Ahmedabad – Complete guide to visit UNESCO world Heritage City

I have passed through this Metro city many a times in jiffy and never noticed what this city has to offer.Being Gujarati and living just four hours away from Ahmedabad, I always wanted to visit this city enriched with heritage and colors. Earlier the city used to be the capital of Gujarat and declared UNESCO World Heritage City in 2017, there are no dearths of places to visit in this city. I was here during my staycation at HolidayInn express wherein I explored the city for two days and visited Top Places of ahmedabad from touristy to offbeat ones.

Imagine – passing through old lanes of walled city with rich architecture, historical monuments,buzzing colorful markets, old bridges that connects the old and new city, old textile markets, handicrafts and having traditional Gujarati cuisines – All these could be delight to traveler and photographer inside you. Ahmedabad is the city for every type of traveler whether foodie or photographer.

There are so many old historical Places which are most popular Places to visit in Ahmedabad. But here is list of Top Places to visit in Ahmedabad and that too you can cover in 2 days easily.

Here is my 2 days itinerary for Ahmedabad. Start your Day-1 by exploring old walled city and few far off places.

Bhadra Fort:

Bhadra fort was established by the founder of Ahmedabad – King Ahmed Shah in 1411 AD and it houses palace with decorated balconies and arches.The fort houses Bhadrakali temple devoted to goddess Lakshmi. Nowadays the place has lush green garden and bustling market outside the fort. Also, many stories are associated with the fort and naming this city ‘Ahmedabad’ by Ahmed shah.

Teen Darwaja:

Like any other old cities of India, Ahmedabad was also built around gate system. Teen Darwaza is the oldest gateway of the city built by king Ahmed Shah. It is close to Bhadra Fort and one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architectural designs. Presently, the place is popularly known for its roadside market known as Teen Darwaza market. It is bustling with local street side shoppers all day. You can buy traditional Gujarati dresses,footwear and jewelry etc. at cheapest rate here.

Siddi Saiyad Mosque (Siddi Saiyad ki Jali)

Tree of Life at SIddi Saiyad Mosque

Siddi saiyad mosque popularly known as Siddi Saiyad ni Jali is one of the smallest and most famous mosque of Ahmedabad. Located near busy traffic junction in northwest of Bhadra fort, it doesn’t draw attention at first place.

As you enter in the mosque complex, you will notice the exquisite stone windows upfront which is superb example of delicate carvings that transforms yellow sandstone into intricate lattice. You can describe this masterwork as ‘lace on the stone’. There are four sets of Jalis on the wall and one needs to look up back walls of the mosque.

Siddi Saiyad Mosque

The mosque was built by Siddi Saiyyad in 1572-73 AD who was from Yemen and named after sultan ahmed shah. The mosque has been build with minarets and eight arched windows which are adorned by these stone carved intricate jalis. The jali has two interwoven trees-Banyan tree (kalpvriksha) and palm tree with lofty branches and detailed carvings of flora in background. Kalpvriksha is an ancient design idiom in hindu mythology known as wishing tree and palm tree is famous for Arabic connection; making this mosque the best example of Indi Saracenic architecture.

Architecture from backside of the Mosque

The ‘tree of life‘ is most intricate lattice pattern of siddi saiyad ki jali becoming an inspiration, that the Indian Institute of management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) derived its logo from it. Looking at its such unique artwork, one should not miss this place in your itinerary.

Geometric patterns in the Jalis at the mosque

Rani Rupmati Mosque:

Located in old ahmedabad city, Rani Rupmati Mosque was build by King Muhmad beguda for his wife Rupmati. The mosque’s stands with impressive structure with tall minarets and carved galleries. The mosque also has three domes supported by Pillars.

Carvings on the pillar at Rani Rupmati Mosque

The mosque is best example of blending Hindu and Muslim style architecture.The prayer hall and ceilings have exquisite carvings. It is also made in yellow sandstone like other monuments of Gujarat. But looking to the history of all monuments, it reminds the rich past of Ahmadabad.

Also Read: Places to Visit around Ahmedabad

Dada Harir Stepwell:

Dada Harir StepWell

There were many step wells built in Gujarat during solanki dynasty and the architecture of step wells remained more or less in this style during Mughal era too. It is said that dada harir step well was built by lady Bai Harir Sultani during reign of Muhmad Beguda. She was household lady of the king and superintendent of royal harem. Initially the step well was named after her, modified later as ‘Dada Harir’.

The step well is 5 floors deep and has octagonal opening at top ; built on intricately carved pillars. It was dug deep to access ground water at that level to provide permanent access to water at ground level. As you descend, you will find the motifs of flowers and graphics of Islamic architecture that blend very well with the symbols of Hindu and Jain gods carved at various levels of the step well. It is one of the finest piece of architecture in Ahmedabad.

