Sunday, September 18, 2016

Heritage Walk - Ahmedabad


History and photography enthusiasts in the old city side of Ahmedabad
Old buildings, cluttered alleys, cobbled pathways, narrow roads leading everywhere and seemingly nowhere and a lot of smiles greeting you along your way. Does the place sound fascinating? But it totally is! One doesn’t get on the UNESCO Heritage City List for no Reason right?

Wooden doors and their charms
Ahmedabad isn’t one of the oldest cities of India but is definitely one of those cities which has preserved its old charms and is moving on with time without letting go of its heritage. A couple of weeks back, I was in Ahmedabad and decided to go for its famous heritage walk, which apparently is the oldest heritage walk in India, started by Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and CRUTA Foundation ages ago.

The oldest Swaminarayan Temple, Kalupur
The walk starts from a 200-year-old Swami Narayan Temple in Kalupur which greets you with hordes of people praying and rushing to the temple even at 8 ‘o clock in the morning. The first look of the old walled city leaves you mesmerized and wanting for more! The walk starts with a slide show on the city and that is when I found out that the temple was actually build in 1822 and was pleasantly surprised at how well preserved the monastery area was.

Kavi Dalpatram's statue
From there you move on to Kavi Dalpatram Chowk where you can see the fa├žade of the old house of the famous 19th century Gujarati poet Dalpatram who resided there and a life size statue of his with complete details like – the Kathiawar embroidery kurta, one shoe on one shoe on the ground, a thick book and wrinkled hands and a pen in his hand with a pensive look on. People of the area respect the Poet and call the statue – statue of Dada and his house and the chowk are used by locals as a common hang out place.

Wooden houses of the pols
Next stop, rather stops were all the Pols. Pols are community societies where people belonging to the same community chose to stay in one area. Ahmadabad, though was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D., unlike the other sultanate dynasties of India – the Kingdom was known to be the most lenient Islamic state of the time and the pols are a proof of that. The number of Hindu and Jain temples will make you forget that the area was actually an Islamic state.

Artistic wooden brackets and doors
The architecture of the houses of the pols are also so different even after belonging to pretty much the same time. But the most striking feature of almost all houses are the wooden brackets and entrances. Ahmadabad had a lot of rich merchants and rich families as citizens in its initial days who could afford wooden houses (considered a luxury at that time) and hence most of the houses in these pols are wooden and as wooden houses give you more scope of going artsy, the doors and pillars and pillar brackets were carved. A friend of mine had warned me to no go crazy clicking the brackets of the houses, but I did just that. The brackets tell you which community the house belonged to, which style of architecture the house was inspired from and of course they are colourful and beautiful.

Badashah no Hajiro
As you go ahead you come across Badashah no Hajiro which is the tomb of Ahmed Shah and Rani no Haziro which is tomb of his queen. Though people have kept the haziros pretty well maintained, the close by areas are market places now due to which the courtyards are dirty and the market space is almost encroaching the structures.

One of the many bird feeders
The walk goes from Pols to Pols, you pass many direction posts that tell you the direction of the drainage lines, you pass bird feeders at almost every chowk and guess what – you pass many hidden ways from one Pol to another! Does the place sound fascinating enough now?

Jama Masjid
The walk ends with the visit to Jama Masjid which is one of the rarest mosques you would see in the world, in terms of architecture. The masjid has no domes and the minarets of the masjid were destroyed in an earthquake in 1819. While the main masjid has all elements of a mosque, the interiors and exterior carvings have many Hindu and Jain architectural elements, but well there is so much about the masjid that it would take an entire article just to tell you about it.
Teen Darwaza - One of the remaining gates of the old walled city.
Personally I felt the heritage walk is the perfect way to explore old Ahmedabad and would recommend all history and architecture buffs to do this at least once – you won’t be disappointed at all! The heritage walk is conducted by AMC every Sunday from 8-10:30 AM (except Diwalis) at a nominal charge of 50 INR. And good news for people who have less time, or won’t be around till weekends and still want to do this – AMC is soon coming up with a mobile application that would give you the heritage walk route and more information around it so that you are still able to go around the place without the guided tour!
Guess you know one thing you just have to do when in Ahmedabad now.

