Ahmedabad Heritage Walk – The Old City Charm
Ahmedabad is an UNESCO World Heritage City that rightly deserves its revered status. It draws the right parallelism through the glorious mix of history and modernity. A part of the city is bustling with industries, lights, cafes and malls. But, the other part, it wins you over with depiction of rich culture and heritage saved through phenomenal architectures and centuries old temples, mosques and mausoleums. This can be experienced with the Ahmedabad heritage walk and can be booked online.
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The old city of Ahmedabad is where the soul and real essence of the heritage lies. Indeed, this is where you realize how rightly it deserves its title of World Heritage site.
The narrow alleys, community living system (Pol), contemporary architectures, old rumbling houses, smell of sweets and the vibe, it transports you back to an era that evolved through the centuries. A week in Ahmedabad is great time to soak into the culture, walk through the heritage, take a fancy for intricate textiles and feed your inner glutton.
Heritage Walk Ahmedabad – Perfect Way to Explore Old City
The old city of Ahmedabad is a vivid amalgamation of heritage with some of the finest Islamic monuments, Hindu and Jain temples. The 600 years old city marks its pride through the wooden carved architecture, narrow alleys, chaotic markets and the Pol (community) system of living, in harmony and peace.
The best way to explore the old city of Ahmedabad, neatly divided by the Sabarmati River from the new city, is by registering for a morning Heritage Walk. The best part of the heritage walk is crisp explanation by the guide. The alleys and lanes are quite confusing but with a guide, you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the architectural byzantine. Here are the things that makes the heritage walk interesting.
Mandir to Masjid Walk
The morning heritage walk starts at around 8.00 am from Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur built in the 19th century and ends in the Jama Masjid built in the 15th century. It is also known as Mandir to Masjid heritage walk encompassing pols, Hindu & Jain temples and wooden carved classic buildings. Carved in Burmese teak and vividly painted, Swaminarayan Temple is perfect spot to start the walk.
Walking through the narrow lanes, there are numerous Pols that one walk past finally leading to Manek Chowk. The monuments like Rani no Haziro served as graves for queens of the empire. Badshah no Haziro which is a medieval mosque along with tombs of kings is also one of the interesting architecture that you visit. The walk ends at Jumma Masjid that stands beautifully built in yellow sandstones and is a mammoth of intricate detailing.
Click on the link for the complete detail of tour and places during the heritage walk.
Pol System or Community Living
The tiny alleys and lanes of the old city throws you instantly into a maze of heritage influence evolved through the decades. There are a number of “Pols” – community and individual neighborhoods sheltering number of houses. Each Pol has its own gate, water system, community well, temples and intersection of the small alleys ending in open squares, called chowks.
The Pols are quite interesting as infrastructural concept and bustling with chirping of birds and squirrels. The pols have designed bird feeders called Chabutro set on erect poles filled with grains for the birds. It is not only the birds that are welcomed but the walls of the houses have small gaps for keeping the grains that the squirrels feed on. The underground well system keeps the homes cool and solves the purpose of drinking water. There are secret passages in some of the pols to hide from enemies back in those days of flourishing kingdoms.
Eat in a 120 year old restaurant
Just before exiting into the Manek Chowk into the commotion filled markets, fill your tummy with a plate of authentic Gujrati breakfast in more than a century old restaurant. There is so much of food on the plate that keeps you full through the day till evening.
Explore the market in Manek Chowk
The bustling and colorful market at Manek Chowk is a chaotic situation but one of the biggest in the city of Ahmedabad. Everything you are looking, colorful, fancy and traditional, you will find it here. The smell of Ghee (clarified butter) from the nooks and corners of the lanes and market fills the appetite slowly.
End the walk with Bhadra Fort
Although Bhadra Fort is not included in the heritage walk package, make sure to visit the 14th century built fort. The fort is all about fascinating carvings, intricate designs, large gates, clock tower and designed in complete sandstone. The inscriptions on the fort are impressive and striking.
Immerse in the Intricate Work on Teen Darwaza
The Teen Darwaza is a historical gateway built in Indo-Islamic style on the East side of the Bhadra Fort. It is the oldest three – arch gateway built by Sultan Ahmed Shah who was also the founder of Ahmedabad city. It marks the entrance of the royal fort and represents fine Islamic architecture through intricate mesh work.
How to book an Old City Heritage Walk in Ahmedabad?
This is the best thing you can experience at the minimum cost. You can book for the package from official website of Heritage Walk Ahmedabad, at a very nominal cost organized by AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation). The luxury package includes breakfast that cost only Rs 200/- and standard package cost Rs 60/-. It is nearly 2 and ½ hours of walk across the lanes and alleys starting from temple and ending in Mosque. With a guided walking tour, it becomes easy to understand the concept of Pols and why everything is designed in a particular fashion.
How to reach the starting point of the tour?
The starting point of the heritage walk is the Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur. As you enter the temple from main gate, turn to your right. There is a small two-storey house where you can expect to find your guide. Otherwise, you can always make a call and ask about the whereabouts. Make sure you reach on time to not miss on anything which mostly starts with a slideshow before the actually tour. If you are residing in Ahmedabad new city, take an Ola or Uber or an Auto to reach the destination.
The old city of Ahmedabad is a charming reminder of culture and heritage that survived through the ages. Everything is old and invigorating, like my memories of wandering through the heritage space. UNESCO Heritage City of Ahmedabad reflects the era of rulers, spectacular architectures, and unique system of neighborhood building, preserved in face of the existing glory of the old city.
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