Carvings on the walls

There is a Mosque in the step well complex, just opposite to the entrance. The mosque is known as Hazarat Harir Mosque where it is said that Bai Harir has been rested.

Visiting Hour: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm, Everyday

Rani Sipri’s Mosque:

This place is near astodia gate in old walled city. Rani (queen) Sipri was the wife of Ahmad Shah Beguda. She was the daughter of Hindu chief of that time.The mosque is one of the finest specimen of its kind in Ahmedabad. The mosque is harmoniously balanced,its tall minarets are in perfect harmony with its prayer hall.The carvings on pillars are showing feminine grace. The mosque has tomb of Rani Sipri and with a separate prayer hall for women to worship.

Julta Minar -Siddi Bashir Mosque:

Julta Minar or popularly known as ‘shacking Minarets’ are full of mystery, which still remains wonder for engineers. What they cannot unravel is when one minaret is shaken the other begins to vibrate, though the connecting passage between the two remains vibration-free; what causes this vibration is unknown.

Pic Credit: Gurnam Jagota

There are two well-known pairs of Shaking Minarets in Ahmedabad – one located opposite the Sarangpur Darwaja and the other near the Kalupur Railway Station Area.
The one near Sarangpur Darwaja is within the vicinity of the Sidi Bashir Mosque, built by Siddi Bashir in the reign of Ahmed Shah.They are three storey’s tall with carved balconies where visitors were once allowed to climb all the way up. The other set of minarets near the Railway Station is taller in height but they are now not in good condition.The shacking minarets are classic example of superb craftsmanship.

Adalaj Stepwell:

After venturing into the walled city, head towards Adalaj stepwell which lies to northwest of the city. The step well is located at small and quiet village – Adalaj near Gandhinagar .It was built to supply water for the area.

The stepwell is five stories deep both vertically and horizontally.The step well is interactively carved with octagonal opening,built on intricately carved large number of pillars .If you look at the carvings of pillars, you will need few hours to admire all the details on it!!

Detailed Carvings at Adalaj Stepwell

The top floors has more carvings than the lower ones which you will notice as you descend. As one descends towards the well, the temperature starts dropping making one feel cooler than the upper part of the well. Each floor has a large number of rooms that are well ventilated. The unique part of the stepwell architecture is the fact that the sunlight does not touch the flights of steps or landing.

There is a circular well at the end of the steps.The well is now fenced off for protection.But one can feel the cold while sitting at the steps just as many travelers would have centuries ago.

Adalaj stepwell is fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture.There are carvings of god and goddess on the walls which indicates people of adalaj and nearby villages visited to offer prayers and to interact with each other under the cool shades of the stepwell.

Look at the Work ; just woow

Looking to such intricate work done centuries ago in 1499 by queen Rudabai , this place could have been used by many pilgrims and caravans. This beautiful and cool stepwell could have been their resting place for escaping the heat along the trade route.

One of Pretty Part of Step well complex

The stepwell is declared as monument of national importance by Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) as it is one of the finest example of Indian architecture.Looking to all this, Adalaj stepwell is one of the most famous Places to visit in Ahmedabad.

Ambapur Stepwell:

Picture Credit : Gurnam Jagota

If you are obsessed with Indian architecture, here is one more stepwell to visit located at Ambapur village – 4 Kms from Adalaj stepwell. It was built in the 15th century, although it doesn’t have any inscription. It is also intricately carved and is five stories deep. All these stepwells were once the integral source of drinking water for the people. If you are stepwells lover, Ahmedabad is heaven.It is one of beautiful Places to visit around Ahmedabad.

Picture Credit: Gurnam Jagota

Sarkhej Roja:

Tomb complex

Located 10 Kms from city center, Sarkhej Roza comprises Mosque and tomb complex. During the Mughal era, Sarkhej was prominent place for Sufi culture in India were revered sufi saint Shaikh Ahmed Ganj Baksh Khattu lived. Upon his death, the reigning monarch, Mohammed Shah ordered a mausoleum built in his honour, along with a mosque.The construction of these two monuments were completed in 1451 A.D by his successor Ahmed Shah. And then Sultan Mahmud Begada later built lake and pavilions around it.

The architecture of Sarkhej Roza also influences Islamic,hindu and jain features to composite Indo-Saracenic style.The architecture details makes it one of the most elegant and unique architectural complexes of Ahmedabad.

