A city of paradox, Ahmedabad is a juxtaposition of all opposites. On one side we find the Gujaratis who are famous throughout India as the master businessmen and on the other, we had Gandhiji with his Satyagraha and Non-violence. Materialistic attitude one hand and the spirituality of self-renunciation on the other, with all such diversities Ahmedabad is the best representative of the Indian culture and is also the seventh largest metropolis of India. Ahmedabad has also been rated as the fastest growing city in India.
The Background Story of Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad is the financial capital of Gujarat. Located 32km to the north of Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad is situated at the banks of Sabarmati River. Ahmedabad was formerly known as Karnavati, named after its ruler Solanki King Karandev I, but later when it got invaded by Sultan Ahmed Shah it was renamed as Ahmedabad.
Impressions of the Past
Mahmud Begda, the grandson of Sultan Ahmed built a wall of 10km circumference consisting of twelve gates, 189 bastions, over 6,000 battlements to fortify the city from further invasions. Each of these twelve gates have wonderful carvings and calligraphy on them. Some of these gates also have balconies. During the Mughal period Ahmedabad was conquered by Samrat Akhbar, but the Mughal who left his imprints on this place is Shahjahan. Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibaug was sponsored by him.
Gandhiji's Influence on the City
During the British rule this city gained prominence due to the Indian Independence Movement pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji established two Ashrams- the Satyagraha Ashram presently known as the Sabarmati Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati River and the Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad. Gandhiji initiated the Salt Satyagraha movement by commencing the Dandi March from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. Under the British rule it was known as the "Manchester of the East" and during Gandhiji's Swadeshi movement the textile industry proliferated quite rapidly. The famous Arvind Mills, Calico Mills came into existence at that time and produced indigenous textiles, for which they are renowned ever since.
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A place full of historical monuments and also all modern attractions like huge malls and movie halls, Hutheesing Jain Temple, Sidi Sayeed Masjid, Swaminarayan Temple, Jama Masjid, Mahudi Jain Temple, Akshardham, City Walls and the gates, Rani no Hajiro, Badshah no Hajiro, Jhulta Minara, Sarkhej Roza, Dada Harir Vav, The Adalaj Step well are some of the places tourists flock to visit. There a number of museums, natural eco-systems and forests like the Indora Natural Park and Kankaria Lake which are centers of attraction for the tourists.
The total population of Ahmedabad is 4.5 million people. Ahmedabad, being a center for commerce, has a large population of Vanias (or traders), belonging to the Vaishnav Hinduism and Jainism sects. Also a major population of Parsis in India live here. There is also a small population of 300 Israeli Jews living in Ahmedabad. Muslims have always remained a significantly large community. Although Gujarati is the state language, Hindi is a commonly spoken language in business, education, government and in other spectas of daily life.
Ahmedabad has a hot semi-arid climate and it intermediates between desert and humid climates, with marginally less rain than required. This city experiences three main seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Other than the monsoon season, the climate is extremely dry. January is mildly cold due to the cold northerly winds.
Things To Do in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad has a vibrant cultural tradition as it is a congregation of diverse cultural and religious communities. Popular festivals like Navratri are celebrated for nine long days. Garba, a folk dance of Gujarat is performed during Navratri. Deepavali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudi Padwa, Eid ul-Fitr, Muharram and Christmas are other festivals celebrated with equal enthusiasm.
Commuting within the city is quite easy as auto rickshaws and buses are available. The Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) runs the local bus service within the city.Situated in the Kalupur Area, the main station of the city, the Ahmedabad Railway Station is also known as Kalupur Station. Other stations of Ahmedabad are Maninagar, Vatva, Gandhigram, Asarva, Chandlodia, Kali gam, Vastrapur, Sabarmati, Sarkhej, Naroda and Aamli. The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport located 15km from the city center and 8km from Ahmedabad Railway station and Bus stand serves both domestic and international passengers.
An Emerging City
Ahmedabad as a fast evolving city has come up with projects in various sectors like real estate, automobile, chemical, pharmaceutical, petroleum and IT industries. The city houses institutions like IIM (Indian Institute of Management) - Ahmedabad, NID(National Institute of Design), NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology and many more.
Today's Ahmedabad is the right place for any tourist to enjoy. Starting from shopping in big malls to enjoying the stay in international standard hotels, riding a safari in natural parks to visiting historical places, one can experience everything in this place. Ahmedabad has become a popular destination as it caters to each and every need of a traveler.