There’s no dearth of places to visit in Ahmedabad. Its tiny old lanes, full of places to explore are a delight to a traveller and a photographer seeking to capture something new in Ahmedabad. The places we visited in Ahmedabad, intrigued us with their perfect blend of old and new.
This is a comprehensive list of our experiences at places to visit in Ahmedabad and around, over five visits to this iconic, India’s first-ever UNESCO world heritage city.
But first, what is the best time to visit Ahmedabad?
1. Makar Sankranti festival – January 14th, one of the best times to visit Ahmedabad
We were peeping through an ancient-looking window, when we heard a voice, “What are you doing here?”. Clearly, we had trespassed someone’s private property and obviously, irked the man. We started mumbling an apology, only to be told, “This is a heritage house. It’s more interesting from the inside”. Stunned and delighted, we stepped into his home.
His wife welcomed us with festive sweets made of til (sesame seeds) and peanuts (perfect for the dry winter). His sons showed us around the house. Before leaving, we had already received an invitation to visit them again in the evening for some kite flying.
It was all that simple – visiting Ahmedabad, talking to the people, even celebrating a festival with a family!
When things took an unexpected turn like this, we knew our visit to Ahmedabad was going to be a memorable one.
The new year might mean heading back to work or detoxing from the just concluded festive season for the rest of the world. Not so in Gujarat, the westernmost state in India which leads the Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti) celebrations. We were here to experience Uttarayan and the International Kite Festival in Ahmedabad.
While the festival enthralled us, the city itself has stayed close to our hearts. There were just too many places to visit in Ahmedabad. We are glad we had allowed two extra days for our stay in Ahmedabad. It was a time well spent.
2. Navratri festival – Around September, is another perfect time to visit Ahmedabad
Just like Makar Sankranti, this is also a festival that the entire city of Ahmedabad celebrates. The preparations for Navratri start way before the actual festival. The city and its people, young and old, men and women start preparations to look their best for Navratri.
Naturally, bright beautiful colours are everywhere. The markets are full of elaborately worked, traditional garbs with befitting shoes and jewellery. Just strolling through these markets is a treat to the eye (once you get used to getting elbowed every now and then!)
The Law Garden market (which during the rest of the year, too, is a place worth visiting for some street shopping in Ahmedabad) is the place to get your Navratri ghagras and set yourself into the festive mood.
The time for the revelries to begin is post-sunset. Have a quick dinner and head to any of the Navratri venues that are everywhere in the city. A beautiful inauguration ceremony at the banks of the river Sabarmati sets off the festivities.
Everyone is dressed in their festive best and soon the rhythmic swinging and circling to Gujarati folk music beings. The clanking of the dandiya sticks follows the rhythm and soon fills the air.
Places to visit in Ahmedabad
1. The Pols of Ahmedabad
The crisscross narrow lanes known as pols were easily our most favourite place to visit in Ahmedabad. A vast maze of >em>pols makes up old Ahmedabad. Each pol is a world in itself, laden with stories which go down generations.
On our very first day the locals (of the Khadia area) we met told us that the pols were fascinating places to visit in Ahmedabad. Happily, we went strolling around to discover, what we didn’t know at the time, would be a confusing world.
What should you observe in the pols of Ahmedabad?
There was just too much to see in every corner. From the front doors to the house columns, from the furniture in the front porches to the cabinets in the charming shops – we were trying to devour every fascinating detail. The world of the pols of Ahmedabad was a photographer’s delight.
Shops from another era are found in these pols of Ahmedabad
Each shop, every house seemed to be like a living museum.
The havelis in Khadia area of old Ahmedabad
Ambling through this maze of lanes, it wasn’t surprising that soon we had lost our way. How were we now to find the little gems of places to visit in Ahmedabad, hidden away in the tiny pols? The answer of course was simple, be guided by a local.
Seeing our confused and slightly overwhelmed looks, a guy watching us took it upon himself to show us around. Like a Math teacher simplifying a theorem, he helped us navigate the complex network of lanes and bylanes with ease.
He introduced us to the unexplored gems of Ahmedabad – the sprawling havelis in the pols.
Most houses though old, were beautiful; their entire facades filled with intricate carvings.
The most striking house we saw in the pols of Ahmedabad was the Jethabhai haveli. It was home to Raheel Patel and had been the family’s home for five generations. He was an expert in the restoration of old structures.