Mosque complex

The mosque, with its courtyard, creates a religious milieu; the royal connection is made through the tombs and palaces; the great tank, platforms and pavilions were used by the common man.The 20th Century Le Corbusier compared the design of Sarkhej Roza complex to the Acropolis of Athens; since then Sarkhej Roza has been famusly known as ‘Acropolis of Ahmedabad’. This Places is must to include in your Ahmedabad sightseeing.

Lake Built near Mosque

Architecture that resembles like Acropolis of Athens

It is good place to rest and enjoy the sunset after exploring the city whole day.

Day-2:

One of the alleys in Pol

After seeing famous monuments, start your day by exploring most fascinated and famous Place of Ahmedabad- the Pols of Ahmedabad and Heritage Walk. The narrow crisscross lanes known as Pols in Old city is most favorite place to visit in Ahmedabad and photographer’s delight.Every Pol has sprawling Havelis which are hundreds years old and it is home to locals who live there presently for many generations. Seeing those beautifully carved houses and facades were one of the highlight of my trip.

Doors in the Pol

The pols are urban settlement that bears lineage of traditional architecture style of Gujarat.It comprises of many families of particular group like caste,religion,profession etc.This way you can say it is a world in itself as it comprises houses of 10 to 60 families with bird feeding area,temples,playing areas, chowks and so on.

One of the many Havelis in Pols

The best way to explore old city is taking Mandir (temple) to Masjid (Mosque) Walk. The heritage walk is organised by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation(AMC). The walk starts at 7 AM from Swaminarayan temple and ends at 10.30 hours at Jami Masjid. The walk involves
in between these two places knowing many nuances of life in the Pols.

Swaminrayan Temple:

The walk commences from the swaminarayan temple,kalupur which was built in early 19th century.The temple has huge complex, walls and pillars intricately carved and colorfully painted.

As the walk progresses, you will notice the different styled architecture of the Pols.The pols are an exuberant riot of beautiful wooden facades, lovely wooden brackets, beautiful carved windows, magical balconies, Otlas(sitting area outside home), carved wooden chabutaras (bird feeders) for feeding pigeons, khadkis(gate) and chowks, secret entrances, temple, playing areas, sculptured wooden doors, beams, pillars and balconies.

Looks at the Carvings above the doors, isn’t it amazing??

The central open space is known as the chowk and the rest of the zones are built around it. The carvings mainly reflects the hindu,jain,islamic,marathi style of architecture.This means so many communities are part of the old city for many generations.

Jami Masjid:

Prayer Room at Jami Masjid

The heritage walk of Ahmedabad ends at Jami Masjid which is main mosque in old walled city.The mosque is situated near bustling Manek Chowk area.The area around mosque is always busy with traffic, hustle and bustle of shops, street vendors etc ; as you enter inside the mosque this urban chaos will fall away behind you.

As we step inside the mosque, there is a huge courtyard with white marble floor and a tank for ritual ablutions in center. The mosque and arcades are built of beautiful yellow sandstone and carved with the intricate detail that mosques of this period are known for.The main prayer hall has over 260 columns supporting the roof.

Tree of Life

This place will profound your serenity; accompanied by people in quiet prayer and birds chirping on the columns.

Sabarmati Ashram:

Entrance to the Ashram

The One Place that attracts all type of tourists in Ahmedabad then it is Sabarmati Ashram which is one most Popular tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. Sabarmati Ashram located on the banks of river Sabarmati is a place of interest in Ahmedabad if you are curious to know about the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The campus is lush green and tranquil to spent good time and feeling how it could be years ago.

Old Ashram Complex

The ashram was one of the many residence of Mahatma Gandhi when he was not travelling across India. Gandhi Ashram was originally established at Kocharab area of Ahmedabad. Gandhiji started living with wife Kasturba after his return from South Africa.However, he wanted to engage himself in several activities including animal husbandry, cow breeding and farming as such Ashram then moved to an open area on the banks of river Sabarmati.

The Ashram holds significance as Gandhiji led famed Dandi March(Salt Satyagrah) from here and later it led to freedom of India. So it was known as Satyagrah Ashram. Owing to its significance the Ashram is now considered as a national monument.

The Ashram now has a museum- Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. It throws light on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.The informative museum has three galleries including Gandhi in Ahmedabad Gallery, Painting Gallery and My Life is My Message Gallery. Travelers gain an insight into the life and accomplishments of Mahatma Gandhi.

Volunteers working on Charkha to thread Khadi from row cotton

Opposite to Museum is Hriday Kunj which were the living quarters of Gandhiji and Kasturba. Outside, one can see volunteers working on Charkha to thread khadi from row cotton and one can even try their hands on it. Gandhiji started movement to use ‘swadeshi’ and that lead to Khadi movement and ultimately weapon for independence of India.