To Get the App - Click Here!
P.S.
Timings of the Walk - 8:00 to 10:30 AM, Every Sunday except Diwalis
Starting Point - Kalupur Swami Narayan Temple. Ask around for Heritage Walk office to get the tickets.
Cost - INR 50 for SAARC Nationals, other INR 100. Carry Identification Proof.

66 comments:

  1. This was a good read! Nice clicks too!

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  2. Wow: lovely post and loved the pics !! Have been to Ahmedabad but couldnt go for the Heritage walk so that post will be handy with me till the time, I go for the walk :)

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    1. Always a next time right :D Hope you get to go on the heritage walk next time you visit Ahmedabad.

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  3. Beautiful pictures and nice coverage of the places. Heritage walk is something which always amazes me.:)

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    1. Thanks :) Me too actually, you learn so much about the place during these walks!

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  4. Never been to Ahmedabad. The places look good :) thanks for sharing

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  5. When I go to Ahmedabad, I am sure to try this walk. Nice writeup and lovely pics!

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    1. Do it! You will have fun!! Glad you liked the article :)

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  6. I was there in Ahmedabad in June 2016 to cover this traditional-yet-cosmopolitan city solo. Loved it ! Jama Masjid and Teen Darwaza are good. I was also expecting Sidi Syed Mosque, Gandhi Ashram etc in the Heritage Walk !! Good post. Good Luck & Happy Travels !

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    1. From what I know House of Gandhi has a different heritage walk which covers Gadhi Ashram aw well but the charges are high, and since Gandhi Ashram is not taken care by AMC it is not covered in these walks.
      Anyways, glad you liked the post :)

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  7. Hey some great discoveries out there... refreshed some old memoriies of the city!

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  8. This would be wonderful city to photograph. It seems to be so much more well cared for than some of the cities we visited last year. The Kavi Dalpatram's statue photograph is awesome.

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    1. It is a beautiful city to photograph, and heritage walk isnt all it has. Will post more about the city soon :D

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  9. This is the bit of India that I miss most - the history, architecture and design of old buildings - the very thing that made me fall in love with India for so many years. Thanks for sharing this post, a walking tour that I can sign up for if I do visit Ahmedabad some day :-)

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    1. I love the history and architecture that India has - so many shades and so many forms. It is like I just cant get enough of it and every now and then I find out new stuff. :)

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  10. Love the pictures, this is simply way too nice, it reminds me a lot of my trip to India. The bird feeders are so nice to see almost like part of a temple!

    http://www.adventurefaktory.com

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    1. Even the tiniest structure in the old town turned out to be artistic! Glad you loved the pictures :D

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  11. Gujarat is full of architectural gems and your post only drives home that point even more strongly. Lovely pictures, not just of the monuments but also common houses on the streets. Would love to go armed with my camera too!

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    1. Thanks a lot Punitaz. Do go there with your camera!!! And I would give you the same advice I got - Do not spend all your time clicking the pillar brackets! :D

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  12. OMG I love these photos and the building structures are so colorful and very detailed! The passion of early architects of these are unbelievable!

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  13. I was there for a day.We did the Sabarmati Ashram. Your pics make me feel miserable, I could have seen a lot more.

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    1. I had done Sabarmati Ashram ages ago when I lived in Gujarat, but this time I decided to go a bit offbeat (as usual I guess) and frankly loved it :)

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  14. Absolutely fascinating and a place I would LOVE to visit one day - you have brought it alive with your amazing photos, thanks for sharing!

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  15. Another amazing place I missed on my travels! The photographs are amazing and look so inviting. Thank you for inspiring me!

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  16. Interesting that a city not so old (relatively, compared to the rest of India) can have preserved its heritage so well. The photos, especially the first few, are captivating.

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  17. The walk sounds like a great introduction into Ahmedabad. The wooden houses look so impressive! I could have taken pictures of their details all day.

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    1. I wanted to stay back and take more pictures but was short on time.

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  18. We are fascinated by the development Ahmedabad has made in last few years and more intrigued by its culture and history. Heritage walk certainly walks one through the most prominent part which makes up the amazing city as it is today.

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    1. I have seen Ahmadabad before earthquake, then some years after the riots and then now and every time it has managed to amaze me with the warmth and that homily feeling the place has. Guess the roots of that is from this old section of the city.