Passionately and painstakingly, he had restored his own home. It is studded with old artefacts and equipment. The best part was how the family had integrated all the heritage creation in their modern day-to-day life.
Raheel also has a toy museum, housed within the haveli. We saw his collection of old toys, some hundreds of years old and miniature kites. He also runs an organisation called Vaarso, dedicated to preserving the heritage of Ahmedabad.
Mandir to masjid heritage walk: Swaminarayan temple to Jami Masjid
The mandir (temple) to masjid (mosque) heritage walk is organised by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. This is the Kalupur area of old Ahmedabad. It starts at 7 AM from the Swaminarayan Temple and ends around 3 hours later at Jami Masjid.
Besides visiting the Swaminarayan temple and the Jami Masjid, the two historic places of Ahmedabad, the heritage walk introduced us to the many nuances of the life in the pols which we wouldn’t have discovered had we set out to explore Ahmedabad on our own.
This heritage walk is definitely our top recommendation for things to do and places to visit in Ahmedabad.
The Swaminarayan temple has a sprawling campus. The temple walls are filled with delicate carvings of Hindu symbols.
We walked through a complicated maze of lanes – some of which were intended to be hidden passages.
Some passed through houses – which were still occupied by families! This “intrusion” didn’t bother (we aren’t sure if it even registered!) the residents of the house as they went about their daily lives. People randomly walking through their home was no big deal!
Our group for the heritage walk that morning was an interesting mix of participants. While many were curious travellers like us, for some it was a sort of homecoming. They had lived in these pols as children, gone to school here, played games and grown up here in these lanes. These pols had been their home before shifting abroad later in life. Some of them were visiting after decades, this time with their children. “Just like it was then” was a phrase we heard often during this heritage walk.
House of Dalpatram – a famous Gujarati poet
We visited the house of a famous poet from Gujarat, Dalpatram. It was a nostalgic moment for many in the group; they had learnt poems by Dalpatram in school. Thanks to them, we could hear some of his poems right there, in front of where they were all created. Understand the different architectural styles in the pols of Ahmedabad
Another reason to include the pols in the list of places to visit in Ahmedabad is to get acquainted with the different styles of architecture. This heritage walk introduced us to the various aspects of the Hindu, Jain and Islamic architecture that’s prevalent in these pols. These communities are all part of the old city of Ahmedabad and have been so for generations.
Many wooden houses still stood sturdy. Architecture and religion went hand-in-hand in these houses. Brackets and pillars were heavily decorated with motifs depicting the religion of the family living in the house. Hindu households invariably had an elephant, homes of the Jain families had Mahavir carved somewhere in the decorations whereas the Islamic households were devoid of any idols. Even in these strong religious identities, a fair amount of intermingling of the designs was seen. We wondered if it reflected the behaviour of society back then.
Like they feed the cows, they also like to feed to birds. This was evident by the huge bird feeders at the entrance of every pol. In the old days, bird feeders were constructed every few meters. Each one of these has a ladder, to refill the bird feeder.
Jami Masjid – the main mosque of Ahmedabad
This heritage walk of Ahmedabad ended at Jami Masjid, the main mosque in old Ahmedabad. By the time we reached the Jami Masjid, the morning rush was nearing its peak, with the traffic choking the narrow “main” roads (They used to be broad central roads when this part of Ahmedabad was originally designed!). The hustle-and-bustle of the shops opening, vendors displaying their wares, street carts lining up on the roads and a sea of people making their way through all the cacophony was all there.
But inside the Jami Masjid, it was a different story. The morning prayers were done so the mosque was empty. This sharp contrast of the quiet inside almost felt eerie at first. But the peaceful environs of the vast, open empty space of Jami Masjid soon grew on us.
Our guide for this heritage walk bid us goodbye here. We, however, decided to spend some time inside to take in the beauty of the mosque.
If you have any questions about the heritage walk conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, contact numbers are 079-25391811, 9824032866.
Observe the life of the people living in the pols of Ahmedabad
Most people here feed the cow first thing in the morning. They do not eat until they have fed the cow. So this grass delivery guy makes life easier, by delivering the cow’s fodder at your doorstep! Just like the newspaper, the grass is tucked in the gaps of the grill on the front door.
Quite obviously, we saw the maximum number of cows on the streets here in Ahmedabad!
