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10 Historical and Cultural Places in Ahmedabad

10 Historical and Cultural Places in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad, situated in the state of Gujarat in India, is renowned for its abundant historical and cultural legacy. Although there are no temples in Ahmedabad specifically dedicated to Thai culture and religion, the city boasts numerous historical and cultural landmarks that could captivate tourists, including those from Thailand, who wish to delve into India’s multifarious religious traditions and cultural heritage. Below are a few noteworthy sites in Ahmedabad:

Sabarmati Ashram

The Sabarmati Ashram, situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, served as the residence of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba from 1917 to 1930. This ashram played a pivotal role in the Indian freedom struggle, and it was from here that Gandhiji led the historic Dandi march, also known as the Salt Satyagraha, on March 12, 1930.

Positioned between a prison and a crematorium, the ashram is nestled on the banks of the Sabarmati River. Unfortunately, the government took control of the ashram, prompting Gandhi to request its return, which was met with reluctance. Eventually, on July 22, 1933, he made the decision to disband the ashram.

Within the ashram premises, there is a museum that showcases eight life-sized color oil paintings and an exhibition dedicated to Gandhiji’s life. Additionally, the ashram features an open-air prayer ground called Upasana Mandir, where Gandhiji would address individuals’ queries following prayers.

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque

The construction of the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, India took place from 1572 to 1573. It was commissioned by Sidi Saiyyed, an Abyssinian saint of African descent, who had served in the armies of Ahmed Shah and Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Madmud III. Sidi Saiyyed was renowned for his nobility, philanthropy towards the underprivileged, and his extensive collection of books.

The mosque was built during the final year of the Gujarat Sultanate’s existence, under the rule of Shams-ud-din Muzaffar Shah III, who was the last Sultan of the Gujarat Sultanate. However, the Mughals, led by Akbar, brought an end to the Gujarat Sultanate.

During the British colonial era, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque served as an office for the Mamlatdar of Dascrohi taluka. Modifications were made during this period, including the installation of doors, conversion of the mihrabs into presses, and the whitewashing of the interior. Presently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the mosque. Notably, the “Tree of Life” from the Sidi Saiyyed mosque has served as an inspiration for the symbol of IIM Ahmedabad, a prestigious educational institution in India.

Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar (near Ahmedabad)

The Akshardham Temple, located in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, stands as a grand Hindu temple complex. Constructed to pay homage to Swaminarayan by BAPS Swaminaryan Sanstha, this temple was a labor of love that spanned over 13 years and was officially inaugurated on October 30, 1992. 

This magnificent structure holds a significant place among the numerous temples in Gujarat state due to its size and prominence. The temple complex seamlessly blends various elements such as devotion, art, architecture, education, exhibitions, and research. Situated on a sprawling 23-acre plot in Gandhinagar, the temple is constructed using pink sandstone sourced from Rajasthan. Additionally, within the temple premises, one can find the Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH), a forward-thinking research center equipped with an extensive library, study stations, and archives. 

The term “Akshardham” translates to the divine abode of God. This awe-inspiring temple was inspired by Yogiji Maharaj (1892–1971), the fourth spiritual successor of Swaminarayan, and brought to life by Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921–2016), the fifth spiritual successor of Swaminarayan.

Calico Museum of Textiles

Established in 1949 by Gautam and Gira Sarabhai, the Calico Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad, India holds a significant place in the realm of Indian handicraft and industrial textiles. Its inauguration was graced by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Initially situated at the Calico Mills, the museum was later relocated to the Sarabhai House in Shahibaug in 1983.

This specialized museum not only delves into the historical aspects of Indian textiles but also focuses on the technical study of the craft. Its collection has played a pivotal role in shaping the textile design courses offered at the National Institute of Design, which is also situated in Ahmedabad.

The museum encompasses various sections dedicated to specific regions of India. The Orissa section showcases intricate three-dimensional patchworks portraying Lord Krishna with Balaram and Subhadra. On the other hand, the Punjab section highlights the art of darning, stitching, and thread work. Additionally, visitors can partake in daily museum tours to explore the diverse collections. To further enrich knowledge in the field, the Sarabhai Foundation offers an extensive range of textile publications and other related resources.

Kankaria Lake

Located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, Kankaria Lake is an artificial body of water that holds historical significance. Constructed in 1451 by Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Ahmad Shah II, it was initially known as “Qutub Hojj” and served as a vital water reservoir. As the second largest lake in Ahmedabad, Kankaria Lake boasts a unique shape, resembling a 34-sided polygon. Its perimeter stretches for approximately 1.25 kilometers and features steps that lead visitors to the water’s edge. Additionally, the lake showcases an intricately carved water inlet on its eastern side, adorned with three circular openings, adding to its architectural charm

The lake has undergone several renovations over the years to enhance its beauty and recreational offerings. Attractions include: 

  • A tethered hot-air balloon
  • A mini-train
  • The Kamla Nehru Zoo
  • One Tree Hill Garden

Kankaria Lake is open on all days of the week except Mondays. It opens from 4:00 am – 8:00 am and then reopens again from 9:00 am – 10:00 pm.

