My recent visit to Ahmedabad changed my perception of the city. Ahmedabad was never on my priority list. I would have loved to visit here during the Navratri festival to feast on the delicacies and enjoy the festivities. But that would have been it! After experiencing this vibrant city, I recommend everyone to visit this beautiful city. Here is a complete guide to Ahmedabad to help you plan your visit.
Three reasons to visit Ahmedabad!
Ahmedabad is a paradise for architecture and history lovers, art enthusiasts, and foodies!
India is a diverse country with a plethora of impressive destinations to explore. Ahmedabad is neither a hill station nor a beach, then why should you visit this city? Well, here are the three reasons why I loved Ahmedabad or Amdavad, as Guajarati’s love to call it.
• In 2017, The historic walled city of Ahmedabad is listed as India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City.
• Blessed by the tranquility of the Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad is the hub of not only the Architectural wonders but many modern-day marvels.
• Apart from that, Ahmedabad, the former capital of Gujarat, is also known for its finger-licking cuisines.
History of Ahmedabad
Now that we have good reason to visit the city, let us start with the heritage and history of the city. The history of Ahmedabad dates to the 11th century when it was known as Ashaval. After a successful war against Ashaval king, Karna, the Chaulukya ruler, established the city of Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati River.
After changing hands from Chaulukya to the Vaghela dynasty, Delhi Sultanate, and Muzaffarid dynasty, subsequently, Sultan Ahmed Shah gained control of the area. He then laid the foundation of a walled city near Karnavati and named it Ahmedabad.
How to reach Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat!
Being an important economic and industrial hub, Ahmedabad is
well-connected to the rest of the country by various means of transport. Depending on the distance and time, you can opt for the one that suits you.
The closest airport to the city of Ahmedabad is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. From the airport, you can easily get a prepaid taxi to visit anywhere in the city.
Kalupur railway station is the best option to reach Ahmedabad via rail. Railways connect all the major cities of India with Ahmedabad. From here you can easily take public transport or a taxi to reach any part of the city.
The best accessibility to Ahmedabad via road is through NH 8. From Mumbai, it is just a 9 to 10 hours’ drive which approximately comes to 530 kilometers.
How many days are enough to visit Ahmedabad?
Three to four days are sufficient to explore the beautiful city of Ahmedabad. Given the fact that Ahmedabad has historical as well as urban wonders, the city has thousands of things to do. There is a good chance that one could get lost for more than three days there.
Best time to visit Ahmedabad
Like most of the parts of India, November to February is the best time to visit Ahmedabad as the weather is pleasant during these months. if you are planning to visit Gujarat during this season, Do check out my complete guide to Rann Utsav . Rann of Kutch have to be a part of your Gujarat itenerary.
Best places to explore in Ahmedabad/ Things to do in Ahmedabad
When it comes to the places you can visit in Ahmedabad or things you can do in the city, the list is never-ending. So here I am taking the liberty to filter the best of the places as per my experience. This will save you the overwhelming feeling of where to visit and what to skip.
So let’s hop on!
1. Heritage Walk, Ahmedabad – “Mandir to Masjid”
The best way to feel and experience the historical richness of any place is to walk through its heritage. Given the diverse history of Ahmedabad, the Heritage walk is one of the highly recommended activities. Heritage walk is one of my personal favorites too. Walking past the narrow lanes with the old rustic building teleports you back in time. The colorful houses, temples, and mosques along with the narrow lanes of the marketplace were an unmatched experience.
The Heritage walk is also known as “Mandir to Masjid” is organized by Ahmedabad municipal corporation, it starts from 19th Century Swaminarayan Temple (which is a glorious sight). Takes you to narrow lanes lined by rustic Pols, Kala Ramji Temple, and ends at the famous 15th century Jama Masjid.