Photography tip for the Ahmedabad Heritage Walk:
- The pols of Ahmedabad are a treasure trove for photographers interested in capturing a slice of life of a city.
- Mornings are the most relaxed time for the people and they’ll be more receptive to your questions and requests for photographs.
- While the heritage walk does a great job of introducing you to the traditional character of Ahmedabad, it might not be the best time to take pictures. The group cannot wait for you to finish taking pictures, and you wouldn’t want to be rushed with your compositions either.
- Our suggestion is to treat the heritage walk as a recce and make mental notes of the photography spots. The next morning, walk down the old Ahmedabad area again, this time with the intention of taking photographs.
2. Teen Darwaja (Three doors)
As you head out of the Jami Masjid and move towards Siddi Sayyed mosque you cross Teen Darwaja. The old city of Ahmedabad was a gated city. It had 12 doors and these entrances were named after the major cities they pointed to. The Teen Darwaja was named so because it had a 3-arched entrance.
3. Siddi Sayyed ki Jali, the smallest mosque of Ahmedabad
If you have time to visit just one place in Ahmedabad, make it the Siddi Sayyed mosque and be prepared to have your jaws dropped to the floor.
What can be so fascinating about a small mosque?
You just need to look up, to the back wall of this mosque for the answer. On the backside of the mosque are four sets of delicate carvings on the wall. “Lace on the stone” is the only way to describe the masterpiece of Siddi Sayyed ki Jaali.
The lattice patterns here on the yellow sandstone found commonly in Gujarat are the most delicate pieces of carving we have ever seen. Twenty pieces of sandstone were carved meticulously by hand and then joined together to make the most spectacular section of the jaali. The “Tree of Life” seen most conspicuously in the lattice patterns of Siddi Sayyed ki Jali in fact often used as the logo for the city of Ahmedabad.
Architectural influences from both the Hindu and the Islamic styles are seen at the Siddi Sayyed mosque as well. The Kalpavrusksha wrapped around a palm tree is one of the obvious symbols of a mixed Indo Saracenic architecture.
The connection with the Siddi community which arrived in Gujarat from Africa makes the history of the Siddi Sayyed mosque even more fascinating.
Given its popularity, locating this mosque should not be a problem at all. However, just in case you aren’t able to spot it, you could ask for Mangaldas Haveli (and drop in for a meal at their restaurant Agashiye!). The Siddi Sayyed mosque is in the centre circle, a couple of blocks down the Khadia (old Ahmedabad) area.
Photography tip for Siddi Sayyed Jaali:
- Taking good pictures of these works at the Siddi Sayyed mosque is a challenge for a photographer. The carvings are high up on a wall. There’s a fenced lawn around them. The front, instead, provides some interesting silhouettes for this “lacework”.
- The main pillar at the entrance of the mosque is rich in carvings of Islamic motifs.
- If you are visiting the mosque with the particular intent of photography, reach as early as you can in the morning before the traffic gets in the way and blocks your movement or the view.
4. House of MG
The House of MG should ideally feature in the list of places to eat at in Ahmedabad. But with a haveli as sprawling and as filled with artefacts as this, it would be sacrilege to just list it as a place to eat.
Of course, once must eat at Agashiye, their rooftop restaurant that serves a lavish and finger-licking Gujarati thali. Do stay here during your visit to Ahmedabad, if your budget permits. And when you do, don’t miss out walking along the balconies and verandahs taking in every meticulously planned beauty in the details of this haveli.
After a couple of days of walking around the pols of Ahmedabad, we realised that we had only touched the tip of the iceberg. The old walled city of Ahmedabad, where each building, street or corner was a gem, where each home had a multitude of stories to tell was a treasure trove of exploration. It was no surprise at all that in 2017 Ahmedabad became the first UNESCO world heritage city in India.
Several months would fall short to explore old Ahmedabad completely. While the two days were enough to acquaint us with the old city, the richness of places to see in old Ahmedabad demanded several more visits.
We moved from the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river to the modern western bank. There was a bountiful of places to visit outside the old area of Ahmedabad as well.
5. Adalaj ni vav or The Stepwell of Adalaj
Adalaj ni Wav or Stepwell of Adalaj was built to provide not just water but also a place for some power nap for the travellers crossing the area.
The structure of Adalaj stepwell
It is 5 floors deep both horizontally and vertically. The stepwell has an octagonal opening, with an especially beautiful landing space. If you are visiting the Adalaj stepwell with the luxury of time, it could take you well over an hour just admiring the delicate carvings on the walls and pillars on the top-level itself.
The carvings continue, though in lesser detail, as you descend into the lower floors of the stepwell. We wondered how the artisans would have managed to see their work down there back then.
The ingenuity of the architects of the Adalaj stepwell now becomes evident. It gets remarkably cooler as you step down – apparently, it’s a good 6 degrees cooler at the water level than at the top. This is because of the octagonal opening at the top which permits only slanted light to enter the bottom of the stepwell.
The original purpose of the Adalaj stepwell
Now imagine you were a trader, say 500 years ago (the construction of the Adalaj stepwell is supposed to have completed in 1499). The dry dusty town of Adalaj which today is just off the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway used to fall on the historic trade route to Gujarat. Ahmedabad is ferociously scorching in the summer months. One of the main purposes of building this stepwell was to give these traders a much-needed respite on their trade route. The trade caravans could assemble here and make the cool and beautiful Adalaj stepwell their comfortable pit stop.
The well water is now fenced off for protection. But we could sit on the steps and enjoy the cool by the water. Just like the traders and travellers would have centuries ago!
The idol carvings on the walls of the lower floors indicate that the people of Adalaj probably visited the stepwell to pray as well. This could have been a community space where men stepped in the morning to meet their peers before heading out for the day’s business. Women would have used the Adalaj stepwell for a quick respite from the day’s chores and spent some light moments with the other women of Adalaj.
The history of Adalaj stepwell
It was easy to be lost in history and life back then as we explored the Adalaj stepwell. The beauty and peace here paint a utopian picture. But just at the entrance of this stepwell, next to the board which says that the Adalaj stepwell has been declared a heritage structure by the Archaeological Survey of India, is a board which talks of its rather sombre history.
The Vaghela king (Vaghelas were the last Hindu dynasty to rule Gujarat) Veer Singh had started the construction of the Adalaj stepwell for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, before the stepwell was completed, he got into a war with the neighbouring Muslim ruler Mahmud Begada. He eventually died in this war, with the stepwell at Adalaj incomplete. Meanwhile, the Muslim king who now annexed Adalaj fell in love with the widowed queen Rudabai, whose beauty was anyways legendary. He proposed marriage to her which she accepted only on the condition that he would complete the construction of the Adalaj stepwell. He stayed true to his word and completed the construction, thus bringing Islamic influences in the Adalaj stepwell, making it a work of marvel.
The queen, however, on seeing the completion of her late husband’s dream of the stepwell in Adalaj, jumped into the water and committed suicide, giving this spectacular piece of architecture a rather tragic twist.
The Adalaj stepwell, till just a couple of years back used to be on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Using public transport would’ve taken half a day to visit this stepwell from the city centre. Or a hefty amount would’ve to be paid to the autorickshaw drivers. However, with the city of Ahmedabad expanding on all sides, Adalaj is almost within the city limits, well connected by buses or a hired cab ride away.
There are a few food stalls outside the Adalaj stepwell complex that sell local junk food. However, we won’t necessarily trust this. Pack your own food if you think you’ll feel the need. And DO carry your own drinking water in a non-disposable water bottle, to avoid buying packaged water.
- The ease of access of the Adalaj stepwell now means more visitors from Ahmedabad and around. On weekends and public holidays, you are sure to find a whole lot of people inside the complex. If you are absolutely keen on taking photos of the Adalaj stepwell, then avoid these days.
- However, you can put people to use in your composition. Have a look at our photography tips for Indian monuments. Though they talk mainly about the Taj Mahal, they can be directly applied to the Adalaj stepwell as well.
- The best time to visit would be late afternoon, just before the sunsets. Afternoons would mean lesser crowds and the pre-sunset time can give you the chance to photograph the Adalaj stepwell at the golden hour.
- Dedicate at least a couple of hours for your visit to the Adalaj stepwell.
6. Sarkhej Roza – the Acropolis of the East
Sarkhej Roza is yet another historic and beautiful place to visit in Ahmedabad. It was originally built as a tomb in honour of Shaikh Ahmed Khattu, a revered Sufi saint. He used to be an advisor to Ahmed Shah, the founder of Ahmedabad. Upon his death, the then ruling Sultan, Muhamad Shah got a mausoleum (roza) built. It was completed by Ahmed Shah 2 in 1451.
