Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad (also spelled Ahmadabad) (Hindi: अहमदाबाद, Gujarati: અમદાવાદ) is the fifth largest city in India with a population of 6.5 million. Although it is the commercial hub of one of the most prosperous states of India, Gujarat, it's not the state capital, which is its twin city of Gandhinagar, 30 km to the North.

Ahmedabad is a good example of materialistic attitude and spirituality of self-renunciation. One of the fastest growing city in India, Ahmedabad is a centre for information technology, education and industries. Bhadra Fort, Shaking Minarets and Teen Darwaza are the historical sites of the city. Kankaria Lake and Vastrapur Lake are places which let you feel the pleasure of nature. If you want to enjoy the colourful side of this part, then pay a visit during the major festivals of Ahmedabad: Uttarayan and Navratri are two most famous festivals that are celebrated with great zeal and gusto. The winter season is considered as the best time to visit the city.

Aerial view of Ahmedabad

Also Gujaratis are known for their hospitality and tourism in Gujarat.

Districts

The classification below is according to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). Some of it might seem confusing; e.g.: Motera is actually located in the Northern part and Vasna is in the Southern part, although both are classified as being in West Zone.

Central Zone (Girdharnagar, Madhupura, Dudheshvar, Shahpur, Dariapur, Kalupur, Raikhad, Jamalpur, Khadia)
This zone mostly consists of the Walled City areas of Ahmedabad and the famous Mughal architecture of the old times. The main Ahmedabad Railway Station (ADI) is located in Kalupur.
North Zone (Sardarnagar, Nobalnagar, Naroda, Kubernagar, Meghaninagar, Asarva, Shahibaug, Naroda Road, Thakkarbapanagar, Saraspur, Nava Naroda)
SVP International Airport (AMD) is located in Hansol. Asarva is well known for the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and Naroda is the industrial area now developing rapidly.
South Zone (Behrampura, Kankariya, Indrapuri, Khokhra, Maninagar, Narol, Danilimda, Lambha, Isanpur, Ghodasar, Vatva)
Kankariya Lake is a very popular and relaxing place here. Maninagar Railway Station serves this region of the city, as an alternative station to the main railway station in Kalupur in Central Zone. The prestigious Ahmedabad - Vadodara National Expressway - 1 starts from the C.T.M.
East Zone (Nikol, Bapunagar, Gomtipur, Rakhial, Odhav, Vastral, Hatkeshwar, Ramol, Hathijan)
Mostly industrial areas.
West Zone (Motera, Chandkheda, Sabarmati, Vadaj, Usmanpura, Navrangpura, Ambawadi, Paldi, Vasna)
Motera, Chandkheda and Vasna are rapidly developing suburbs. Motera-Chandkheda, in Northern portion, serve as exits to the capital and twin city of Gandhinagar via Visat-Gandhinagar Intercity Highway (up to Infocity Gandhinagar). Sabarmati is one of the oldest areas of Ahmedabad, having the Sabarmati Railway Station (SBI) for North India-bound trains (as an alternative station to the main railway station (ADI) in Kalupur in Central Zone). Ashram Road and C G Road are core business and commercial areas. Vasna is quite in Southern portion and is an industrial area.
New West Zone (Gota, Chandlodiya, Kali, Ranip, Thaltej, Bodakdev, Sarkhej, Vastrapur, Vejalpur, Juhapura, Memnagar, Jodhpur Gaam)
Most of them are developing suburbs. IIM-Ahmedabad, one of the best business schools in India, is located in Vastrapur. Vastrapur Lake is newly built artificial lake. Ranip is close to Sabarmati and has the Sabarmati Railway Station (SBT) for trains to/from Central India (as an alternative station to the main railway station (ADI) in Kalupur in Central Zone). Bodakdev and Vastrapur are well-known for commercial centers. Sarkhej is the Ahmedabad end of S G Highway that connects to Gandhinagar on the Western side.

Understand

Panorama of Ahmedabad

History

The city was founded by King Karandev 1 in the 11th century and originally called "Karnavati". The Hindu kingdom of Karnavati retained its importance until 1411 when Sultan Ahmed Shah conquered Gujarat and the city was renamed Ahmedabad after him.

The city was built in an open and spacious plane to the East of Sabarmati. It was comprised of smaller known Fort as Bhadra Fort. The city fort wall was enclosed containing 12 Gates. The city of Ahmedabad went on expanding in every direction by the addition of new areas on the sides of the river, with well laid out beautiful buildings, lakes and mosques.

In 1753 the combined armies of Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaekwad took the fort, which resulted into end of Mughal Rule in Ahmedabad. In 64 years during the rule of Gaekwad and Peshwa, city became cleaner. In 1818 the British annexed Ahmedabad. During this period the municipality committee was founded and a railway link was established.

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Vastrapur, Ahmedabad

The British restricted themselves to the cantonment area and didn’t take much interest in the city. Nor did they get around to colonizing Ahmedabad culturally; they didn't set up schools, churches and clubs all over the city, the way they did in other cities they integrated to their way of life. The local language is Gujarati. You can get around by using Hindi or English with most people.

Ahmedabad was a cradle of the non-violent movement for India's independence, being host to the Sabarmati ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Ahmedabad poses a mixture of rich tradition and modern feel.