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  19. A friend of mine recently shifted to Ahmedabad and i have been hearing a lot about this place from him. Its great to know how much this place has grown in the past few years . I have always been in awe of Dwarka and wanted to visit it. Now Im planning to extend my stay and visit Ahmedabad as well.

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    1. Subhadrika plan a trip during December and a long one!! There is so much to see in Gujarat, you will be pleasantly surprised :)

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  20. I don't know much about the geography of India but more and more I keep on seeing this amazing places here and there. It looks like you have these amazing places everywhere! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jenn plan a trip to India soon and I am sure you would be amazed by how much you would want to do here and how many trips you would make eventually :)

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  21. Those Birdfeeders amaze me :D I love talking parts in walks, no better way getting to know more about a city...thanks for sharing the opportunity^^

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    1. So agree with you! Heritage walks are one of the best ways to know about a place.

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  22. Such a beautiful city ! I would take a million pictures.You took some awesome pics.Interesting the different prices for locals and others is that common?

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    1. It indeed is a beautiful city.
      And yes different rates for Asians and the different for others is pretty common in Asia and I have heard in some places in Europe as well. Not sure of other areas though.

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  23. I have been to Ahmadabad once. I was too young then. I have my friends there but had no idea it's this beautiful. I am going to take a trip soon.

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    1. I used to like in the city and didnt know about this heritage walk till like 5 years back.

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  24. Ahmedabad reminds me of Jaisalmer because of those decorated golden balconies and the wooden doors. India has such amazing cities and forts, every single one of them with unique architecture. I mean, look a t that green balcony with the bird feeders! I'd love to visit Ahmedabad too in my next trip to India.

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    1. The western towns have a lot of things common but some very peculiar features that differentiate them too. They are nonetheless all beautiful and interesting! :)

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  25. India is such a magnificent country. It never ceases to amaze me how each city has a culture and history all of its own. The heritage walk seems like the perfect introduction for a visitor to Ahmedabad.

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  26. Oh wow. I thought I had really gotten to know India during my six months there, but I never even heard of Ahmedabad before. It is clearly a beautiful place.. my loss for having missed it!

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    1. Judson there is so much in India that even after travelling to 20 states in India I dont feel like I know even half of my country :)

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  27. Heritage walks are the best ways to explore cities and discover a bit more about the history. I had no idea that this was the oldest heritage walk in India. Very well written post with lovely photos showing us some beautiful features of Ahmedabad

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    1. Even I didnt know this was the oldest. I always thought Lucknow Heritage walk was the oldest but well, I was wrong. Glad you liked the post and the pics. Thanks :)

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  28. I went to Ahmedabad few years back on a work-trip but never got a chance to explore the city!

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    1. I used to stay there and I had not explored even a sixth part of the citty.

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  29. In what state in India is Ahmedabad located?
    It's architecture reminds me of Mysore and Jaipur. I would love to visit it.

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    1. Ahmedabad is in Gujarat and the architecture is similar to jaipur but has a lot of jain and parsi influence which is not there in the Rajputana Architecture.

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  30. Like that picture of the guy with the charpai behind kavi Dalpatram's statue.

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  31. Ahmedabad shows up the charm you're talking about, the history and the fabulousness of it. It's like we're just emerged into this city through your pictures and I can't believe you were talking about India. I never had the chance to set a foot on Indian soil, but after reading it I have to say, I want to!

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    1. Liana than you so much for that sweet comment. And yes - Do visit India soon :D Hope you fall in love with the place :)

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  32. A perfect walk to join which cover all heritage places of Ahmedabad

    One of the best experience of Heritage Walk Ahmedabad managed by The Akshar Travels Pvt. Ltd. & Supported by AMC. Fully satisfied with all the places, cover in route & the guide who describe the history of all the heritage places. I fully recommend “Heritage Walk Ahmedabad”, if you want real heritage walk & culture experience of true old city the Amdavad than enjoy Ahmedabad heritage walk.

    For registration you may log on to http://heritagewalkahmedabad.com/ or call @ 1800 233 9008.

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  33. Hi. Is there a phone number where i can call to confirm and book myself in for this walk?

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