The 17-acre lake outside the mausoleum was built later. Though the lake has now dried out, once in a while when the city of Ahmedabad experiences an exceptionally good monsoon season, it gets filled up. Visitors then get to witness the rare sight of a water filled Sarkhej Roza.
The architectural details of Sarkhej Roza make it the biggest mausoleum built in its kind. Ahmedabad is studded with some of India’s finest pre-Mughal era monuments built in the Indo Saracenic style of architecture. Sarkhej Roza too, with a mix of Hindu motifs in the grand Islamic details of design, is a fine example of this Indo Saracenic era.
The 20th-century architect Le Corbusier once compared the design of Sarkhej Roza complex to the Acropolis in Athens. Since then, Sarkhej Roza has been famously nicknamed, “Acropolis of the East”.
After a long day of exploring Ahmedabad, the gardens of Sarkhej Roza are a perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon. Watch the sun go down as the sound of the azaan fills the air.
Official website of Sarkhej Roza
7. The Gandhi connection: Sabarmati Ashram
Sabarmati Ashram is a place of interest in Ahmedabad for those curious about the life of Gandhi. The complex is a quiet green space along the western banks of the Sabarmati river.
Gandhi Ashram was originally located at the Kochrab area of Ahmedabad. This is where Gandhi and Kasturba stayed immediately after their return from South Africa. However, Gandhi wanted to build an Ashram with enough open space so that the residents of the Ashram could practice farming, rear animals and be self-reliant. In 1917, the Gandhi Ashram was moved to the banks of the Sabarmati river.
The famous Dandi march which eventually led to the freedom of India was conceptualised here. The Gandhi Ashram stands between the jail and a crematorium and Gandhi had famously said that they were perfectly located with the jail to the right and the crematorium to the left. Their journey is one of the direction was sure.
The museum at the Gandhi Ashram introduces the visitor to the various movements led by Gandhi in India’s struggle for Independence. The ashram also houses handwritten letters exchanged between the leaders of the world and Gandhi. There’s an art gallery here with lifelike oil paintings mainly by artist H.L.Khatri depicting scenes from Gandhi’s life. It is an absorbing place to visit in Ahmedabad for the history buffs.
Official website of Gandhi Ashram
Opposite the museum inside the Gandhi Ashram premises is Hriday Kunj which were the living quarters of Gandhi. Outside, you’ll see volunteers working on the charkha – one of the main weapons in India’s struggle for Independence. You can see the process of the khadi thread being made from raw cotton and can even participate in it.
One of the main focus areas of Gandhi’s civic work was public sanitation and hygiene. Not surprisingly, the Safai Vidyalaya of the Environmental Sanitation Institute is just next to the Gandhi Ashram. It has a Toilet Cafe and a Toilet Garden which has over 120 toilet designs. This rather unique museum in Ahmedabad is worth looking at while visiting the Gandhi Ashram.
8. The Gandhi connection: Dandi Kutir in Gandhinagar
Dandi Kutir is the latest and the most modern landmark to visit on the Gandhi circuit near Ahmedabad. Around 30 km from Ahmedabad in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, the Dandi Kutir is part of the mega Mahatma Mandir complex.
Dandi Kutir is essentially an interactive museum based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It is a biographical narrative of Gadhi’s life following the theme of Mohandas to Mahatma. This journey is showcased in an engaging 90-minute experience inside the sprawling 10,700 sq m museum through modern technologies like 3D mapping, holography, 360-degree projections and transparent LED screen.
What first drew our attention at the Dandi Kutir was the attractive outer dome. Conical shaped and 90 meters in diameter, it was the largest sparkling white structure we had seen. This structure was even more impactful after we were told that it was made to resemble a pinch of salt – symbolising the Dandi salt satyagraha.
The buildings around the main Dandi Kutir museum which house the office, a souvenir shop as well as a refreshment corner are all covered with brown roofs, depicting the sand around the salt pans.
The Dandi Kutir is an excellent option for things to do indoors in Ahmedabad on hot afternoons. It should be included in the itinerary for Ahmedabad especially when travelling with young kids.
9. Hutheesingh Jain Temple – another historic temple in Ahmedabad
On the Ashram road of Ahmedabad, close to the Gandhi Ashram is the complex of Hutheesingh temple. It was built in 1848 by Shethani Harkunwar, in memory of her husband Hutheesingh who used to be a wealthy merchant.
