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So book a flight to Ahmedabad with Qatar Airways and explore a chaming fusion of ancient treasures and modern delights.
In 2012, Gujarat’s largest city was named “the best city to live in India” by The Times of India. And yet, Ahmedabad’s lively, colourful bazaars and gleaming, modern spires are still seen by fewer visitors than many other Indian cities.
You are assured of a warm welcome wherever you go and there is much to see here. Museums, architecture, cultural centres and parks are all part of the Ahmedabad experience.
Ahmedabad is home to the Sabarmati Ashram and its Three Wise Monkeys, a crucial landmark for Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement; the Calico Museum of Textiles is a colourful distraction; and don’t miss the cool, eerie depths of the Dada Hari Vav Stepwell.
A trip to Ahmedabad is a retracing of Gandhi's footsteps. Sabarmati Ashram, founded in 1915 and one of the city's most popular attractions, was once home to Mahatma Gandhi. It was here in 1930 that Gandhi's famous Dandi Satyagraha (Salt March), in protest of the British Salt Tax, took place. Today, visitors flock from across the globe to see the Three Wise Monkeys and learn more about Gandhi's teachings.
The Calico Museum of Textiles contains one of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian thread work, all handmade, and up to 500 years old. There are some astoundingly beautiful pieces, displaying incredible virtuosity and extravagance.
For something a little different, head to the Dada Hari Vav Stepwell, built in 1499. Its stairs descend through five levels of carved stone columns to two small wells, now often bone-dry. Its depths are cool, even on the hottest day, and it is a mesmerising and eerie place.
One of the highlights of any trip to Ahmedabad is the city's architecture, perhaps best appreciated with a visit to its Heritage House, which dates back 600 years. Here you can explore local culture and meet traditional Ahmedabadi families.
The many temples dotted around the city are also known for their architectural grandeur, creating the perfect photo backdrop. Look out for the yellow sandstone pillars of Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) in the centre of the old city. The structure reflects Muslim architecture from the 15th century, with 260 columns supporting 15 domes at various elevations.
When you travel to Ahmedabad, you may find you are overwhelmed by the city’s tightly packed, colourful bazaars, spice-scented air and rickshaw-filled streets. But the city has a calmer side. Escape the alleyways of the old quarter and make your way to Kankaria Lake, a peaceful oasis, as popular with local families as it is with visitors. Explore the summer palace, spend an afternoon at the zoo, aquarium or natural history museum, or picnic by the lakeside in the Gujarati sunshine.
It's easy to while away a day exploring some of Ahmedabad's museums. In Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, you can admire its collection of paintings and sculptures. Uncovering the city's heritage will keep you busy.
Alternatively, if you want a dose of nature, head to Kankaria Lake, a huge circular reservoir built in the 15th century. Recent developments have transformed the area surrounding the lake into one of Gujarat’s most visited destinations by locals and tourists. It now features a zoo, a water park, and several entertainment centres for the whole family.
Gujaratis are passionate about food and around every corner of Ahmedabad lie gastronomic delights. Cuisine here is mostly vegetarian, packed with spices and full of flavour. Thali is the most popular type of meal, served as small dishes of dhal, bread, pickles, appetisers and sweet treats, and designed to be shared.
Sampling Ahmedabad's street food is a must for any visitor, and the Khan Pan Bazaar in Manekchawk is the ideal place to enjoy local specialities. Dishes included pani puri (hollowed-out pastry balls stuffed with potato, vegetables, spices and chutney) or khandvi (savoury curd rolls). Dhokla (steamed rice and chickpea cake) is another popular dish here.
Ahmedabad is renowned for its textiles, from rugs to wall hangings, clothing to scarves. While the markets of the old town are a great place to start, it is possible to haggle for great prices at roadside shops, best visited with a local guide. Traditional hand-embroidered clothes, colourful textiles, spices and Gujarati sweets can all be found in markets. Manek Chowk and Thron Darwaja offer the most authentic experience.
For a more relaxed way to enjoy shopping when you travel to Ahmedabad, try the city's more recent shopping centres. 10 Acres Shopping Mall and AlphaOne Mall offer an air-conditioned environment and international stores, as well as restaurants and cinemas.
Essential facts about Ahmedabad
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip