Though the city developed more as a vibrant business and commercial hub, Ahmedabad also holds attraction as a centre for the study of Indo-Saracenic architecture. This style is a mixture of Hindu and Islamic architecture. Ahmedabad is afloat with mosques, minarets, mausoleums, museums, step-wells, temples, libraries, etc. It is a matter of choice for the tourist to scamper around few of the monuments or to leisurely scout the monuments one by one.
And Sidi Sayyid's Mosque
The solid fortified citadel, Bhadra, built of deep red stone in 1411 AD as Ahmedabad's first Muslim structure, is relatively plain in comparison to later mosques. The palace inside is now occupied by offices and off-limits to tourists, but you can climb to its roof via a winding staircase just inside the main gateway and survey the streets below from behind its weathered bastions.
A prominent feature on the front of glossy city brochures, Sidi Sayyid's Mosque, famed for the ten magnificent 'jali' screens lining its upper walls sits in the centre of a busy traffic circle in the northwest corner of Bhadra
Ahmed Shah's Mosque
West of Bhadra citadel, Ahmed Shah's small and attractively simple mosque was the private place of worship for the royal household. The 'mihrabs' are particularly ornate, with the central one carved in white and black marble. Hidden behind pierced stone screens above the sanctuary in the northeast corner, the 'zenana', or women's chamber, is entered by steps from outside the main wall.
Dada Harini Vav
Dada Harini Vav, in the northeast of the city just outside the old boundaries, is among the very finest step wells in Gujarat . While it's a Muslim construction, built in 1500 AD for Bai Harir Sultani, superintendent of the royal harem, the craftsmen were Hindu, and their influence is clear in the lavish and sensuous carvings on the walls and pillars.
A short walk from Teen Darwaja along Gandhi Road leads to the spectacular Jumma Masjid, or Friday Mosque. Completed in 1424, it stands today in its entirety, except for two minarets destroyed by an earthquake in 1957. Always buzzing with people, the mosque is even busier on Fridays, when thousands converge to worship.
North from Rani-ka-Hazira through Temple Road, a narrow street of fabric shops, and across Relief Road, the Swaminarayan temple stands behind huge gates and brightly painted walls. Forming a delicate contrast to the many hard stone mosques in the city, both the temple and the houses in the courtyard surrounding it are of finely carved wood, with elaborate and intricate patterns typical of the style of the havelis of north and west Gujarat.
Designed by surendra patel, vishalla is an admirably authentic collection of traditionally decorated mud huts where potters weavers and paan-makers demonstrate their skills. The Vechaar Utensils Museum houses a vast collection of Gujarati metalware, including jewellery, knives and forks and odd-looking machinery for milking camels.
Opposite the large gate of Sarangpur Darwaja, Sidi Bashir's minars are all that remain of the mosque popularly named after one of Ahmed Shah's favourite slaves. Over 21m high, these are the best existing example of the "shaking minarets"- built on a foundation of flexible sandstone, probably to protect them from earthquake damage-that were once a common sight on Ahmedabad's skyline. The best time to visit is an hour or so before noon when the sculpted floral patterns and shapely figurines inside are bathed in sunlight. Bai Harir's lofty mosque and lattice-walled tomb stand west of the well.
Manek Chowk And The Tomb Of Ahmed Shah
East of the Jami Masjid, the jewellery and textiles market, Manek Chowk is a bustling hive of colour where jewellers work in narrow alleys amid newly dyed and tailored cloth. Immediately outside the east entrance of the mosque, the square tomb of Ahmed Shah I, who died in 1442 AD, stands surrounded by pillared verandahs. Women are not permitted to enter the central chamber, where his grave and those of his son and grandson, lie shrouded in cloth.
Mosque And Tomb Of Rani Sipri
Near Astodia Darwaja in the south of the city, the small and elegant mosque of Rani Sipri was built in 1514 AD at the queen's behest. Her grave lies in front, sheltered by a pillared mausoleum. The stylish mosque shows more Hindu influence than any where in Ahmedabad, with several Hindu carvings and an absence of arches. Its pillared sanctuary has an open façade to the east and fine travery work on the west wall.
Ahmedabad, has maintained a tradition of self-help since the days of Gandhi, and has achieved world recognition as the home base of the ground breaking Self-Employed Women's Association, or SEWA, founded in the early 1970s by Ela Bhatt.
This artificial lake was developed by Qut'b-Ud-Din in 1451 and is a popular recreation spot for the people of Ahmedabad. This lake is surrounded by gardens, an aquarium and a 'Balvatika' (Children's Park). In the middle of the lake is located an island palace, which has 34 sides each side being 60 m long.
Hathee Sing Temple
The Svetambara Hathee Sing Temple, is easily distinguished by its high carved column, visible from the road. Built entirely of white marble embossed with smooth carvings of dancers, musicians, animals and flowers, this serene temple is dedicated to Dharamnath, whose statue stands in the main sanctum.
Ahmedabad's quieter spots and open spaces provide welcome relief from the chaos of the busy streets. Just south of Bhadra, the Victoria gardens are suitably formal, with spacious lawns and tree-lined promenades around a pompous statue of queen Victoria.