Gujarat Vidyapith

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India is home to Gujarat Vidyapith, a deemed university that was established by Mahatma Gandhi on October 18, 1920. Since 1963, it has been recognized as a deemed university. Gandhi’s vision for Vidyapith was to equip young people with the skills necessary for national reconstruction and to bring about the India of his dreams, known as ‘Hind Swaraj’.

The university’s objectives include

  • Adherence to truth and non-violence
  • Participation in productive work with a sense of dignity of labour
  • Acceptance of equality of religions
  • Priority for the need of villages dwellers in all curricula
  • Use of mother-tongue as a medium of instructions

Every year, the university prepares approximately 100 graduates in social service who are equipped to work in a variety of rural development fields. These graduates are trained to excel in areas such as rural education, community development, tribal welfare, panchayat service, and cooperative movement.

Vastrapur Lake

Vastrapur Lake, situated in Ahmedabad, India, is a well-known tourist spot. Positioned in the western region of the city, the lake is encompassed by beautifully crafted gardens. Initially introduced to the public in 2002 by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the lake was officially named after Narsingh Mehta, a revered poet from Gujarat during the 15th century. However, in 2013, the lake underwent a renaming ceremony to honor his memory, becoming known as “Bhakt Kavi Narsinh Mehta Sarovar”.

One of the notable features of the lake is its open-air theater, which serves as a venue for various cultural events. Over the years, numerous renowned musicians have graced the stage at this picturesque location. Prior to its transformation, the area surrounding the lake was occupied by a large slum, housing approximately 400 families. However, in 2002, the slum was cleared, and the lake underwent development, with the addition of a charming garden. The former slum dwellers were provided with new residences in close proximity to the lake, ensuring a smooth transition for them.

Shreyas Folk Museum

The Shreyas Folk Museum, situated in Ahmedabad, India, was founded in April 1977 with the primary objective of safeguarding and exhibiting the rich heritage of traditional folk arts from the Gujarat region. Positioned on the picturesque Shreyas Tekra Hill in Ambavadi, near Sabarmati, this museum is under the ownership and administration of the esteemed Shreyas Foundation, a private trust dedicated to the preservation of cultural treasures.

The museum displays a variety of handicrafts, including: 

Embroidery, Beadwork, Woodcarving, Metalwork, Leatherwork, Costumes, Paintings, Household items. 

The museum pays homage to the Gujarati women who have enriched the Gujarati heritage through their artistic creations. Within its collection, one can find masterpieces crafted by women from diverse communities in Gujarat, including Kathi, Rabari, Ahir, Bharvad, Kanbi, Rajput, Brahmin, Vania, Meghaval, Meman, and Miana. Its establishment can be attributed to the visionary Smt. Leena Sarabhai, while the responsible management falls under the guidance of Shri Abhay Mangaldas as the managing trustee. Overseeing the curation of the museum’s exhibits is Ms. Meena Rajput.

Sarkhej Roza

Sarkhej Roza, located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, is a significant mosque and tomb complex. Constructed in 1451, it holds great reverence among the various Roza’s found throughout Gujarat. This architectural marvel encompasses a shrine dedicated to the Sufi saint Sheikh Ahmad Ganj Baksh, who served as the spiritual mentor to Ahmad Shah I, the ruler of that era.

Sarkhej Roza stands as a remarkable testament to early Islamic architecture in India. It beautifully amalgamates influences from Persia’s Islamic style with architectural elements inspired by Hindu and Jain traditions, resulting in the distinctive “Indo-Saracenic” architectural style.

Originally sprawling across an extensive 72-acre area, the complex was adorned with elaborate gardens on all sides. However, as time passed, human settlements gradually encroached upon the gardens, diminishing the total area to 34 acres. Despite this, Sarkhej Roza remains open to visitors every day, welcoming them from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Sabarmati Riverfront

The Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, India, is a remarkable waterfront development that stretches along the banks of the Sabarmati River. Since the city’s establishment in 1411, the river has played a vital role in the lives of the people of Ahmedabad. It has served as a source of water, a picturesque backdrop for cultural and recreational activities, and even a farming area during the dry seasons.

The idea for the riverfront project was first proposed in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 2005 that construction began. This development became an integral part of the city’s urban transformation. In the same year, the riverfront was opened to the public, offering them a delightful corniche-like walkway where they could enjoy the scenic beauty of the river.

The story of the Sabarmati Riverfront dates back to the 1990s when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation established the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). As part of the riverfront’s development, interceptor lines were installed along both banks of the river. These lines effectively capture sewage discharge from 38 different points and redirect it to the newly enhanced sewage treatment plants located south of Vasna Barrage. This initiative has significantly contributed to the improvement of the river’s water quality and overall environmental sustainability.

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