Originally constructed using the yellow sandstone, some parts have now been renovated using marble. Here too, the talent of the artists who made this temple stands out.
- Like all other Jain temples, photography is not permitted inside the Hutheesing temple.
- However, you can take pictures from the outside.
10. Kankaria lake – Place to visit in Ahmedabad if travelling with lids
Another place to include in the itinerary of Ahmedabad when travelling with kids is the Kankaria lake. A butterfly garden (no real butterflies, but still fun!), a train and the activities around the lake itself are enough entertainment for a couple of hours.
11. The Ahmedabad city museum, Sanskar Kendra
Located on the Paldi Road, this museum is housed in a building designed by Le Corbusier himself. For its collection of kites including some ancient Chinese kites, we would include this museum among the places to visit in Ahmedabad. They have a documentary about the art of making kites. If you are interested, the staff will be happy to play it for you. You have to ask nicely, though!
12. A one-day outing from Ahmedabad: Thol lake bird sanctuary
Less than an hour’s drive out of the city centre of Ahmedabad takes you to a place that’ll make you forget your proximity to any urban space. The Thol lake bird sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers in Ahmedabad. Early mornings are the best time to visit Thol. In fact, reach here before sunrise and catch the mirrorlike reflections of the surrounding grassland in the deep golden waters of the Thol lake.
You will need binoculars to do some serious birding. However, the Thol lake bird sanctuary can be enjoyed even without any birding equipment. The lake and the wetlands surrounding it are an eye-catching landscape. Mornings here are an exciting time. You get to witness a spectacular sunrise as the birdsongs fill the air.
As the rising sun lifts the mist over the lake, you get to see some common wetland birds like waders, herons, egrets, ibis and stilts. During the migratory season, flamingoes are easily spotted and if you get really lucky you could even see the Sarus crane!
Much closer to the more popular Nalsarovar, the Thol lake bird sanctuary is a perfect spot for a quick family getaway from Ahmedabad. Having your own car is the easiest way to reach Thol. However, if that is not an option, you can call for a cab from Ahmedabad. Just make sure to ask the driver to wait for you while you visit the sanctuary. Finding an empty cab at Thol is highly improbable.
Travelling through Ahmedabad by buses, we caught glimpses of some street art. It was very different than the kinds of graffiti seen in Brazil but did serve the purpose of beautification.
Map of the places to visit in Ahmedabad
How to travel within Ahmedabad on your visit to the city?
Public transport connects all the places to visit in Ahmedabad. The best part about navigating the city? Google Maps gives accurate transit routes using the city buses.
Every place we visited in Ahmedabad, we used public transport buses. Khadia is well connected by buses with the rest of Ahmedabad. Even while using the auto rickshaws within the city limit, we were charged the metered fare. We never encountered the special “tourist price”.
Warning: You might be tried to shoot at, but like us, we assure you’d be safe!
Places to visit around Ahmedabad
- A visit to Vadodara is a beautiful day trip from Ahmedabad. It is a couple of hours to the south of Ahmedabad connected by a beautiful expressway. We recommend at least a full day’s visit to Vadodara.
- If kids are part of the travelling gang, then a visit to the Sayaji Garden (locally called Kamathi Baug) is an absolute must. The journey in the toy train in this park is something they’ll remember forever.
- The city museum of Vadodara which is inside the Sayaji Garden has a commendable collection of artefacts. As does the Fatehsingh museum. It displays the collection of arts and sculptures which belong to the Gaekwads, the erstwhile royal family of Vadodara. Original works of artists like Raja Ravi Verma are the prized possession among this rich collection.
- However, if there’s time for just one place to visit in Vadodara, it is undoubtedly the Lukshmi Vilas Palace. It is still home to the present generation of the Gaekwad family. The family has opened up the ground floor of the palace for public viewing. At the entrance, after paying the entry fees you are given an audio guide to take you through the palace.
The Lukshmi Vilas Palace is built in four different styles of architecture, representing a mosque, a church, a temple and a gurudwara (from the left to the right).
“Tastefully lavish” is how we would describe our experience of the Lukshmi Vilas Palace. It reflects the patronage the various forms of arts received from the king, Maharaja Sayajirao.
It did not feel like a showcase of the royal riches. We could comprehend Sayajirao’s role in making Vadodara a culturally rich city that it prides itself on today. It was a great experience being in the midst of some beautiful paintings and sculptures. We could almost hear the music that would have once resonated within.