There are 3 different walks that you can enjoy depending on the time available and your interest:
Morning Heritage walk – It takes 2 hours and covers 20-22 points
Night Heritage walk – It takes 2.30 hours and covers 16 points
Jain Amdavad Heritage Walk – It takes 2.30 hours and covers 10 points
2. Sabarmati Ashram
When in Gujarat, how can you not visit the places where Gandhi Ji, The Father of our Nation, spent his time. Sabarmati Ashram is one such place. His erstwhile home and the place from where Gandhiji started the Satyagraha movement. Now converted into a simple museum, the Ashram overlooks the scenic Sabarmati riverfront. The Ashram has two parts, the section where Gandhiji lived with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and other followers. The modern section was conceived by architect Charles Correa. Tour of the former section showcases the modest rooms, kitchen, visitors room, etc. The simplicity and tranquility of this place are unmatched. The Ashram is surrounded by open green space, and you feel calm and peaceful the moment you enter the Ashram. Do visit Sabarmati Ashram early morning or evening to soak yourself in positive and calming vibes.
Ashram timings: 8 am– 6.30 pm
Entry: Entry to Ashram is free
3. Calico Museum of Textile
Situated right across the river is the oldest museum in Ahmedabad, The Calico Museum of Textile. Given the status of Ahmedabad as the popular textile hub in India since the 19th Century, the museum showcases a vast collection of unique and rare fabrics from all over the country. The museum also has an outstanding collection of South Indian bronze artifacts, Vaishnava picchavais, Jain art, and miniature paintings. Located in the Shahiboug area, this museum is a feast to the eyes and enhances your understanding of the vibrant fabrics of India.
Museum Timings:The guided tour starts at 10.30 am and ends at 1.00 pm.
Entry ticket: Entry is free. You need to pre-register for the guided tour, you can visit their website (www.calicomuseum.org). The number of people allowed for the guided tour is 20. So, book in advance.
Important note: Children below 10 are not allowed in the museum. If you are traveling with young kids, decide accordingly.
4. Sabarmati River Front
Rivers are a lifeline of any city, so is the Sabarmati River for Ahmedabad. The Riverfront project on the banks of Sabarmati River was initiated by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 1997. The idea was to preserve the natural ecology amidst the chaotic urban city. This project has ensured the urban forestry and the green cover in the city.
Today Riverfront is the sprawling hub connecting people with nature through multiple activities. The riverfront hosts River promenade streets, parks, general facility hubs, and biodiversity parks. So, if you are looking for some peaceful time, take a walk/cycle along the 11.5 km of Promenade by the riverbank or visit one of the many public parks or visit the biodiversity park with Children. The Riverfront also has an exclusive children’s park.
Entry timings: 9 am to 9 pm
Entry Fee: No entry fee
5. Science City
Like I said earlier, Ahmedabad is not just about the heritage and historical places, It also has places that showcase the state of the art technology. Science City is one such great example. Established in the year 2001, today The Gujarat Council of Science City owns a magical 1,96,024 square km of land showcasing the scientific progression of the state and the country.
Before you read further, let me tell you the science city is not any other boring science museum, but one of the most exciting places to visit in Ahmedabad.
Once you enter the science city, you will be amazed by the state of art installations and exhibits. It is hard to believe you are in India.
The science city has 13 different sections, including IMAX Theatre
Electrodome, Hall of Space & Science, Amphitheatre, Expo Ground, Children Activity Centre, Restaurants, Planet Earth, Life Science Park, Energy Park, Musical Fountain, Thrill Ride, Auda Garden
The Aquarium reminds you of SEA Aquarium Singapore. However, the most exciting part of science city is the Robotics section. Enjoy the cute robots dancing, serving food at the restaurant. You can also enjoy thrilling virtual reality games.
Entry Fee: Entry fees for each section differ.
Timings: 10 am to 7.30 pm
Important note: Do keep a whole day aside if you want to explore multiple sections of science city.
6. Hutheesing Jain Temple
With its incredible architecture and magnificence, The Hutheesing Jain temple is one of the best Jain temples in Ahmedabad.
Constructed in 1848 by a wealthy merchant Sheth Hutheesing, this temple is dedicated to the 15th Jain Tirthankara, Shri Dharmanatha.
The temple showcases have a massive courtyard surrounded by smaller domes and a mandapa with a large, ridged dome with twelve intricately decorated pillars. The temple showcases a great work of architecture. Take some time out to visit this remarkable temple.