Entry fees and timings: 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM all days ; No entry fees

Hatheesinh Jain Temple:

Another prominent architecture in Ahmedabad is Hatheesing Jain Temple complex.The temple was built in 1848 by Shetani Harkunvar in the memory of her husband Sheth Hatheesinh who was wealthy trader.The temple is dedicated to Jain tirthankar and houses 11 deities.

Detailed Carvings on the roof

The temple has dome shaped structure at its front and back which are decorated with exquisite patterns and designs. Keerti Sambh, the column of honor, is also built in the compound and attracts every tourist and devotee towards its structural beauty.This place is one of the beautiful Places of Ahmedabad.

Kirti Stambh

Sabarmati Riverfront:

If you are in Ahmedabad and looking for quiet time, head to Sabarmati Riverfront.As its name suggests, it is waterfront developed along the banks of river Sabarmati. The roads are constructed with footpaths, parking bays, carriage ways and cycle tracks.There are many amenities like promenade for walking,Parks and Gardens to enjoy evenings at leisure.It is popular place for Ahmadabadi’s to spent time with family on weekend.

Other Places of Interest in Ahmedabad:

  • Calico Museum of Textile
  • Auto World Vintage Car Museum
  • Kite Museum
  • Vichaar Utensil Museum
  • Kankaria Lake

Where to Eat in Ahmedabad:

Trip to Ahmadabad is incomplete without devouring its street food and visiting traditional restaurants.

  • Manek Chowk – This place is in old city which is bustling market during day and street food heaven at night.The place come alive as it gets dark and you will find every type of food to satiate your taste bud.Must try Gwalior Dhosa,tukda Pavbhaji,chocalate sandwich here.
  • Gujarat is famous for besan(gramflour) iteams – devour Khaman,thepla,Ganthiya,fafda and Jalebi at your heart’s content. You will find many stalls across the city but must try Sabarmati Jail’s Bhajiya which are sold by Jail Prisoners.
  • Must have Dal Wada at Ambika Dal wada. You will remember me surely for suggesting it !!
  • If you are keen to taste traditional Gujarati cuisines – go for Govardhan ,Vishala ,Rajwadu restaurants which serves Gujarati thali with so many cuisines in one dish.

Shopping in Ahmedabad:

Like every other city, Ahmedabad also has so many street markets to shop for traditional items,clothes,junk jewellery etc.

  • Lal Darwaja
  • Law Garden
  • Rani No Hajiro
  • Dhalgarwad Market for Sarees,cholis etc
  • If you are more about brands, head to CG road. It has best Malls like CG Square Mall, Super Mall, Shail’s Mall, and Iscon Arcad with many international and national brand showrooms.

Festivals to Enjoy in Ahmedabad:

People of Ahmedabad and Gujarat are fond of festivals and they celebrate it with so much zeal. As being Gujarati, I enjoy Makarsankranti (Kite flying) and Navratri festivals so much.If you are planning to visit Ahmedabad or Gujarat; I highly recommend to experience International Kite Flying festival(Uttarayan) in Ahmedabad that held every years in January . It is the festival to experience kaleidoscope of colors during the celebrations.

Me during Navratri festival in Gujarat

Best time to Visit:

Ahmedabad is basically hot city and it has pleasant winters. Monsoon season starts from July-Sep.Winters are the best time to visit from Oct-March with mild temperature and sunny days.Summer starts from Apr-June and city remains quite hot.Best to avoid summer.

How to Reach:

Ahmedabad is well connected by Air,train and road with all major cities of India – Delhi,Mumbai,Banglore,Chennai etc.It has domestic as well as international airport and railway station is known as Kalupur railway station.

Dada Harir Stepwell Pillars and Carvings

Getting around:

City has well organised City Bus services and one can avail services of autos,taxis too. If you want to travel by taxi; ,ZOOM car,UBER and OLA taxi are good options to travel in the city and surrounding areas.

Where to Stay in Ahmedabad:

Ahmedabad is one of major cities of India and it has a combination of options to stay. If you want to experience luxury of living in haveli(Mansion) which are more than hundreds years old OR any modern luxurious hotel with quieter surroundings, Ahmedabad will satisfy every traveler’s desire. If you are solo traveler, there are many budget hotels and Hostels in the city.

For staying at Old heritage Haveli you can consider- The House of MG at Lal Darwaja, Mangaldas Haveli II, Jethabhai Ni Haveli Deewanji ni Haveli and French Haveli. Most of these are located in Old ahmedabad -Khadia area whereas modern hotels are bit away from city center. I stayed at hotel Holiday Inn Express Prahlad Nagar which is modern hotel with all the amenities for budget traveler.

If you ask me, two days can’t do justice for this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage City; isn’t it??…



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