Jama Masjid Ahmedabad

Today

The Gujarati community is known for its hospitality and for being shrewd businessmen. Ahmedabad is a big industrial city long reputed for its textile industry, and today more so for its chemical, petroleum, international trade & IT industries. It is also known for its financial services industry, and as the modern hub of Jain Religion. The city has institutions such as the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad, National Institute of Design, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology, IHM, MICA, EDI, Nirma University, Swaminarayan Gurukul, CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology) University and NIFT.

Climate

Summer starts by mid-March and lasts up to mid-June. The typical temperature on a hot, sunny day in May would be 34-44°C (93-111°F) It's advisable not to visit during thr summer. With the arrival of the monsoon by mid-June, the city becomes a fun place. You'll be able to enjoy the various monsoon specialities of the city like boiled or roasted corn dishes on road-side stalls or some special local dishes like. There are also some famous Hindu festivals like Rakshabandhan (or Rakhi) and Janmastami - the birth date of Lord Krishna - which fall during this season. You may sometimes end up in floods. Winter is the best season to visit the city when the typical temperature is 5-20°C (41-68°F)..

Get in

By plane

Terminal 2

The   Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. (IATA: AMD) is in the area of Hansol, just 15 km north-east from the city-centre. The airport is expanding with permissions for many international air lines being given and development of new terminals.

Terminal 2 (Inside view)

There is international direct flight to New York / New Jersey (Newark) via Mumbai served by Air India. Non-stop connections are available for Muscat, Kuwait (Kuwait Airways), Dubai (Emirates), Doha Qatar (Qatar Airways), Sharjah(Air Arabia) and Singapore (Singapore Airlines).

Ahmedabad is well-connected domestically via daily flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Chennai, Bangalore, Goa, Kolkata, Jaipur, Pune, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Nagpur with connections to several other Indian cities and towns. Recently, flights to Kandla and Surat have also been launched. Most domestic airlines have a flight in and out of Ahmedabad.

Passengers hoping to arrive at the airport early should be advised that the international terminal is not open 24 hours, and may not open until the late afternoon. As at other Indian airports, you will likely be denied entry until approximately three hours before your scheduled flight even if the terminal is open. Therefore, connecting between a domestic and an international flight will often involve waiting outside for hours with the throngs of touts and hustlers.

From airport to city

By car

The Hansol area where the airport is located lies near the river banks, between the areas of Shahibaug and Naroda that give access to Ahmedabad. For travelling to most of the main areas of Ahmedabad, head in the direction of Shahibaug. To the opposite of the river banks is the area of Motera - Chandkheda which are the northern ends of Ahmedabad and are better accessible through Koteshwar - Bhat Road (enters Motera through Koteshwar) or Ring Road (leading to Visat, turning left at Tapovan Circle); both these roads branch at different points on the road from Airport Circle (in direction of Naroda from the airport) to Koba Circle (take left from Airport Circle onto Indira Bridge). Also the famous S G Highway can be accessed by heading straight on the Ring Road, instead of turning left for Visat.

The twin city and the state capital, Gandhinagar, is accessible through the road from Airport Circle (in direction of Naroda from the airport): Take left from Airport Circle onto Indira Bridge and keep straight onto the inter - city highway, crossing roundabouts at Tapovan Circle and Koba Circle, ending at 'Indroda Circle' (CH 0), the starting point of Gandhinagar (from South).

By auto rickshaw/taxi

An auto rickshaw or a taxi should cost roughly ₹ 200 - 300 respectively. Save yourself considerable hassle by using the prepaid booth, or preferably arrange a pickup in advance with your hotel.

By AMTS bus

AMTS buses serve the airport directly. These buses have an extensive network all over the city.

By BRTS bus

The BRTS corridor hasn't yet arrived nearby.

By train

Main entrance of Ahmedabad Railway Station (ADI), one of the busiest in India
Platform 1, Ahmedabad Railway Station (ADI)

Indian Railways has a very wide network all over India and Ahmedabad (Central) Railway Station (Station code: ADI) is connected with Mumbai(500 km), Vadodara Jaipur, Jodhpur and Delhi with trains several times a day. Daily connections (or multiple weekly connections) are also available to several other major cities including Bikaner, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Udaipur, Indore, Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Nagpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Chennai, Nagarcoil, Trivendram, Bangaluru, and Coimbatore. Direct trains are also available for Jammu, Patna, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Kolhapur, Goa, Mangalore, Cochin, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

  Ahmedabad Central Railway Station (Kalupur). (Station code: ADI), the main railway station serving the city is located in Kalupur (Central Zone). The other stations serving Ahmedabad are Maninagar, Vatva, Gandhigram, Asarva, Chandlodia, Chandkheda, Saij, Kalol Jn, Kali Gam, Vastrapur, Sabarmati, Sarkhej, Naroda, Gandhinagar, Khodiyar, Aamli. Although the important and well-connected ones are only Sabarmati Junction (  for West & South-bound trains (Ranip). Station code: SBI,   for North-bound trains (Dharmnagar). Station code: SBT) located in the neighbourhood of Sabarmati (Northern West Zone) and   Maninagar Railway Station. (Station code: MAN) located in Maninagar (South Zone).

Sabarmati Junction (SBI), a station located in the suburb of Sabarmati (West Zone, Ahmedabad)

The website of Indian Railways will show you trains from a particular station to your destination along with days, timings, fares and availability. This will help you find trains from individual stations of Ahmedabad (separate searches) as NOT all trains stop at all stations except of course, the main Ahmedabad Railway Station (Station code: ADI) where each train halts (and for longer durations than any other station). Booking can be done through the website of IRCTC, a subsidiary of Indian Railways or through any of the railway reservation centres throughout India.

