Often overlooked by many travellers passing through the well worn backpacker trail in India, Ahmedabad is a powerhouse of a city packed with amazing things for backpackers to see and do. Here is the quintessential top 10 list of what travellers should see and do in Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad, India’s first UNESCO heritage city and the capital of Gujurat, is one of the most unique in India, with a smorgasboard of unique things to see and do that will draw even the most jaded traveller in and make them fall in love with it.
Like most large cities in India, Ahmedabad can be a little overwhelming at first and culture shock can hit the unwary and unprepared hard. But Ahmedabad is also a city that very quickly grows on you with a deep heritage, colourful history, amazing cuisine that will force at least a few extra pounds on you and a legacy of Ghandi that can be felt throughout this unique city.
There are enough sites and activities in Ahmedabad to keep any traveller occupied for weeks, but to make sure you make the most of your time in the city, here is a list of the top 10 things to see and do in Ahmedabad.
Ahmed Shah Mosque.
This huge mosque was erected by the founder of Ahmadabad himself, Ahmed Shah in the 15th century and is one of the most impressive in the city. It was used as the Royal family’s private mosque for much of the time since and has an impressive array of carved pillars that are well worth taking a couple hours to admire.
Once home to Mahatma Ghandi himself, this Ashram and museum is a serene and poignant reminder of his life and teachings.
Sidi Sayed Mosque.
This small but beautifully carved mosque is more than just an interesting piece of Indo – Islamic architecture, the yellow sandstone mosque has become the personification of Ahmedabad itself with the famous ‘Tree of Life’ arched window now the unofficial symbol of the city, and is well worth a visit for any lovers of history, architecture or art.
Dada Harir Step Well.
This amazing five storey tall structure was originally built not only as a well, to access the deep ground water for weary and thirsty travellers, but also as a place to rest and congregate, and this is still obvious today as you walk down each level and admire the unique and amazing architectural features. At almost 200 feet long and 40 feet wide this is one of the most impressive step wells in Ahmedabad and is an absolute must see in the city.
This impressive piece of architectural wonder is an absolute must see for any lover of history. One of the few remaining and still the best examples of a ‘shaking minaret’, a design feature that allows every minaret to vibrate to counter the effects of any earthquake or movement, the minarets are all that is left of the Sidi Bashir mosque.
Manek Chowk is one of those quintessentially and uniquely Indian places that overload every sense you have with an explosion of sound, colour, smells and tastes. Full of the call of traders from the jewellers market during the day, this little corner in the oldest part of Ahmedabad transforms in the night as street stalls filled with every type of Gujarat’s best desserts, ice creams and street food! No visit to Ahmedabad is complete until you have come here.
This architectural masterpiece is so stunning it could easily lay claim to be Gujurat’s Taj Mahal and is one of the most impressive temples in India itself. Surrounded by carefully manicured gardens and even a lake, this impressive monolith of pink sandstone is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan and hosts millions of devotees every year.
Don’t let the name fool you, there is actually a nice garden to relax in here and the Gujurat Law Society College is where the name comes from, but this is one of Ahmedabad’s largest, most insane and most atmospheric markets! Want some local handicrafts? Some Sari’s? How about some shawls or scarves, some home decor, or even some jewelry? It can all be found here! Just be prepared to hone your bargaining skills!
One of the most popular night markets in Ahmedabad, Ratri Bazaar is home to some of the best street eats in the city. Come down here after sunset and take your time strolling round the stalls taking in the smells of all the dosa and biryani.
Now a random collection of government offices and even a Kali temple, the 15th century exterior of this fort still evokes a time long forgotten when the fort formed the eastern defence of the Ahmedabad Citadel. A fascinating place to explore during the day, the square really comes alive after sundown when huge crowds gather round the food stalls and vendors.
Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum.
This museum is an absolute must see for any lovers of history or any traveller who just wants a little insight into Ahmedabad’s past. There are countless beautiful pieces of art and artifacts housed here that you can spend days just slowly appreciating.
One of India’s most impressive and beautiful mosques and built from a fusion of older Hindu and Jain temple ruins, the Jama Masjid has a unique architectural style that can be seen in every inch of the carved stone.
Okay this bonus item is a little bit of a cheat because it is very slightly outside of Ahmedabad itself but is such a quick and easy visit from the city centre and is such an important cultural site to the city that I am including it here.
Dandi Kutir is the worlds largest and only museum built around the story of one man, Mahatma Gandhi. The building itself is a huge shock the first time you see it, and many will be forgiven for thinking it is a pyramid when it is in fact a huge salt mound, reflecting the importance of salt to the region and a metaphor for Gandhi’s vision as everyone living in a pluralistic society. With the heart and vision of Gandhi directly at the heart of what the museum is, and the legacy of Gandhi so important to Ahmedabad, you have to visit this amazing museum while you are here.
Ahmedabad is an amazing city and one that is all too often overlooked by backpackers and travellers alike! Do yourself a favour and take the time to explore Ahmedebad before going off to discover the rest of Gujurat.
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This article was written in partnership with Gujurat Tourism. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.