Gandhi Ashram, situated at the side of the Sabarmati river and also called the Sabarmati Ashram was founded by Gandhiji in 1917. The ashram is famous due to Gandhiji's Dandi March, one of the most significant incidences of India's Freedom Struggle, that commenced from here towards Dandi. This Ashram is a memorabilia of Gandhiji and the incidents of his life during that period.
Gandhiji chose this spot to proliferate his experiments with different constructive activities as measures of self-reliance. He started spinning and weaving and patronizing khadi in this ashram.
A guided tour with prior appointment can help the tourists visit the following attractions in the Sabarmati Ashram: Magan Niwas, Upasana Mandir, Hriday Kunj, Vinoba-Mira Kutir, Nandini, Udyog Mandir, Somnath Chattralaya, Teacher's Niwas, The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Painting Gallery, My life is my message, Library and Archives.
Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is a small museum that documents the letters and photographs of Gandhiji. The Archive shelves manuscripts, felicitations, photo negatives, files all related to Gandhiji's live.
Hriday Kunj is Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi's living quarters, Vinoba-Mira Kutir is the place were Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Mira Ben stayed at different times, Upasana Mandir is the prayer ground of the ashram people and similarly, all the other attractions of this ashram are all somehow related to Gandhiji's life.
The Akshardham Temple is located in Gandhinagar which is around 30 km from the city of Ahmedabad. This is a temple of the Swaminarayan sect believing in Sanatan Hinduism. The temple is made of pink sandstone and houses the idol of Swaminarayan, the founder of the sect. This temple has an idol of Swaminarayan himself, which is gold-plated and has the idols of Swami Gunatitanand and Swami Gopalanand Swami on both sides.
The temple has three floors—Hari Mandapam or the main floor, Vibhuti Mandapam or the upper floor, Prasadi Mandapam or the ground floor. The temple consists of 7 pillars, 210 single-stoned beams, 25 domes and 8 zarokhas. Each pillar has wonderful carvings on it. No steel has been used in the total construction. Lot of filigree work has been done on the stone.
There is a light and sound presentation in the temple complex demonstrating the different incidents related to the Sanatan Hinduism. This show talks about Vedas, Puranas and the knowledge from the ancient Hindu texts. There is a passage way around the temple that is supported by 356 stone pillars. There is also an Applied Research in Social Harmony centre that provides the opportunity of research for scholars.
Built in 1822, this is the first temple of the Swami Narayana sect. Constructed during the British era, this temple was built by Anandanand Swami. Made by Burmese Teak wood, all carvings are beautifully carved according to the specifications mentioned in their religious scriptures and with bright colours.
Swami Narayana had set up many idols over here by himself and many items of his own use are also displayed in this temple. Different religious representations and chapters related to their gods are demonstrated through the sculptures of the temple.
The temple also has a special section for women disciples, specially for their teaching and ceremonies. This temple is a celebration of colour amidst the old and colourless city life of old Ahmedabad. Nara Narayana is the principal deity of this temple.
Kankaria Lake was made during the time of Sultan-Qutub-ud-Din. At the center of the lake is an island on which Nagina Wadi, a summer palace, was built. There is a garden around the palace.
This lake today has become an activity center for tourists and many facilities for that purpose has come up; like the toy-train alongside the lake, 'Bal Vatika' with different outdoor toys for children, a boat club with boating facility for the tourists, a zoo and a natural history museum.
The colourful lights along the lake and the colourful fountains in the Nagina Wadi give the lake a marvelous and grand look in the dark of the night.
Jama masjid was actually meant for the private use of the emperors. It was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmed Shah I on 1423. It was also inaugurated by him. The structure is made of yellow sandstone and the courtyard is made of marble. It’s surrounded by a columned passage and there are Arabic calligraphy drawn on these columns.
Two minarets at the entry have collapsed in 1819 during an earthquake. The prayer hall of the masjid has 15 domes supported by 260 columns. This masjid has a lot of Jain and Hindu motifs carved in the walls.
The central domes looking like lotus are more alike the ones found in Jain temples and some pillars carry a carving of a hanging bell as found in Hindu temples. Not only these, there is an 'Om' symbol engraved in one of the windows. Visitors from all religions are allowed to enter the masjid but they are requested to maintain silence during prayers.
One can enter the masjid during prayers after covering his head and women are not allowed in the main hall. The tombs of Ahmed Shah, his son and his grand-son are there on the west of the masjid and the burials of the Queen and other wives are nearby them.
Located in the Shahibaug area this national museum is put up in the Moti Shahi Mahal which was actually built by Shah Jahan between 1618 and 1622. From 1960 to 1978, this palace served as the Raj Bhavan for the Governor of Gujarat.
In 1980, a memorial across the ground floor of the Mahal was built to pay homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The museum showcases the life and contributions of Sardar Patel through photographs, newspaper cuttings, cartoons, portraits, personal possessions and other materials.
There is a statue of Sardar Patel at the entrance of the museum. One room in the first floor is also dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore as he stayed here at the age of seventeen and this Mahal inspired him to write the story of ‘The Hungry Stones’(Khudito Pashan). A statue of Rabindranath, his writings, pictures, portraits are also displayed in this room.
Jhulta Minara is two pairs of Shaking Minarets, one situated within Sidi Bashir Mosque opposite the Sarangpur Darwaja and the other in Raj Bibi Mosque opposite to Ahmedabad Railway Station.