From railway stations to city

Ahmedabad Railway Station

It is located in the area of Kalupur (Central Zone). It has a road-side Janmarg BRTS stand within the campus of the railway station, which is just outside the main entrance of the railway station. It is directly served by BRTS buses on the Line no. 9 (towards RTO Circle [Northern West Zone] and towards Ellisbridge [Central West Zone]) and Line no. 10 (towards Vasna [Southern West Zone]) and AMTS also directly serves the station to various parts of the city.

Sabarmati Junction

It is located in the neighbourhood of Sabarmati (Northern West Zone), is served by BRTS buses through the BRTS stations of either Sabarmati Powerhouse (closer to the railway station) or Sabarmati Police station, both on Line no. 8 (towards Maninagar (South Zone) and towards Visat Junction (serving the suburb of Chandkheda)). It is also served by AMTS buses directly.

Maninagar Railway Station

It is located in Maninagar (South Ahmedabad) is directly served by BRTS buses on the Line no. 1 (towards RTO Circle [Northern West Zone]), Line no. 5 (towards Iskcon [New West Zone]) and Line no. 8 (towards Visat Junction [Northern West Zone]). AMTS buses also serve the railway station.

By state bus

Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) has buses from all the parts of the Gujarat state entering into the city with the central bus terminus at Geeta Mandir along with other terminals at Subhash Bridge and Naroda; some minor stops are Paldi and Sabarmati Tollnaka, etc. It is advisable to pre-book seats due to the major possibility of crowding.

From bus terminals/stops to city:

  GSRTC Central Bus Terminus (Geeta Mandir). (Central Zone) is served by BRTS buses through the BRTS station of Aastodia Darwaja on the Line no. 9 (towards RTO Circle (West Zone) and towards Ellisbridge (West Zone)) and AMTS buses serve through the stop of Astodia Darwaja.

The GSRTC stop of   Sabarmati Tollnaka. is accessible through the BRTS station of Sabarmati Police station, both on Line no. 8 (towards Maninagar [South Zone] and towards Visat Junction [serving the suburb of Chandkheda]). AMTS buses also have a stop nearby.

By car

From South Gujarat/Maharashtra

Ahmedabad - Vadodara Expressway

You could drive to Ahmedabad from Mumbai on the new highway (NH-8) that's been built, but it will take you around 8 hours (without any traffic jams) to do the 550 odd kilometres. You'll pass Vapi, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, and Nadiad on your way. Driving on the NH-8 is an energy sapper and no fun as there is a huge amount of truck traffic. Be aware that broken down trucks on the highway regularly cause traffic jams for hours on end. The journey from Vadodara to Ahmedabad can also be done via the dedicated express way (NE-1) which does not pass through any towns, rather than NH-8.

The expressway from Vadodara (South Gujarat) to Ahmedabad will end at C.T.M (South Zone).

Via East

Turning right at C.T.M is the Narol - Naroda Road leading you to Naroda in North East Ahmedabad, while passing through the areas of Vastral, Odhav, Nikol, etc. on the right side of the road and the areas of Maninagar, Shastri Nagar, Hansol (Airport Area) on the left side of the road. For the northern areas of Sabarmati, Motera, Chandkheda, etc. turn right at Naroda Patiya Circle, where the Narol - Naroda Road ends, head straight on NH - 8 and turn left at Ranasan Circle onto Ring Road. Turn left at Tapovan Circle, after a few kms, Motera will be on the left side of the highway, Chandkheda on the right. The highway ends at Visat, from where turning left will lead you to Sabarmati.

Via West

Turning left at C.T.M is the Narol - Sarkhej Road which passes through Nehrunagar, Narol, Vatwa, Ghodasar, etc. ending at a T-junction on Vasna Road (or Jawaharlal Nehru Road). From here turn left, pass through the areas of Juhapura, Makarba, etc. till a Y-junction arrives. The right arm will lead you to Sarkhej Cross Roads, from where you turn right onto the S G Highway. The left arm at the Y-junction will lead you via Sarkhej, at Santhal Circle, turn right onto the Ring Road.

Ring Road is preferable if your destination is far (near Northern Ahmedabad) otherwise use S G Highway. Also for Bopal, use only Ring Road.

The major entry points from S G Highway are the areas of Prahladnagar, Shilaj, Vastrapur, Satellite, Bodakdev, Thaltej, Sola, Ognaj, Gota, etc.

From Gandhinagar/North Gujarat/Rajasthan

National Highway 8 (Mumbai to New Delhi) passing through Ahmedabad
Via North and East

You can enter Ahmedabad by passing through Gandhinagar. The inter - city highway starts at Indroda Circle (CH 0) (South Gandhinagar), passing through Koba Circle and Tapovan Circle and ends at Visat (Northern West Zone), the junction to the suburbs of Sabarmati, Motera and Chandkheda. Rather than going to Visat, you can also choose to join Ring Road: From Koba Circle head on the road to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) International Airport, but turn left at Rajasthan Hospital Circle and you're on Ring Road. From here you can connect to the areas of East Ahmedabad such as Nikol, Odhav, Vastral, etc. Also the Southern areas of Ahmedabad, such as Ramol, CTM, Ahmedabad - Vadodara Expressway, Narol, Vatwa, etc. are accessible through Ring Road.