Entry timing: 8 am to 5 pm
Entry fee: Entry free
7. Bhadra fort
Sultan Ahmad Shah, the founder of Ahmedabad, built the Bhadra fort in the walled city of Ahmedabad. The fort was built in 1411 AD, near the eastern bank of the Sabarmati River. Spread on 43 acres, the fort is named after the centuries-old Bhadra Kali temple in its premises. The fort houses fourteen minarets, eight gates, and two large gates. A historical gate called Teen Darwaja was built on its eastern side to enter the fort. You can enjoy the bird’s eye view of the old city from here.
Entry Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
Entry Fee: No entry fee
8. Auto World Vintage Car Museum
If you love cars and automobiles, this place will enthrall you beyond doubt. The museum showcases an impressive collection of vintage cars, antiques, horse carriages, and much more. This museum was developed by Mr.Pranlal Bhogilal Patel. His vintage vehicles collection has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. This priceless collection includes vintage cars brands like Bentley, Lagonda, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Austin, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Auburn.
Entry timing: 8 am to 9 pm
Entry Fee: INR 50 per person
9. Sidi Saiyyed Mosque
Built-in 1572 AD, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque or Sidi Saiyyid ki Jali is the most spectacular Mosque in Ahmedabad. With its exquisitely carved windows, the mosque is one of the finest examples of Architectural precision of the gone by era. The mosque is known for its 10 intricately carved stone latticework windows (jali). One of these Jalis with intertwined branches showcasing tree of life has been an inspiration for the logo design of the Indian institute to Ahmedabad.
Entry Timings: 7 am to 6 pm
Entry fee: No entry fee
10. Akshardham Temple, Ahmedabad
The most beautiful Akshardham temple of India, this magnificent temple is situated amidst a sprawling 23acres green lawn. Built with pink sandstones (without using any steel), this masterpiece is a blend of contemporary and traditional architecture. The main attraction in the temple is the seven feet tall gold-plated idol of Lord Swaminarayan. The temple is 26 km away from Ahmedabad. A must-visit place, not only for religious purposes but also for the positive atmosphere and fine architecture.
Timings: 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
Entry Fee: No entry fee
11. Adalaj ki Vav
Gujarat is famous for its intricately carved and ornate step wells.Adalaj Ki Vav is one of the most popular step wells around the city.
Grandeur and craftsmanship of this 15th-century stepwell intrigue and mesmerize the visitors. Every floor of this five-story structure is ornately decorated. Symmetrical design provides an overlook of the octagonal well.The stepwell is situated in the village Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad.Mahmud Begada built Adalaj ki vav to commemorate Queen Rudabai, wife of Veersinh, the Vaghela chieftain.
Today the Vav serves as a key architectural attraction around Ahmedabad and a treat to many eyes. If you are a sucker for history and architecture, you must include them in your itinerary.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Entry fee: No entry fee
12. Manek Chowk
If observing the hustle-bustle of the rustic market and feasting on a variety of delicacies is your liking, you must visit Manek Chowk.
The place goes through a variation of three phases. It’s a vegetable and spice market during the Mornings, during afternoons, it is a bullion market, and, in the night, it will treat your taste buds as a street food delight. Isn’t this transition fascinating?
So, after visiting a lot of architectural wonders and historically significant destinations, if you want a little break, head out to this classic Indian Market Zone buzzing with colors, people, and Gujarati delicacies.
Timings: 11 am to 2 am
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Some points to Keep in Mind
There are a few points that you should keep in mind while visiting Ahmedabad.
1. While visiting religious places, do dress modestly. Avoid wearing a short dress, shorts, spaghetti tops, etc. Do carry a stole with you.
2. Ahmedabad is a paradise for vegetarians, so don’t forget to try a variety of snacks and Gujarati cuisine. We visited “Gordhan thal’ for lunch, food was mouthwatering and at approx. 350 for an unlimited thali, it was economical too.
3. Ahmedabad is a dry state. Restaurants or cafes do not serve alcohol. In Gujarat, you need a permit, to buy or consume alcohol (including beer and breezers) in Gujarat. Do check out the process and apply for the necessary permits in advance.
So, this was my list of top places to visit when you are here.
Ahmedabad provides you with a diverse experience, and you can never be wrong with your vacation plan there. If you love architecture, art, and vibrance, you will fall in love with this place.
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