The uniqueness of these pairs of Minarets is that when one Minaret of any pair is shaken, in a few seconds interval, the other minaret of that pair shakes while the passage connecting the two remains undisturbed.
The Minarets of the Sidi Bashir mosque are three-storeyed with balconies decorated by stone carvings and is believed to be built by Sidi Bashir, a servant of Sultan Ahmed Shah.
The actual reason for this vibration is unknown and in an endeavour to uncover the mystery behind its engineering, the British disintegrated some parts of the Minaret close to the Station but were unable to assemble back to its previous state. These Minarets are now not allowed for climbing for the visitors but they still remain a centre of interest for the tourists.
This is a temple devoted to Dharmanatha, the fifteenth Jain Tirthankar and made from the donation of 10 lakhs by an Ahmedabad business man, Sheth Hutheesing Kesri. Built in 1848 AD, it is made with white marble, an exquisite example of the excellent craftsmanship of the Salat community and specifically thought to be the work of Premchand Salat.
This temple is quite close to the Delhi Gate. It has a mandapa, towered with a dome and supported with 12 decorated pillars with beautiful stone carvings on them. The main shrine is on the east and has 52 other shrines for other Jain Tirthankars.
There is also a Kirti stambha/ Mahavir stambha ( column of honour) in front of the main entrance built much later than the temple. This 78-ft-high tower resembles the Chittor Tower of Rajasthan. The carving in this tower is more like Mughal designs.
The city of Ahmedabad was established by Ahmed Shah in 1411 and later fortified by his grandson Mahmud Begda for its protection. This wall is10 km in circumference, with 12 gates, 189 bastions and more than 6,000 battlements.
With the enlargement of the city periphery gradually the wall has almost got abolished except for a part near the Sabarmati River but the gates still remain. Shahpur Gate, Delhi Gate, Dariapur Gate, Prem Gate, Kalupur Gate, Panch Kuva Gate, Sarangpur Gate, Raipur Gate, Astodia Gate, Mahudha Gate, Jamalpur Gate, Khanjia Gate, Raikhad Gate, Ganesh Gate and Ram Gate are the names of these 12 gates.
All these gates have beautiful carvings and calligraphy on them. The city within this wall and gates is the old city, that has narrow alleys suitable only for walks and two wheelers. The old city has been divided into units called ‘pols’ where people from the same caste and community live together.
Some of these pols also have a temple at the center and the architecture of these buildings are wonderful with beautiful carvings on wooden doors and pillars and fresco work on the walls. The pols also have a structure called 'chabutro' which is a bird feeder meant for the birds to use as their houses and built in the replacement of the trees that were cut for building up the city.
This mosque was built in 1573 and it is the last masjid built in Ahmedabad during the Mughal era. The stone lattice work found on the windows of the western side of this masjid, is world famous as it contains the symbol of the Ahmedabad city.
Portraiture of a tree in delicate filigree work, with fine lines carved out of stone, is the uniqueness of the craftsmanship of this architecture. Though situated within busy city, this masjid will definitely take one's mind to a state that can only be realized and not explained.
Manek Chowk is named after a saint Baba Manek Nath. The story goes that, in 15th century when Ahmed Shah was building the fort, Baba was causing hindrance to his efforts by his super-natural powers. He used to weave a mat while the fort was built during the day time and open it in the night bringing down what was built.
Then, Ahmed Shah asked him to prove his magical powers by getting inside a bottle and when he actually did, Sultan captured him in it and buried him.
Manek Chowk is a vegetable market in the morning, jewellery market in the afternoon, and full of fast food stalls during the evening. A huge crowd is gathered every day in these stalls everyday making it a very busy market place.
Migratory birds from Central Europe come to this sanctuary during the winter in search of food and warmth. More than 200 species of birds including the brown and white wading birds, black-tailed godwit, stints, plovers and sandpipers flock this lake as the marshy land around it, is a rich source of insects, reeds and other aquatic plants that helps the birds to survive.
Also ample amount of water and fish during the months of November to February makes it a haven for these birds and the birdwatchers. In 1969 this lake and 120 sq km wetlands around the lake has been announced as a bird sanctuary.
Mahudi Tirth is one of the most sacred temples of the Jains. This place was called Madhumati in ancient times and 2000 years old excavational evidence has proved its existence. Acharyadev Buddhi Sagarsurisvarji initiated the construction of the temple after a period of penance.
The idol here is of Ghantakarna Mahavir Dev, in the form of his previous incarnation of Kshatriya king Tungabhadra and bears the bow and arrow of the king. People from different religious backgrounds believe that this idol has miraculous powers of fulfilling all personal and spiritual needs and so thousands of devotees gather here to offer, donate or consume “Sukhadi”, which is supposed to be his favourite food.
There is a 30 feet high bell next to the temple which the devotees climb and ring in order to fulfill their wishes. Acharyadev Buddhi Sagarsurisvarji also installed an idol of Bhagawan Padmaprabhu, 22 inches tall and made of marble, close to the main temple. It is a ritual that the devotees take a bhoomti or walk around the shrines of the 24 tirthankaras.
Situated at the east side of Manek Chowk, this is basically the burial ground of the female members of the royal family. The word 'Rani no' means Queen and 'Hajiro' is tomb. The street leading to Rani no Hajiro, is now a busy market of women's wear and accessories.
Badshah no Hajiro or Raja no Hajiro is on the west side of Manek Chowk. This is basically the burial ground of the male members of the royal family. Across the road, there are burials of few ministers. Men have to cover their heads while entering and women are not allowed to enter this ground.