Via West

Another option is to bypass Gandhinagar using Mahatma Mandir Road, then turning right at Sargasan Circle onto S G Highway. You may stay on the S G Highway or turn right at SGVP Circle (also known as Vaishnodevi Circle) onto Ring Road. There are several entry points along the border of extreme Western Ahmedabad, such as Gota, Ognaj, Sola, Thaltej, Bodakdev, Satellite, Vastrapur, Shilaj, Bopal, Prahladnagar, Sarkhej (where S G Highway ends) and Juhapura. For getting to Bopal, use Ring Road rather than S G Highway. Also if you've to go to Southern Ahmedabad, choose Ring Road as it'll be a much faster option than S G Highway.

Get around

Tourist Map of Ahmedabad

Note: The services of AMTS and BRTS close down after 11 PM and resume at 6 AM in the morning.

By AMTS city bus

The local city buses are run by Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) since 1947, forming a wide network covering almost all the points of Ahmedabad. Any destination in the city can be reached from anywhere in the city by AMTS.

Older buses of AMTS
New AMTS buses employed under JnNURM

To identify them and distinguish them from the state transport GSRTC buses or the private luxury buses here is the key: The older buses in this service are painted in red and white or in red and yellow, whereas new bright red ones put up under JnNURM are having electronic display boards. You may easily ask around the people esp. those waiting at one of the AMTS stops about the route, time, etc. as the information displayed is in Gujarati. Also, Public Transit option on Google Maps will show you the nearest AMTS stop while searching directions from your location to the destination and it also gives information about the bus numbers, transfer points, etc. though timings might not be reliable. Also you may install an unofficial App named 'Ahmedabad AMTS Info', available on Google Play Store for Android devices, which guides you regarding travel routes, transfers, etc.

  AMTS Central Bus Terminus (Lal Darwaja). is located at Lal Darwaja in Central Zone. Other terminals are located at Kalupur, Sarangpur, Old Vadaj (Juna Vadaj), Maninagar, Akhbarnagar (Nava Vadaj), Vasna and Naroda and the depots at Jamalpur, Memco (Naroda Patiya) and Memnagar. In total, AMTS has around 1200 stops with 210 routes.

It is mandatory to board the bus from the rear end door and alight from the front end one. The conductor on the bus will issue you a ticket according to your destination stop. Keep handy some notes of ₹ 10/20/50 denominations rather than the higher ones as the fares are very low (these buses are the cheapest means to travel in the city). A pay - per - ride fare will cost you a minimum fare of ₹ 3, while the maximum fare is only ₹ 25). You may also opt to buy a Man Pasand ticket worth ₹ 45 (available from the bus conductor) which entitles you to unlimited rides for a single day, though it is not preferable to purchase the ₹ 45 ticket as you can complete the journey of going around 4-5 places in just ₹ 30-35. Though, as buses are the most common transport facility for the common people in the city, they are overcrowded at times.

During the journey you may request your co-passengers or the conductor to inform you when the destination arrives/is about to arrive so that you don't miss getting off at your stop and then have to take a reverse trip. Also keep moving towards the front end door as the bus will be crowded with people standing in the corridor between seats and it might be difficult to quickly rush to the door and get off, when your destination arrives (the bus won't halt at a stop more than 10-12 sec, unless it's the AMTS Central Terminus at Lal Darwaja or the last stop of the journey).

Routes can be found at AMTS bus routes (English), Route Network - AMTS and AMTS bus routes (Gujarati)

Heritage/Pilgrim Tours (Dekho Amdavad)

AMTS has a special programme Dekho Amdavad i.e. See Ahmedabad for sight-seeing in Ahmedabad. The buses are air-conditioned (A/C). The starting point is Law Garden Civic Centre. Contact: Toll-free 18002337951 Paid +917926589172

Morning Tour: 07:45 start at Law Garden Civic Centre, visiting Siddi Saiyyed Mosque (Jali), passing through Jhulta Minara (Shaking Minarets), Prem Darwaja (Love Gate), Delhi Darwaja (Delhi Gate), visiting Hutheesingh Jain Temple, Sardar Patel Memorial, Gandhi Ashram-Museum and returning at 13:00.

Afternoon Tour: 13:45 start at Law Garden Civic Centre, passing through IIM, 132 ft Ring Road, APMC, visiting Sarkhej Roza, Vaishnodevi, Adalaj Stepwell, Gandhi Ashram-Museum, Hutheesingh Jain Temple, passing through Prem Darwaja (Love Gate), Jhulta Minara (Shaking Minarets), visiting Kankaria Lake and returning at 20:15.

Sunday Special Pilgrim Tour: 08:00 to 20:00 Visits at Jalaram Temple (Paldi), Bhadrakali Temple (Bhadra/Lal Darwaja), Siddhivinayak Temple (Lal Darwaja), Jagannath Temple (Jamalpur), Hutheesingh Jain Temple (Shahibaug), Swaminarayan Temple (Shahibaug), Gayatri Temple (Shahibaug), Camp Hanuman Temple (Shahibaug), Dholeshwar Mahadev Temple (Gandhinagar), Akshardham Temple (Gandhinagar), Trimandir (Adalaj), Vaishnodevi Temple (S G Highway), Balaji Temple (S G Highway), Bhagwat Vidyapeeth (Gota), ISKCON Temple (S G Highway).

