Ahmedabad (also spelled Ahmadabad) was established by Sultan Ahmed Shah. Today, Ahmadabad is the sixth largest city in India. The city is known for it’s architectural marvels that are breath taking in terms of the detailing. No doubt this city was thus declared India’s first UNESCO world heritage city. We stayed at hotel cosmopolitan in a place called Navrangpura. This is the central part of town.
Now its very important to remember that Ahmadabad is a no alcohol city. In fact, whole of Gujrat is no alcohol zone. So, if you are from outside wither you should carry your own and not publicize it. Else you can get a visitor’s license to buy alcohol. But you need to apply for it within 24 hours of your arrival in Gujrat. You should connect with your hotel reception for assistance.
Adalaj Step well
We started our day with a visit to the largest well in the city! The Adilaj Step well. This is one of the most popular destinations in Ahmedabad. There is NO entry fee to this location. The timings are from 0600 hours to 1800 hours.
Step wells like the one in Adalaj were once integral to the semi-arid regions of Gujarat, as they provided water for drinking, washing and bathing. These wells were also venues for colourful festivals and sacred rituals. Stepwells, also called stepped ponds, built between the 5th and 19th centuries, are common in Western India; over 120 such wells are reported in the semi-arid region of Gujarat alone, of which the well at Adalaj is one of the most popular.
While early stepwells were made of stone, later step wells were made of mortar, stucco, rubble and laminar stones. The well cylinder was the basic form used to deepen the wells. It is also inferred that the Stepwells in Gujarat have survived so long in view of the builder’s knowledge of the soil conditions and the earthquake proneness of the region.
Normally the well would be accessed from the top depending on the water level
As per legend the 15th century, Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty, a Hindu ruler, reigned over this territory known at that time as Dandai Desh. His kingdom was a small one. It was subject to water shortage and was highly dependent on the rains. To alleviate the misery of his people, the Rana began the construction of a large and deep stepwell.
Before this project could be completed, his kingdom was attacked by Mohammed Begda, the Muslim ruler of a large neighbouring kingdom. The Rana king was killed in battle and his territory was occupied by the invader. Rana Veer Singh’s widow, a beautiful lady known as Rani Roopba (or Roodabai), wanted to perform Sati (Ritual Suicide) and join her husband in the afterlife. However, Begada prevented her from giving up her own life and proposed marriage with her.
Re-kindling the King’s Romance !
She agreed to a marriage proposal on the condition that he would first complete the building of the step well. The Muslim king who was deeply enamored of the queen’s beauty agreed to the proposal and built the well in record time. Once the well was completed, Begda reminded the queen of her promise to marry him. Instead, the queen who had achieved her objective of completing the step well started by her husband, decided to end her life. She circumambulated the step well with prayers and jumped into the well, ending the saga of building the well in tragedy. You could say It’s the local version of Romeo and Juliet.
Next, we headed to the Sabarmati Ashram, once house of Mahatma Gandhi. The Ashram also has no entry fee. The timings are from 0830 hours to 1830 hours.
It lies on the tranquil stretch of the Sabarmati river. It was referred to as the Satyagraha Ashram during the lifetime of the Mahatma. It was from here, that the Mahatma began his famous ‘Dandi March’ in 1930. One can see the three wise monkeys and many more of Gandhiji’s teachings at the ashram premises.
One on One with the Great One!
The ashram today continues the work started by Mahatma and houses a handicrafts center, a handmade paper factory and a spinning wheel factory. Without doubt this place is one of the top tourist attractions in Ahmedabad. The ashram also has a very well done up information center where people can see the various artifacts.
Finally we decided to end they day by relaxing at the Kankaria Lake. This historical lake was originally built in 1451 by Sultan Qutub-ud-Din. In the center of the lake is an island garden with a summer palace known as Nagina Wadi. The entry fee is negligible at INR 25/ USD 0.30. The timings are 0400 Hours to 0800 Hours. Then 0900 Hours to 2200 Hours. Mondays are closed.
The Atal Train
The lake front is well developed with a zoo spread over 21 acres, kids’ fun city, aquarium, butterfly park, food stalls, joy rides, Toy Train ride, boat rides and speed boat rides and many other entertainment facilities. They also have an annual Kankaria Lake festival in December filled with performances, dances and carnivals.
To escape city madness, and unwind self, one can take a stroll along the well-developed Sabarmati Riverfront. It is a peaceful & pleasing place to be around. Lot of other recreational facilities like boating, cycling is also available for people. A must visit when in Ahmadabad. It’s the perfect place to spend some time. It works both for couples and large families.
If you would like any information on these places do feel free to reach out via the comments. I will try my best to share.
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