2. Statue of Unity
A place that can be easily visited as a day trip from Vadodara or Ahmedabad is the Statue of Unity, the world’s highest statue. It is located at Kevadia which is just a two-hour drive from Vadodara.
3. Indroda Dinosaur Fossil Park at Balasinor
This second largest hatchery of dinosaur eggs in the world, this dinosaur park can safely be called India’s very own Jurassic Park. Palaeontologists have found fossils of over 13 species of dinosaurs from around 65 million years ago. Life-sized statues of all 13 species are found at the fossil park. The most interesting one is related to the dreaded Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s been named Rajasaurus Narmandensis, King of Narmada – Raja (king) for its crested horn, and Narmada for its place of origin, at the banks of the river Narmada.
In addition to the fossil park, Gujarat Tourism has come up with an Informatics Centre at Balasinor. It was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Mr Vijay Rupani, himself in June 2019. With its 5-D theatre and 3-D films, it takes you back to the Mesozoic times.
A perfect place near Ahmedabad for families and kids who are fascinated by dinosaurs. This is as good as being present in a real-life Jurassic Park!
4. Another place to visit near Ahmedabad is Champaner and Pavagadh Archaeological Park
The Chamapaner and Pavagadh Archaeological Park is Gujarat’s first UNESCO world heritage structure. Yet, it maintains its status as the most unexplored monuments in Gujarat. Expect to find entire complexes to yourself!
5. White Rann of Kutch – only an overnight journey from Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad is a convenient gateway to Kutch, from all over India. There are way from flights and trains connecting Ahmedabad to the other major cities than they are to Bhuj. An overnight bus journey from Ahmedabad takes you to Bhuj from where you can visit the White Rann of Kutch.
6. Modhera Sun temple
Located in the Mehsana district, the Modhera Sun Temple (older than its more popular counterpart in Konark) is just over a 2-hour drive from Ahmedabad. A visit to the Modhera Sun Temple must be clubbed in with a visit to the Rani ki vav in Patan.
7. Rani ki vav, another UNESCO would heritage monument close to Ahmedabad
If you would like a guide while visiting these historic places in and around Ahmedabad, get in touch with Mr Bherunath. He is a guide approved by the Tourism Ministry, can communicate in Hindi, English and French too. He can be contacted on +91 9727155882.
Map of places to visit around Ahmedabad
Quirky gems of our trip to Ahmedabad. And a classic example of “It Happens Only in India”!
More than any “places to visit”, the people as always, were the lasting impressions of our trip, the fond memories that we brought back from Ahmedabad.
Where to stay during your visit to Ahmedabad?
- Staying in the Khadia area proved convenient for us as many places were walking distance. We stayed at the Jai Radhe hotel (Phone: 079-22110166). It’s a no-frills hotel with clean rooms and decent beds. Especially perfect during Makar Sankranti.
- If you prefer to stay in a more intimate and plush setting but want to stick to the Kahdia area in old Ahmedabad, consider booking a room at the French Haveli.
- If you want to experience the luxury of living in a traditional haveli during your visit to Ahmedabad then the House of MG s what you are looking for.
- For a stay in a more modern place in quieter surroundings, the ITC Fortune Landmark Hotel is an excellent option (do not miss the breakfast here!)
Explore these places to eat in Ahmedabad
- Have at least one meal at Agashiye, the terrace restaurant of the House of MG.
- Maneck Chowk is a place to visit in Ahmedabad at night. It’s a bustling street in the day. Come night, the shops close the food stalls open up. People getting off their Jaguars and feasting at one of the street stalls at Maneck Chowk is a regular feature here.
- If you visit in the winter, undhiyo is a must-try!
- At least one breakfast of Khaman-dhokla is a must.
- In the rare case of you wanting a break from the Gujarati food, there is an excellent Tibetan joint, in one of the tiny lanes behind NID (National Institue of Design). We can’t give the exact directions, but just ask any student you find around the NID campus, we assure you they’ll know.
- There is a restaurant called Lucky near the Delhi Darwaja in old Ahmedabad. A quirky little place with graves inside, it’s a must-visit place for some tea and pakodas.
Need help planning your trip to Ahmedabad?
We visited these places in five visits to the city of Ahmedabad so far. Some of these were for personal reasons while some were enabled by the Gujarat Tourism board.