Check this document for more information: Dekho Amdavad - Gujarat Tourism

By BRTS city bus

BRTS Network Map (August 2015)
Nehru Nagar - Shivranjani Crossroad BRTS Corridor (on Line nos. 1 and 8)
A BRTS bus during halt at a station, at night

Another city bus service, run by Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL), is the famous Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) introduced in 2009. These buses are silver-coloured and run on dedicated corridors in the centre portion of the roads. As this service is relatively new in comparison to AMTS, all places cannot be accessed but wherever available, it is the best way to commute as it is remarkably faster than other modes (as no other vehicle can ply on BRTS corridor) and all the stations are marked well, in both English and Hindi. One can also travel using a combination of BRTS, AMTS and/or auto rickshaw. The ticket systems of BRTS and AMTS are not integrated. The fares are only slightly higher than AMTS (min. fare ₹ 4, max. fare ₹ 36)

Dedicated BRTS corridor in the centre of road

The BRTS stations are elevated shelters in the dedicated central corridor of the city roads, from where you can purchase your ticket. Keep the ticket with you till you don't alight at the destination, where you show the ticket to the checker and then leave the station on to the road. For boarding/alighting, the buses are equipped with central automatic doors that open up automatically when the bus halts at a station. While the bus is about to arrive at a station, there are announcements with name of the station along with display on the electronic board inside the bus. Inside the stations, there will be boards displaying real-time information about arrivals or upcoming buses along with the routes and estimated time remaining for the arrivals. The name of the station will be printed in white letters on blue strips on the sides (horizontal) and on the roof of the station (vertical).

Note: All the BRTS buses and the stations are wheel-chair accessible, as the floor of the gate of the bus is of the same level as the platform of the stations, and there are ramps from road to the elevated platforms on the stations; except those of RTO Circle and Kalupur Railway Station, which are road side shelters unlike the standard BRTS stations.

For information on all the BRTS stations, one may visit the above-linked website, which shows them according to the line, or install an unofficial App of BRTS Ahmedabad available on Google Play Store for Android devices, which provides information such as travel options, routes, fare, time, station names, etc. (Note: The Public Transit option on Google Maps doesn't show BRTS services, only the AMTS ones)

In total up till now, there are 126 BRTS stations, and new ones will be launched in phases as the construction work goes on. Following are the 12 currently operational lines:

By auto rickshaw

An autorickshaw in New Delhi similar to the ones in Ahmedabad

You'll spot on the streets, the yellow and green three-wheeled noise machines known as the auto-rickshaws or simply rickshaws. These are always cheaper than taxis and much costlier than AMTS or BRTS when distance is longer than 3 km. They are not very comfortable and spacious. The drivers might ride very roughly, in which case you might request him to drive smoothly and slowly.

Shouting 'auto' or 'rickshaw' at a passing rickshaw should be enough to catch the drivers attention, if you need to—after all, if you don't look Indian, it is likely that if you step outside you will be followed by at least one rickshaw driver pestering you. In most cases, the drivers will be able to understand Hindi and maybe even a few words of English. They are normally quite helpful, but some will try to cheat tourists. As always, agree on a fare before getting in. Day and night fares are different. If you look an out-of-the-town person, you may end up getting overcharged. For example, he might insist on a fare based on meter and take you to your destination through a longer route. Having some understanding about the distances can be helpful.

By taxi

Since auto rickshaws are the dominant travel mode apart from BRTS and AMTS, there is no taxi culture in Ahmedabad. So you will hardly find a taxi on the roads to hail whenever needed, though you may either book a taxi from a hotel or directly book one outside the railway station. There is a government authorized taxi stand. ₹ 950 per day for 12 hours. It may be more costly to book through hotels, and it is better to negotiate with the driver directly. Online bookings are also possible at various websites.

Talk

The local language is Gujarati. Hindi is understood by almost everyone and English is prevalent amongst educated people. English is at least partially understood by most people in the tourist industry.

See

Ahmedabad has several floridly carved historic monuments including the Stepwell at Adalaj and the Rani Mosques (dedicated to Rani Sipri and Rani Rupmati). It is also home to many fine museums and art galleries. Modern office buildings and malls dot the more recently developed areas.

Important places to see include:

Gandhi Ashram
Bhadra Fort Gate (inside view)
Hathi Singh Jain Temple
A typical 'Pol' in Ahmedabad
Jama Masjid pillars
Jhulta Minara (Shaking Minarets) at Sidi Bashir Mosque, Sarangpur
Parimal Garden, C G Road
Sabarmati Riverfront (Day)
Sabarmati Riverfront (Evening)
Siddi Saiyed Jali Mosque
Teen Darwaja, Central Zone Ahmedabad

Do

Watch Bollywood movie at Drive-In Theatre

Films

Only some of the cinemas are listed here. For more, visit individual pages of different zones.

Watch a Gujarati film


Watch a Bollywood (Hindi) or Hollywood film:

Festivals

Sardar Patel Gujarat International Cricket Stadium, Motera

The Muslims of Ahmedeabad and surrounding villages come to Eidgah (a holy place to perform Eids' Namaz (prayer) and Shahi Jam-E-Masjid. The people decorate their homes, shops, buildings, greet each other etc.

