Hotels in Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India)
Hotels in Ahmedabad
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Ahmedabad: Modern Powerhouse with an Ancient Past
Now a heavy-weight of Indian industry, Ahmedabad’s glorious past is truly intriguing. The hub of the western Gujarat state, the city was established in the 11th Century and fell under the Mughals in the 1500s. As it expanded from a settlement on the banks of the Sabarmati River, successive rulers added add their own flourishes to the city. Today, ornate mosques vie for your attention alongside flamboyant temples while the pols of the old quarter tempt with a siren call all their own. All this history takes place against a buzzing, modern city, making Ahmedabad a fascinating place to explore.
The Sabarmati River splits Ahmedabad into two halves, with the city’s ancient old quarter on the eastern side of this waterway and the newer, modern district located on the opposite western bank. The two sides of the Sabarmati are linked by multiple bridges and the city is circled by a concentric ring road system which connects Ahmedabad to Mumbai and Delhi by Indian National Highway 8. In terms of visitor attractions, these are fairly evenly split between both sides of the city; that is, your itinerary here is a matter of taste rather than of fixed location. Those keen to explore the environs of Ahmedabad’s old quarter may want to keep to the eastern half of the city while travellers who’d prefer to explore its more modern neighbourhoods and attractions might want to head west. However, in terms of sleeping venues, visitors will find that the bulk of hotels in Ahmedabad are clustered around the city’s riverfront area.
The Old City: Walls, Gates and Pols
Conquered and re-conquered by multiple warring sultanates, Ahmedabad has experienced its fair share of history. Though now crumbling, the architecture in the eastern, older part of the city was originally established in the 14thCentury as a series of defensive walls, forts and gates. While wide swathes of Ahmedabad’s wall no longer exists, the Badhra Fort – today surrounded by local market stalls and vendors – gives travellers an insight into how the area would have appeared in the time of Ahmed Shah, the city’s founder. In addition to this ancient fort, this area is notable for its pols. These wooden housing compounds – which feature carved wooden detailing and internal courtyards – are unique to the state of Gujarat. Many of those found in Ahmedabad were erected in the mid-18th Century, as protection for residents during a period of religious strife. For those eager to know more about the area’s history, numerous tour operators offer guided walks of this neighbourhood.
The western part of Ahmedabad offers an interesting contrast to the old-world feel of its eastern quarter. Filled with shining new buildings, this side of the city showcases the economic might of modern Ahmedabad. While sightseers might be tempted to skip the area, this district offers some noteworthy attractions. First and foremost among these is the Sabarmati Ashram, where visitors can pay tribute to Gandhi, India’s famous statesman. Moving on from this peaceful spot, cricket fans can head to the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium – sometimes called the Motera Stadium – to hear the crack of leather on willow. In terms of overall aesthetics, there is a stark contrast between the ornate Indo-Saracenic architecture found across the river and the sleek, modern lines prevalent throughout this area. Those with a keen eye will spot works by the renowned Louis Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright while the clean lines of Le Corbusier are evident in the city’s Shodhan and Sarabhai Villas.
Dining and Hotel Options in Ahmedabad
In terms of eating, Ahmedabad is the heartland of Gujarati cuisine. Gujaratis are predominantly vegetarian in terms of diet, so non-meat eaters will be at home here. You’ll find that quite a few dining venues offer thali-style meals, which come with a main curry plus a selection of sides, breads and salads. As for local specialities, Ahmedabad is renowned for its sweets and especially for its ice cream. The bulk of the city’s eateries are located in its western half, radiating outward from the riverfront area. Like its restaurants, travellers will find that the vast majority of Ahmedabad’s hotels are situated in this part of the city. While there are a few big-name chains set along the Sabarmati, those looking for a place to sleep can find plenty of independent hotel options in Ahmedabad. The district set behind the waterfront also offers some B&Bs, making it a good place for those seeking an alternative to Ahmedabad’s hotels.