Known better as Amdavad to locals, Ahmedabad is not only the capital but also the largest city in Gujarat. Initially named Ahmedabad by its founder, Ahmed Shah, it was given a Gujarati touch as Amdavad. The original name is however retained and is official. Ahmedabad has always been a successful commercial center and has now become the Manchester of India. While the industries have seen boom here, it has come up with some of the world’s best educational institutes too.
Ahmedabad is well known with its ties with the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Ashram is one of the most popular places here. Started by Gandhi, it intended to serve as a starting point for his legendary Dandi March. The Ashram is now a museum and showcases Gandhi memorabilia and pictures. Another historical monument here is the Bhadra Fort, built by Ahmed Shah, the founder of the city. It now houses some government offices.
The Sidi Syed mosque here is another major tourist attraction here and is named after its architect who was a slave of Emperor Ahmed Shah. It is flocked by Hindus and Muslims and alike. The mosque is striking with its delicate screen work. Some masterpieces of filigree works were also a part of the mosque, but are now a part of the Delhi National Museum. Ahmed Shah also founded the Jama Masjid or the Friday Mosque here. The architecture has Hindu and Jain elements too.
The world renowned Akshardham Temple is also present in Ahmedabad. Sprawling across 23 acres of land, the temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, the founder of the Swaminarayan faith, who professes love and non-violence. The Hari Mandapam houses the main idol which is 7 feet tall and is covered with gold. The Vibhuti Temple here preserves the teachings by the saint and has etched his revelation in brass and glass. International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Temple is also there. With an aim to promote the message of Krishna the followers here conduct various activities and maintain a serene and calm atmosphere here.
Some other noteworthy places here include the Jhulta Minara and the Veechar Utensil Museum. The Jhulta Minara is a wonder of architecture and is made to sway on application of pressure. Serving as minarets to the Siddi Basir mosque, these minars vibrate but are strong enough to survive it. Attached to the Vishalla Restaurant, the Veechar Utensil Museum here is another tourist attraction and is one of its kinds. It houses thousands of utensils from across the country. The fact that it is a personal collection of Mr. Surendra Patel makes it more interesting.
Home to some of the best educational institutes in the world Ahmedabad has the Indian Institute of Management and the Nirma University here. While the IIM excels most b-schools in the country and all over the world, the Nirma University too has earned world recognition.
Known for its excellent fabrics, Ahmedabad is a great place to shop for clothes and materials. Gujarati work materials and dresses make for the best buys here. Tie-and-dye work, zari and embroidery are a craze with women. While the city has innumerable emporiums selling out the best of stuff, the state run emporiums are great places to get authentic goods at cheap prices.