Buy

Crowd at Himalaya Mall, Drive-In Road, Gurukul (Ahmedabad)

Ahmedabad is well known for its textile industries. Be sure to look at the traditional hand embroidered and tie 'n die clothes, and if you are buying from the roadside shops be prepared to haggle. It would not be advisable to try these without a local guide. The city's main market area is situated at Thron Darwaja, Dhalgarwad, Ratan Pole, Manek Chowk(old areas)near Lal Darwaja and newer markets like C.G.Road and Sarkhej - Gandhinagar highway near Vastrapur. It is generally a crowded area, but you get a better variety of clothes (it is very crowded during festival seasons). The street side shops near Law Garden also offers good choices. Some shops such as Bandhej and Sanskruti offer these traditional items at fixed (and maybe overpriced) rates. But now the big shopping malls are offering almost all the things at a very cheap rate. You would also love to visit some of the local sweet shops, where traditional Gujarati sweets will catch your attention. Some of the famous shops are Bhogilal Mulchand Kandoi, Jai Hind, Ras Ranjan, etc.

Eat

Lunch in Ahamedabad means roti, puri, vegetables, mango sweets, gulab jamun and butter milk.

Ahmedabad is a gastronomic paradise. You will find at least one restaurant in every nook and corner, anywhere in Ahmedabad. Gujarati people are fond of eating and the food generally tends to be on the sweeter side. Gujaratis are mostly vegetarians hence most local fare consists of vegetarian fare. However, with the advent of international and domestic food chains non-vegetarian fare has become popular in recent times. Ahmedabad is famous for its ice-creams because of abundance of dairy products in the state and Gujaratis' penchant for sweets as well. Gujarati specialties include Dhokla, Khandvi, Srikhand, Haandvo, Bhajiya amongst others.

There are lots of Gujarati dining halls where you can get unlimited "thali" meals within $4. A thali consists of variety of concoctions including salads, appetizers, snacks, breads, pulses, vegetable curries and sweets. This is a very unique experience in terms of not only taste and quality but also the way the items are served.

If you have not stayed in India for long, select a food place which is famous and well organized (hotels, big restaurants). Otherwise, its fun to eat at one of the road side stalls, especially at the Khau Galli in Law Garden area and Khan Pan Bazaar in Manekchawk. Various stalls start operating in both these places in the evening and run late in the night. You will enjoy the food like Paani - Puri (Gol Gappa), Indian Chat, Indian Sandwiches, North Indian, Indian-Chinese and some continental cuisines, amazingly at road-side stalls and for a very reasonable price of less than a $1 per item. Recently, SG Road in the western part of city has transformed into an restaurant strip. It has no less than 100 restaurants in a five-mile stretch offering most varieties in all price ranges.

'Khaman', the popular Gujarati breakfast

Other than these that are several other restaurants that serve excellent food for example (Swati Snacks, House of MG both famous for Gujarati food in chic setting, Bawarchi for Punjabi food, etc.) For western palates, a good way to find new restaurants is to ask a local, especially someone young who would certainly know about such places. International chains like Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway are present throughout the city.

For some street food following places are quite famous:

Drink

Gujarat is one of the few Indian states where alcohol is prohibited. But this applies only to Indians. If you have a non-Indian passport / green card holder/ PR status, you can get an alcohol permit valid for one month by going to a liquor shop large hotel and purchasing one at their liquor shop. Hotels that have liquor shops include: Cama Hotel in Khanpur, Hotel Inder Residency, Opp. to Gujarat College, Comfort Inn President Hotel at CG Road among others open from 12 noon to 8PM Monday to Saturday ph no. +91 79 26467575. Many local people will be able to direct you because they can purchase alcohol on a 'health' license. If you are non-resident of Gujarat, then one can get liquor permits issued at liquor shop on showing proof of travel to Ahmedabad like (1) Air/Train/Bus ticket,(2)any Identity proof by Govt. with Photo, Address & birthdate preferably driving licence and (3a)your Ahmedabad Local address proof like Residence Address of Local friend/relatives electric/telephone bill/ driving licence or (3b)Proof of stay at hotel

However, if you are staying longer you will need a non-resident permit. For that, you will need: a photocopy of passport including your entry stamps, a photocopy of visa, a photocopy of a local resident’s ID card (drivers license will probably be easiest). As of January 3, 2009, ₹1000 (although the person may ask for ₹50 extra as a bribe but should not be given). Note: If you can get a local person to go with you, the entire experience will be a lot easier.

Directions 1 Get your copies notarized as ‘true’ copies. If you don’t have easy access to someone who can do this, the Prohibition and Excise Department will direct you to a nearby office. This will cost about ₹10 per copy. 2. Go to Prohibition and Excise Department which is just off the Ellis bridge on the Victoria garden side of old city . 3. Pick up the bank payment form, and get copies notarized if you haven’t already done this. 4. Fill in the name and local address for the permit holder 5. Get a rickshaw and go to the State Bank of India which is very near by. If a rickshaw is not available, the bank is in walking distance. 6. Pay ₹1050 (or the asked fee) at the State Bank of India 7. Get an ink stamp on form from bank 8. Take your copies, your payment slip and your forms back to the Prohibition and Excise Department. 9. The Department office will provide you with form F.L. /A-1. Fill out form and ask for more than the maximum allowed (ask for about 6 units) to ensure you get the maximum. 10. Pay ₹2 at the Department office. Receive two stamps which are to be stuck onto get form F.L. / A-1 form to show you have paid.

