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Exploring India's Historic Ahmedabad

This enormous country boasts many historic cities, including Lucknow, Amritsar, Jaipur, and of course capital New Delhi. But Ahmedabad (pop. 5.6 million) in the western Indian state of Gujarat is a standout for any history buff, with its renowned Islamic architecture, beautiful Jain and Hindu temples, warrenlike pols (housing clusters of families linked by caste, profession, and/or religion), and huge mansions with gorgeous woodwork. Rent a car in Ahmedabad and drive around or sign up for a heritage walk organized by various groups for a detailed journey through the religious spots, art, architecture and the tradition of this as a walled city.

All Roads Lead to Old Ahmedabad

For those who are fascinated by the decorative and ornate structures of ancient times, old Ahmedabad doesn’t let you down. As part of a conservation effort to ensure more people are aware of the invaluable heritage of this old city, a historical exploration is definitely necessary. Start with the old roads of the city of which the Teen Darwaja (Three Gates) road is a must to walk down. This street was previously called Reed Road but was famous as Richie Road amongst the common man. During the freedom struggle, the road was once again renamed as M. Gandhi Road. In 1921, the Present Relief Road that leads to the Manilal Mansion from the Electricity House was called the Tikal Road.

With changing times and development, the city expanded across the river leading to the Ashram Road, which connects the tranquil Sabarmati Ashram to the Kocharab Ashram. Popular historical points such as the Mahatma Gandhi statue, Gujarat Vidyapith, Reserve Bank of India, Mill Owners ‘Association, Sheath Mangaldas Town Hall and more are located along this road. It can almost be compared to Marine Drive in Mumbai. In 1985, the C.G. Road modernized swaths of the city in most aspects. 

Pols of Old Ahmedabad

Hire an Ahmedabad taxi and visit the pols that are located on the eastern bank of River Sabarmati. Snuggled within gated courtyards that are shared by numerous families’ lies a cluster of homes or pols, which are constructed in the vernacular style of Gujarat. It is as though time has stood still over this area, covered by intricately decorated and craved homes. The architecture clearly showcases a community styled living combined with a traditional model for the urban living. These pols are the major hubs for the cottage industries, which take shape on the very doorsteps of the homes. Walk through these narrow streets lined by the unique homes and interact with the residents.

Fascinating Jain Temple

A mesmerizing Jain temple is located underground in old Ahmedabad, which portrays an elaborate set of positioned mirrors. Through these mirrors, people can view the idol inside the temple from up above. It is said that this temple was constructed underground to prevent Aurangzeb's generals from finding it and destroying it.

Walking through or driving on the roads of old Ahmedabad is an experience of a lifetime. Some of the passageways connect to what look like homes but is just a facade. This was done in order to confuse attackers in the past. Every bit of old Ahmedabad is interesting as its rich culture, tradition, and history!

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