The largest city in Gujarat is a vibrant Indian metropolis. With a handsome array of palaces and mosques, great museums, fine food, and excellent accommodation, Ahmedabad offers something for every visitor.
Ahmedabad was a Mughal capital and a hub of British India, and it is packed with incredible buildings. From the Sidi Sayed Mosque, the Jama Masjid, and the Bhadra Fort to the Hutheesing Jain Temple, historical delights are around every corner.
Head to the Calico Museum of Textiles (with fabrics from the 17th century), the Le Corbusier-designed City Museum, and the Lokayatan Folk Museum.
Ahmedabad isn't just a medieval and ancient feast for the eyes. It also boasts some impressive modern buildings, including the brickwork of the Indian Institute of Management and numerous Le Corbusier creations.
Festivals take place throughout the year. From the fireworks of Diwali to the dances of Navratri and the Makar Sankranti kite festival, the people of Ahmedabad know how to put on a show.
The craftsmen of Ahmedabad are famous for their silverwork. Visit the Gujarat Gold Jewellery Show at the Karnavati Club in April, or showrooms along CG Road to find gorgeously crafted products.
One of India's most important spiritual, political, and historical sites, the Sabarmati Ashram was home to the country's founding father, Mahatma Gandhi, for 12 years. During the 1920s and 30s, this was the nerve center for the struggle for Indian independence, which is why the modern nation has made it a national monument. See Gandhi's modest cottage, the prayer grounds where he used to meet followers and tour the fascinating museum, with objects that belonged to the great man, educational exhibits, and much more.
Occupying a huge area of central Ahmedabad, the Jama Masjid is a spectacular religious hub. Built in 1424 by sultan Ahmad Shah I, it centers around a 75 by 66 meter courtyard which is ringed by elegant columned walkways, prayer niches, halls for contemplation and worship, and 15 stunning domes. As with all mosques, visitors are always asked to remove their shoes and respect the sanctity of the site. When you do, you'll instantly feel relaxed and serene in one of India's most beautiful settings.
Ahmedabad's history is inseparable from that of textiles. In the 19th century, Gujarat's textile industry expanded rapidly, as the volume of cotton exported from Ahmedabad earned it the nickname "The Manchester of India". You'll find out why at the engaging Calico Museum of Textiles. Situated in the northern part of the city, the museum features outstanding (and beautiful) Indian textiles made for the Mughal royal court, but goes further too, with miniature paintings, bronzes and other works of art. It's a feast for anyone with an interest in fashion and fabrics.
After you've seen Ahmedabad's Jama Masjid, why not head over to its spiritual sister, the Hindu Swaminarayan Temple? Just a short hop over the river from Gandhi's ashram, the temple is a gorgeous confection of teak wood, gold details and stone, with elegant archways and carvings that will take your breath away. Don't miss the wooden facade of Haveli, a home within the temple complex. And, if you have the time, be sure to take the heartwarming Heritage Walk from the Swaminarayan Temple to the Jama Masjid. A unique communal initiative, it celebrates the city's inter-religious harmony - something we can all get behind.
Kankaria Lake is modern Ahmedabad's entertainment and relaxation nexus. Recently redeveloped by the city government, the lakefront area attracts huge crowds to its restaurants, zoo, water park, natural history museum, walking trails, toy train and activities like aqua carting. There's a whole zone allocated for youngsters (Kids City), which features meticulous miniaturized replicas of city buildings, as well as the Balloon Safari. If you have a stomach for heights, the 350 feet ascent offers outstanding views of the city.
The best time to go is definitely between October and March. That way, you can avoid the intense summer heat and see the sights in comfort, with temperatures hovering around 75-80 degrees.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (AMD) is about 10 miles north of the city. From there, you can take the AMTS bus (₹25) or take a taxi for around ₹200.
Trains run into Ahmedabad from Mumbai, Vadodara, Jaipur, and Delhi, among many other major Indian cities. Expect to pay around ₹1,500 to get from New Delhi to Ahmedabad.
From Mumbai, take Highway 48, then the NE1 when you get to Vadodara. Highway 48 also runs from New Delhi directly to Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad has excellent bus connections to other western Indian cities. Intercity services run into Geeta Mandir, just east of the city center.
Ahmedabad has no end of superb hotels, including the contemporary Novotel Ahmedabad, the high-end Hyatt Ahmedabad, and the Lemon Tree Hotel.
Lal Darwaja - the city's biggest and best bazaar, Lal Darwaja is overflowing with food stalls, jewelry vendors, textile stands, and pretty much everything else you can think of.
CG Road - where you'll find the best jewelry showrooms, as well as some of the best hotels, CG Road is a favorite with upmarket travelers.
Khanpur - on the east bank of the Sabarmati River, Khanpur is home to sights like the Sidi Sayed Mosque, and it's the major tourist neighborhood.
AMTS buses provide extensive coverage of the whole city. Prices vary from ₹3-25 depending on how far you are going (the conductor will tell you all you need to know).
Taxis in Ahmedabad generally charge ₹40 for the meter drop, then about ₹22 for every subsequent mile.
You can rent a car in Ahmedabad from Happy Travels. Expect to pay around ₹400 per day.
Ahmedabad has some extraordinary bazaars, including Lal Darwaja, where bargaining for textiles and craft items is to be expected. But there are more modern options too, including Sarkhej and the stores along CG Road.
Local supermarkets include Reliance Fresh and Big Bazaar, where you can expect to spend around ₹15 on 12 eggs.
Ahmedabad is crammed with fantastic restaurants. Standouts include dining al fresco in the courtyard at Vishalla and trying vegetarian dishes on the rooftop terrace at Agashiye. Meals will cost around ₹150-200.