Indian cities by rail, road, and air. This means that traveling to Ahmedabad will be a breeze since transportation is so efficient.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, also known as Ahmedabad Airport, is the main airport to and from which many international and domestic flights operate on a daily basis. From Terminal 1, the airport has direct flights to and from Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata. Airlines such as IndiGo, Go Air, and SpiceJet are just a few of the many this airport sees.
Terminal 2 caters to all international flights, some of which operate to and from Newark, Sharjah, Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore. They also have non-stop flights for places such as Kuwait, Doha, Sharjah, and Muscat.
Once you land, you can take any of the taxis or rickshaws surrounding the airport to reach your destination. However, some of them don’t go by the meter so it’s better to find one that does to avoid overpaying.
If you’re someone who wants to reach the city via rail, book a train to the Kalupur Station, which is located in central Ahmedabad. Trains from all over the country such as to and from Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, etc commute hundreds of passengers to this station. Railway services from metro cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai also have a couple of superfast trains to Ahmedabad.
If you’re traveling by bus, there are direct private buses from all the major cities such as Pune, Surat, Mumbai, Delhi, etc. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is accessible and efficient if you’re traveling from another city in Gujarat to Ahmedabad. If you’re into long drives, then driving to Ahmedabad is not a bad idea. From Mumbai, it’ll take you around 8 hours (not including traffic jams) to cover the 550 km via the NH-8. If you live a bit farther, say from Delhi, you’ll take at least 17 hours via the NH-48.
Also Read: Exploring The Adalaj Stepwell In Gujarat
Try sightseeing in Ahmedabad between December to February since the average high temperatures during those months don’t go beyond 30°C. Since it’s winter, you can escape the heat, and you’ll be more at ease exploring the offerings of the beautiful city of Ahmedabad. The annual kite festival in January is one of Ahmedabad’s most famous events that attract many tourists from far and wide, so it's an added incentive to visit in the winter!
Summer temperatures (March - August) touch around 40°C and can even hit 50°C! This is the time when the tourist influx in the city is low. On the other hand, monsoons (July - October) do pour heavily here, but towards the end of October, you have the auspicious Navratri festival that is celebrated in great grandeur. During this time, you can try out the scrumptious street food that is part of the festival too.
The public bus transport system in Ahmedabad is one of the country’s best since it has a wide range of local buses that travel to and from various parts of the city. We’re specifically referring to the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS), which is distinguishable from the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC).
The AMTS commutes passengers daily through their 258 routes with bus terminals located in various parts of the city such as Kalupur, Sarangpur, Maninagar, to name a few. So as far as ground transport around the city is concerned, you can bank on the AMTS network of buses. However, their fares are cheap, so you might have to deal with a bit of crowd.
If you want an even faster trip by bus in Ahmedabad, then you can use the BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) as well. They’re special blue-colored buses that halt at particular stops around the city. These buses are faster but don’t stop everywhere as it takes only 92 routes as opposed to the routes taken by AMTS. However, you can download their BRTS app to find out their available routes and see if they ply on the ones that you wish to travel on.
Getting around Ahmedabad via rickshaw is another efficient way to travel around the city, but you’ve got to be a bit street-smart. Some drivers don’t go by the meter and will try to fleece you by quoting exorbitant prices. Also, if they travel by meter, they might intentionally take longer routes to increase the fare. Use Google Maps to find out if they are using the shortest route to avoid getting scammed.
Currently, the price for a distance up to 1.25 km is about INR 18. Once 1.25 km is up, you’ll be charged INR 13 for each subsequent km after that.
Since BRTS and AMTS are more preferred than any other means of travel, very few taxis function in Ahmedabad. If you miss the bus or struggle to find a rickshaw, you can just Ola, or Uber your way to your destination.
The Ahmedabad Metro serves 6 metro stations along the East-West corridor in the city currently. You can try using the metro if you’re traveling to spots like Apparel Park, Rabari Colony, Nirant Cross Roads, Amraiwadi, Vastral, or Vastral Gam.
Also Read: Surat Travel Guide
“They have a laid-back life and just like to take afternoon siestas.”
The ‘Manchester Of India’ has a GDP of nearly $68 billion and is one of India’s richest cities with a huge industrial influence over the textile market. A city so rich cannot be built solely on afternoon siestas and taking things lightly. While the culture of rest and rejuvenation is built into the fabric of the city, Ahmedabad is also an Indian city that thrives on a rich legacy of hardworking, industrious people, and has many industrial and business ventures that testify to the same.
Shri Swaminarayan Temple, or the Akshardham Temple, is one of Ahmedabad’s must-visit attractions if you’d like some devotion intertwined with your vacation. Built in the early 19th century, this temple is home to the deity Narayan Dev and is a dedication of sorts. This beautiful structure is located in the streets of Old City in the Kalupur region of Ahmedabad. Ask anyone in that area, and the locals will gladly guide you to the place.
Swaminarayan, the founder of the Swaminarayan denomination of Hinduism, keenly saw to the fact that this temple was skillfully constructed. He made sure that the temple had the finest carvings and was adorned with eye-catching colors to portray the vividness of the Gods (Nar Narayan Dev, Radha Krishna Dev, Dharmadev, BhaktiMata, and Harikrishna). From its entrance, you’ll notice the temple holding several mini domes on its roofs along with some longer pinnacles. Once you enter the temple, you’ll notice that the Gods are adorned with a variety of sweet-smelling flowers, ornaments, and bright-colored fabrics. On the day after Diwali, many devotees come to this sanctum to seek immense blessings from the Gods.
The Swaminarayan Temple is known for its morning prayers, or Aartis as they call it. If you don’t want to miss those early morning worship sessions, the temple has a multi-story guesthouse, along with a medical compound on its premises, which you could visit for the same.
If you ever need a breather from all the traveling and exploring, then visit the Sabarmati Riverfront, located at Lal Darwaja in Ahmedabad. It was first started as a project to enhance environmental quality. However today, it is an 11.2 km promenade that attracts many tourists throughout the year while also emphasizing the necessity of environment preservation.
Along the banks of the riverfront, there are various seating arrangements so you can spend your time enjoying the sunset while you sip on some chai. If you walk a bit further and climb some stairs to reach the upper level, you’ll find the area decked in lush gardens, making it a perfect resemblance of nature in a concrete jungle. The upper level is used to host all sorts of concerts, competitions, and market days, some of which are the local Sunday Markets as well the Ravivari Market, resembling the vibrant and joyous spirit of Ahmedabad.
Sabarmati Ashram, located along the serene banks of River Sabarmati and around 6 km away from the city center, is a little pocket of Indian history that sheds a brighter light on Mahatma Gandhi’s life.
It is one of the sites where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his freedom struggle in India. Being a devout Hindu, he ensured that scriptural readings from the Bhagavad Gita were recited daily on the premises of the Ashram. This makes the Ashram even more spiritual and serene. This place was also the main site where Gandhiji led the resistance movement against the British Raj. It was on the 12th of March, 1930, when he started the Dandi March from the surroundings of this Ashram that ultimately led to it being one of India’s biggest examples of defiance.
Due to this historical significance, the Indian Government recognized this place as a national monument where others can come and inhale a bit of that defiant air that still parades the surroundings of the Ashram. Several important structures reside within the circumference of this place, some of which are the Magan Niwas, Vinoba Mira Kutir, Udyog Mandir, Upasana Mandir, Somnath Chhatralaya, and Hriday Kunj.
The Gandhi Memorial Museum, which was inaugurated by former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, has three galleries depicting the life of M.K. Gandhi. The wondrous Sabarmati Ashram Library is also located here.
Is Ahmedabad A Developed City?
Ahmedabad is one of India’s fastest-growing cities with a strong foothold in the cotton textile market. Its transportation system is well-connected, and its GDP has raked in a whopping $68 billion for the country. All these facts point towards Ahmedabad’s credibility of being one of India’s developed cities.
Is Ahmedabad A Safe City For Women?
According to StanzaLiving, Ahmedabad is one of India’s safest cities for women. This is owing to the frequent police patrolling that happens in the city.
How Long Is The Sabarmati Riverfront?
The wide promenade of the Sabarmati Riverfront is around 11.2 km long overlooking the Sabarmati River. The riverfront is best for long evening/morning walks or skating (just make sure that you don’t fall into the river).
Do Hotels In Gujarat Serve Alcohol?
You’ll have to sacrifice your alcohol in exchange for Ahmedabad’s beauty because Gujarat is a dry state. Hotels cannot serve you alcohol unless they have a permit. If they do, it’s only for consumption in the room.
What Food Is Famous In Ahmedabad?
Some famous dishes you'll find in Ahmedabad are: Khakhra, Fafda, Dhokla, Thepla, Dalvada, Dabeli, Sev, and Farsan.
Does Ahmedabad Have A Beach?
Ahmedabad doesn't have a beach per se, but the city does have many beaches near it.
How Many Localities Are Present In Ahmedabad?
There are around 250 localities currently present in Ahmedabad.
Which Cities Are Near Ahmedabad?
Some cities which are near Ahmedabad are: Surat, Ratlam, Nadiad, Gandhinagar, and Rajkot.