48 hours in Ahmedabad

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Photo of 48 hours in Ahmedabad by Gitika Saksena

Ahmedabad is often treated as a mere pit stop by tourists heading to more popular destinations such as the Gir or Big Rann of Kutch. But as I discovered over two days, the city offers an incredible experience to those interested in history and food! What's more, there are a number of day trips one can make from the city - be it the dinosaur fossil park at Balasinor, the stepwell - Rani ki Vav or the Little Rann of Kutch. A holiday in Ahmedabad promises to be power packed!

Sabarmati Ashram

The memory of the Father of the Nation draws tourists from all parts of India to the Sabarmati Ashram! Located along the banks of river Sabarmati, the Ashram is a serene and peaceful place. One cannot help get moved by its historical significance - there are numerous letters, paintings and other artefacts on display at the 'My Life is my Message' gallery.

Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi spent 12 years of their life at this Ashram, and it was from this place that Gandhi ji started the historic Dandi March.

Visit the splendid 'My Life is my Message' gallery with paintings, letters, and artefacts from the life and times of the great man. Walking into the cottage, Hridaya Kunj, is an experience like no other. The simplicity of the life Gandhi led is indeed a lesson for all of us!

Spend a few moments of quiet and peace along the periphery of the Ashram that overlooks the pristine Sabarmati river.

Opening hours: Daily, 8:30 am – 6:30 pm

Photo of Sabarmati Ashram, Ashram Road, Hridaya Kunj, Old Wadaj, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Gitika Saksena

Kankaria Lake

This historic lake dates back six centuries! The man-made lake was created on the behest of Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Ahmad Shah II, the ruler of the Gujarat Sultanate from 1451 to 1458. There are a number of activities to choose from here, including a zoo, a natural history museum, a toy train, an aquarium and a butterfly park. Those interested in the history of India must check put the Dutch Cemetary located close by on the One-Tree-Hill Garden. You can find 49 Dutch and Armenian graves replete with cenotaphs and pyramid tombs.

Opening hours for Kankaria Lake: Daily, 9 am - 6 pm

Manek Chowk

The old city of Ahmedabad must be experienced at night! It is at its vibrant best. Manek Chowk transforms into a gourmet heaven - with rows of stalls whipping out one vegetarian delicacy after another. Dosas, pizzas, pav bhaji, grilled sandwiches, slabs of kulfi - you will be spoilt for choices.

Opening hours: Daily, 8 pm - 1:30 am

If time permits, plan a walking tour in the morning as well. The heritage tour offered by the House of MG comes well recommended. The walk is about two hours long, and starts at 7:30 a.m. daily in the months of October to March. Historic sights are covered including Jami Masjid, Bhadra Fort, Manek Chowk Vegetable Market, Chandla Ol, Sidi Saiyad Jali, Khetrapal Jain Shrine and the Teen Darwaja Market.

Photo of Manek Chowk Road, Danapidth, Khadia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Gitika Saksena

Adalaj Stepwell

Stories and legends abound here! This ornate stepwell was built by Queen Rudadevi in 1498 in the memory of her late husband Rana Veer Singh from the Vaghela dynasty. After Mohammed Begda annexed the kingdom and proposed marriage to the beautiful queen, she agreed on one condition – that the stepwell be completed first. However, she jumped to her death, five storeys down, once the structure was ready.

Opening hours: Daily, 8 am - 6 pm

Balasinor

About 87 km away from Ahmedabad, lies the 70 acre-wide Dinosaur Fossil Park, a bonafide blast from the past! You can find fossils of Rajasaurus Narmadensis -  a carnivorous species from the Cretaceous period which existed about 65 million years ago - lying in the open.  The best way to explore the Fossil Park is to book a guided tour with Princess Aaliya Sultana Babi, she is highly regarded by palaeontologists who have visited this area. Do not forget to ask her to show you a fossil of a dinosaur egg, which is her proud possession! You can reach out to her at palacebalasinor@gmail.com.

Opening hours: Daily, 9 am - 6 pm

Photo of Balasinor, Gujarat, India by Gitika Saksena
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