You will either be able to pick up the license immediately, or in a few days. Once you have your license, you take it to a large hotel where they have a liquor shop, and make your purchases.

Bootlegging is rampant, but it carries a risk as well. Amazingly, most Indian made brands cost less here than they do in Mumbai. Decent brands of Indian whisky starts just around ₹200 as do rum, vodka and gin. Premium brands range from ₹600 to ₹1800 (for 12 year old scotch).

Beer is difficult to come by (this is where your permit comes in handy) as is wine/vodka/gin/brandy/scotch/champagne/rum.

But booze is strictly a private affair and don't expect to order a drink at a restaurant (obviously there are no bars here) and you will have to drink in your hotel room or at someone's home. If someone invites you to a party, there is a good chance you will be offered a drink there. Under a new amendment to the law prohibiting alcohol, you cannot be arrested or detained for consuming alcohol illegally unless you misbehave under influence or indulge in bootlegging. However, it is best to consume alcohol at your hotel room or at a very close friends place. Majority of the guests staying at a hotel consume it in their rooms and there is always an implied consent from the hotel who will serve you ice, soda and glasses.

Many small shops sell lassi (a yogurt drink). Lassi choices include: sweet, salty, with almonds. Farki, Girish Cold Drinks and Krishna Dairy are some of the famous ones. Apart from this, Janta Ice Cream and Cold Drinks offers a delicious drink cold Chocolate Coco, a chocolate flavored thick - shake. Janta has its shops across Ahmedabad. There is also a very wide variety of fruit juices available. Most large places like HavMor are reputable and use good water, you should exercise care when drinking at smaller places. Besides, Ahmedabad is a place where most ice cream is consumed in the world. You would love to test many of the local brands like Havmore, Chills Thrills & Frills, Rajsthan Ice Cream, etc.

Sleep

Budget

Cheaper hotels are available on the Eastern side of the Sabarmati in the old town area.

More expensive and newer hotels are available in the more affluent Navrangpura area.

In case you don't have an idea where to go when you arrive to the city, you could ask a rickshaw driver to take you to Relief Road which has plenty of budget accommodation available and is pretty close to the main train station.

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

International code for India is +91 The local area code is 79. Thus in total, +91 79 must be prefixed to a phone number.

Buy pre-paid SIM

To buy a SIM card foreign nationals need to provide a photocopy of their passport, Indian visa page, a passport-sized photo and a proof of residence in India.

The top mobile phone networks in India are:

Emergency Information

Cope

The railway reservation office, and tourist booking window, are in an air conditioned building just outside and to the right (when looking from the street) of the Kalupur Railway station. Other railways stations are able to book tourist quota, but often refuse to serve you and refer you to Kalupur Railway station after a lengthy wait in line.

Hospitals

The main Apollo Hospital is in the twin city of Gandhinagar, but very close to the airport. The Apollo City Center is in Ellisbridge area (West Zone).

Shalby Hospitals are one of the leading multi-speciality tertiary care healthcare institutions in Western India. The highest number of joint replacement surgeries done in a single hospital anywhere in the world are done in Shalby Hospitals’ S G Highway (Main Branch).

News

Stay updated with local news.

Stay safe

People are friendly and the police will help you when you have an emergency. Ahmedabad is relatively safe because alcohol is not permitted: no late-night rowdyism as seen in other cities.

Police stations

Ahmedabad City Police has around 35 major police stations besides the minor police chowkis.

For emergency, dial 100.

Find your police station depending on the area.

E-mail IDs of top officials and the 35 major police stations can be found on Contact Details - Ahmedabad City Police Officials and Stations

Go next

Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar - a 35 km ride from Ahmedabad is not to be missed. They have various shows throughout the day showing the rich Indian heritage and the legend of Lord Swaminarayan. The water show in the evening is one of the best you will find in India.

Stepwell

'''Adalaj Step-Well''' Adalaj is a village 18 km to the north of Ahmedabad. The Vav (step-well) at Adalaj derives its name from the lady patron, Ruda, wife of the Vaghela chief, Virsinh; who built it in the 15th or 16th century A.D. The Vav, laid out in the north-south direction, the well in the north and in the south, have a total length of 75.3 metres. It is the only major monument of its kind, which has three entrance stairs leading to the stepped corridor. These three entrances meet in the first storey, underground, in a huge square platform, which has, to the top, an octagonal opening. The platform rests on 16 pillars, on the corners, and two in front of each side. The four corners of the platform are marked by four built-in shrines, with doors, windows, balconies. The stepped corridor begins from this square platform. The corridor is entirely surrounded by a one-metre high parapet with a rounded topping. It descends with four pavilion towers for five storeys. The walls of the Vav are veritable show cases of sculptures and ornamentation. the sculptures range from a king sitting on a stool under a parasol, to erotic scenes; and buttermilk churning girls. The door frames around the entrances of the spiral staircases to the octagonal shaft are surrounded by a parikrama, which is an enlarged version of the frames around the niches. String-courses running along the side walls embellish all parts of the structure, sometimes dividing the wall into horizontal sections. They also appear on the walls of the octagonal shaft, depicting floral or leaf patterns, or rows of animals. The five-storied, step-well located in the sleepy village of Adlaj is a marvel of architecture. This unique water work is an excellent blend of Hindu and Islamic styles. The intricately carved monument served religious and utilitarian purposes of the people around though its origin is marred by tragedy.

