A UNESCO heritage city , Ahmedabad has a fine balance of all that is modern and of the past , that is bygone. While famous for its textile industry , which is why it was coined under the British , by the name " Manchester of the East" , this city has a lot of business rush. A huge part of India's GDP comes from this ever money making city and its high merchant culture. However , behind this crazy business hot spot , Ahmedabad holds on to its old world charm, which had interested me the most.
The modern day city dates back to 1411 A.D , when the ruler Ahmed Shah , built his capital by the Sabarmati river , and named it Ahamdavad ( as per pronunciation.) With time, the city changed hands to different rulers from Mughals to Marathas to finally English. Due to this transfer , a multi ethnic community and its presence can be found in this city. With such diversity the city , evidently holds its heritage architecture and culture in tact, all well.
A walk in the old part of the city has been my highlight to understand the essence of this beautiful place. The people in the old city still lives in the old quarters and hold on to their culture. This Quarters an example of old days colonies were termed as POLs. Each Pol was dedicated to a community according to religion or profession they belonged to. The daily life , has changed over time due to the arrival of modern day living and amenities, however , at times , some scenes around the corner , takes you back in the past. I would recommend you to be patient , while taking the heritage walk in Ahmedabad. Sip in the details well.
Jainism is very prominent in this part of India, and for Jains , animals hold a special value. This is why you will see a lot of squirrels and birds nesting around the houses. They are also fed by the residents around. If you take in the detail, every part of the house is a architectural wonder of the old world ,with beautiful craftsmanship. Being a tour guide who finds passion and purpose in history , it is a treat to understand the neighborhood. Each place talks of the history that has been sustained in the continuous living colonies around the old city.
Manek Chowk , the old city square was a hub of jewelers and diamond merchants. To provide security to the shops, they had started a night food market , which overtime became a very popular go-to spot in the city. If you are a foodie, a late night visit to Manek Chowk is must. However , in the day time, it is still a busy market worth wandering to see the old buildings , such as the oldest stock exchange in the country. It is every building telling a story in itself and worth knowing them. It is of no surprise that , Ahmedabad is THE FIRST UNESCO HERITAGE CITY OF INDIA.
Being a tour guide who has worked for some of the most renowned photographers, I enjoy going around places which are photogenic. Ahmedabad surely , does not disappoint with the old charm and vintage rustic neighborhood. For photographers , it is a treat to capture, and special mention to the old wooden doors. Keep an eye for them , their intricate details and curving are finest art in presentation. Such a thing reflects that people , in the city were quite artistic and savored the influence of heightened craftsmanship. It also depicts , peace and harmony was to be found naturally, since only then people could be affluent of such art.
A long lineage of Muslim dynasty has left mark in the old town with the grand Jama mosque that sits like the crown of the city. Built in 15th century , it is an archaeological wonder indeed. Ending the heritage walk here will be icing on the cake. All in all , Ahmedabad , lives up to its reputation and is definitely a city to visit , to learn the culture and heritage of India. Honestly speaking , I never planned to go to Ahmedabad, and it is the presence of a dear close friend who prompted me to go and visit , this beautiful city. I only wondered why I never thought of the city before , as a destination to try. I guess often we miss out on things kept quietlt secret , and I assure you , Ahmedabad does have , quiet great ones up its sleeve.
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"