The Indo-Islamic style of architecture, which developed in India in the early centuries of the medieval period, is neither a local variant of Islamic art, nor a modification of Hindu art, but it is an assimilation of both the styles, though not always to an equal degree. It is so because each region in India has its own form of Indo-Islamic architecture, which varies from place to place and there is no standardization. On the other hand, Islamic art itself was a composite style, which had various Muslims influences-Turkish, Persian, and Arabic. Rulers from different parts of the Muslim world, who came to India and settle here, brought with them the artistic traditions of their regions. The intermingling of such traditions with local Indian practices resulted in various examples of Indo-Islamic art.Though both the Indian and Islamic styles have their own distinctive features, there are some common characteristics, which made fusion and adaptation easy. Both the styles favor ornamentation and buildings of both styles are marked by the presence of an open court encompassed by chambers or colonnades. The Adlaj Vav (step-well) is a classic example of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture and has features of both the styles. The intricate floral patterns, which are a part of the Islamic style, can be seen in harmony with Hindu symbolism, which includes depiction of animal and human forms. The profusely carved pillars on different levels of this step-well show strong Hindu and Jain influences, while the ornamentation at a number of places in this monument are influenced by mosques and mausoleum halls of the 15th-16th century Gujarat Sultans.

Built entirely of sandstone, one can enter into this step-well from three sides, which consist of octagonal landings with huge carved colonnades and intricately carved niches. The architecture of this well also shows the influence of the earlier Solanki rulers of Gujarat. Carvings of leafy creepers-typical adornment of Islamic architecture-co-exist with Hindu symbolism. Among the other carvings on the panels are a king sitting on a stool with two bearers, a scene depicting women churning buttermilk, musicians accompanying dancing women apart from abstract representations of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. One can also see a few Buddhist and Jain influences on some of the pillars and walls.

This stupendous structure with its elaborate and heavily ornamented temple-like finish and surrounding structures is a synthesis of various elements-earth, rock and water. On one story is a little Hindu shrine secretly hidden in an obscure corner. The step-well served both ritualistic as well as utilitarian needs. People from the nearby villages used to take water from the well and considered it holy. In the semi arid climate of Gujarat, the cool water from the vav provided a welcome break, particularly in the harsh summer months. Water from the vav was also used for irrigation. Openings in the ceilings above the landing enable light and air to enter the well. However, direct sunlight never reaches the flight of steps or landings except for a brief period at noon as the inner ceilings are arranged to receive the sunlight through these openings. According to a research, there was a total difference of six degrees between the outside and inside of the well, thus making it a veritable air-conditioner.

Innumerable strong and exquisitely carved pillars support each story of the vav and each available stone surface is profusely covered with carvings. Each landing has wide space suggesting that people, especially travelers, rested there while on journey. The main attraction of this step-well is the pool of water at the lowest level. Besides this, there is a niche here that houses an ami khumb or a pot that contains the water of life and a kalpa vriksha or a tree of life made out of a single stone slab. These sites attract the villagers on religious and auspicious occasions like marriages, sacred thread ceremonies (a ritual performed by Hindus) etc. In the vicinity of the well are graves of the six masons who were instrumental in erecting it. It is believed when Mohammed Begda asked them if another vav was possible, they replied in the affirmative. This proved to be their undoing and they were instantly put to death. Perhaps that is why the Adlaj step-well stands unrivalled till today.

The legend behind the origin of this step-well is as interesting as its architecture and is shrouded in beauty, romance and tragedy. In AD 1499, the area around Adlaj was known as Dandai Desh and was ruled by Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty. Around this time, Mohammed Begda, a Muslim ruler of a neighboring state attacked Dandai Desh and killed Rana Veer Singh. The beauty of the slain king's widow, Rani Roopba, enamored Mohammed Begda who sent her a proposal of marriage. The heartbroken but determined queen agreed to the proposal on the condition that he complete a five-storied step-well (vav) for her. The Muslim ruler, enticed by the charm of the queen, readily agreed.

The construction of this well had begun years ago under Rana Veer Singh but had to be stopped later. Begda resumed this project with great enthusiasm and got the well completed in record time. When this five-storied edifice was completed but for the dome, Begda renewed his proposal. The next day, Roopba took a round of the well and saying a final prayer, flung herself into the water and drowned. Mohammed Begda immediately stopped further construction but did not get the monument demolished probably because Roopba had employed Muslim masons who had decorated it with Islamic motifs. The incidents, which led to the erection of this unique well, are detailed on the walls and pillars of the vav in Sanskrit and Pali (an ancient language).

The small village of Adlaj is at a distance of 19 km from Ahmedabad and 5 km from Gandhinagar. It can be reached from either of the two cities by road.

Nal Sarovar - Bird Sanctuary About 65 km from Ahmedabad, spread over 120 km2, the lake - Nal Sarovar - the extensive reed beds and marshes are an ideal habitat for aquatic plants and animals. The lake attracts a large variety of birds like plovers, sandpipers, stints, cormorants, grebes and openbill storks among others. The best season to visit the sanctuary is November to February.

Thol Bird Sanctuary This sanctuary is about 30 km west of the city center. Just as Nal Sarovar, this lake attracts a large variety of bird species. It has become more preferable for the amdavadis to take an early morning trip here. Although it does not have any facilities like boating, it has turned out more favorable as this is a lesser known place. It will be best to rent a taxi for a morning as there is no public transport available here. November to March is the best time to visit Thol Sanctuary.

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