CONTENTS Introduction .....................................................................................................................08 About the guide.................................................................................................................12 ITINERARY I THE OLD CITY (PART 1).....................................................................................................18 ITINERARY II THE OLD CITY (PART 2).....................................................................................................56 ITINERARY III ASHRAM ROAD & PALDI ...................................................................................................92 ITINERARY IV UNIVERSITY AREA ..........................................................................................................118 ITINERARY V WEST AHMEDABAD..........................................................................................................162 Facts for the Visitor ........................................................................................................210 Buildings & Places Index ...............................................................................................225 Architects Index .............................................................................................................229 Bibliography ...................................................................................................................230 About the Author.............................................................................................................232 Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................233 Pictures and Drawings Credits ...................................................................................... 234
INTRODUCTION Not unlike other great cities, Ahmedabad has a story of its inception. It is said that while camping on the banks of the river, its first Sultan, saw a dog being chased by a hare. Attributing this rare phenomenon to the quality of the land, where the timid are courageous and fend off the ferocious, he decided to establish his capital on the banks of the river Sabarmati. The undulating, semi-arid landscape along the river is dotted with settlements of varying sizes that form a sustainable unit with the agricultural land that encircles them. It is typical that each settlement is situated on a mound adjacent to a depression, a sine curve in this general topography. The depression fills with water to form a ‘Talvadi’, a small tank or lake; the settlement occupies the high ground, its temple marking the apex. One such settlement called Ashaval, renamed Karnavati, which served as the Solanki capital for a short period of time, was the nucleus for Ahmedabad’s growth. It was the Bhil Chief of this town that Ahmed Shah defeated to establish this city. The historic city of Ahmedabad, located in the western Indian state of Gujarat was founded during the surge of Islamic conquests that had swept through India. It was established in 1411 by a nobleman, Ahmed Shah, who had rebelled against his overlords in Delhi. The Mirat-i-Ahmadi states that the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the city was conducted by four Ahmads and was further helped by twelve Qalandar Faquirs, who were disciples of the saint Hazrat Khwaja Syed Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi. One of them was the learned Ahmed Ganj Baksh Khattu, spiritual teacher and guide to the Sultan, a Sufi who settled in a precinct at Sarkhej. The capital of Gujarat under the preceding Solanki dynasty (950-1300AD) had been Anhilwada, or present day Patan. 8
The Muslim rulers were awed by the prosperity of the Solanki kingdom and its stupendous secular as well as religious architecture. The new rulers, keen on establishing their superiority in the material realm, undertook an energetic program of building activities in Ahmedabad. Their model of reference was the impressive Hindu architecture of past centuries, which they wished to outshine. The result, after one and a half centuries, was the celebrated ‘Sultanate Architecture’of Ahmedabad. The planning of the new town of Ahmedabad, a walled town situated on the river Sabarmati, was an amalgamation of existing Hindu traditions and Islamic planning. In the case of Ahmedabad, it is likely that the organization of the city borrowed from several ‘Mandalas’. The ‘Nandyavarta Mandala’ for its resemblance to the ‘four square’ Islamic town planning, adopted through Roman influence. The ‘Prastara’ which is normally used in the layout of trade towns and is visible in the city, and again the actual form of the city which resembles the ‘Karmukha Mandala’, with a crescent like urban form ordered by radially disposed streets leading to specific gates. The first century of the city saw its consolidation. The reign of Ahmed Shah established the city and its central precinct, including the Jami Mosque in 1423. During the reign of his grandson, Mahmud Begada, the kingdom grew from Idar to Girnar. Begada, as he was called, shifted the capital to Champaner in 1484, but still paid great attention to the growth and development of Ahmedabad which had always been the more industrious and prosperous town. He built a second fort wall in 1486; adorned the city with gardens and orchards, lined the streets with trees and ensured building of good houses.
With much care he fostered the traders and craftsmen of the town and encouraged trade. The production of silks, silver and gold threads and laq brought in the main revenue for the city. It was at the time of Begada's death in 1511, that the prosperity of Ahmedabad was affected by the coming of the Portuguese. By the time of Bahadur Shah, the grandson of Mahmud Begada, the kingdom was under threat from an expanding Mughal empire to the north and the Portuguese who had established a strong foothold on the coast of Gujarat. Bahadur Shah was able to repel the Siege of Diu in 1531 with the help of the Ottomans empire. But the conquest by the Mughals in 1535 and Bahadur Shah's death at the hands of the Portuguese in 1537 initiated a period of great instability in the city. It was not till Mirza Khan, one of Akbar’s chief noblemen, took control of Ahmedabad with victory in a battle at Sarkhej, that prosperity returned to the city. He built Fateh Wadi turning the battlefield into a garden. In the early 17th century with a series of benevolent governors Ahmedabad increased in size and prospered in wealth. Social institutions for various communities such as the 'Mahajans', guild of merchants and ‘Panches’, guilds of artisans, were allowed to grow to safeguard the interests of production and trade. The Nagarsheth', head of the Jain business elite would resolve disputes between the guilds and more importantly intercede with royal officials. The ‘Nagarsheth’ played the role of a financial head and under him the city remained reasonably insulated from the vagaries of political oscillations. The middle of 17th century saw Ahmedabad at its most prosperous. It was also during this time that the city experienced its first communal riots and a devastating two-year famine. This
was also when the first wave of Europeans visited the city. In 1613 AD the first representatives of the British East India Company arrived. James Forbes, who was granted an audience with Shah Jahan in Ahmedabad, described in his memoirs “that until this visit to Ahmedabad I had no conception of the extent of oriental magnificence; the palaces and splendid chambers described in the Arabian nights’ entertainments, appear no longer overcharged or fabulous.” The adventurer Sir Thomas Herbert describes Ahmedabad as "the megapolis of Gujarat, circled by a strong wall with many large and comely streets, shops full of aromatic gums, perfumes and spices, silks, cottons, calicoes and choice Indian and Chinese rarities, owned and sold by the abstemious Banias who here surpass for number the other inhabitants.” Later a French traveler, Taverniere, visiting the town in the 18th century described it as “the headquarters of manufacturing, the greatest city in India, nothing inferior to Venice for rich silks and gold stuffs curiously wrought with birds and flowers.” The city, however, was not enjoyed by the emperor Shah Jahan; who called it ‘Gardabad', or the city of dust.
Aurangzeb's rule in the 18th century brought great turmoil to the city. Growth in the city of Surat diminished the profits of the merchants in Ahmedabad. A decade of personal rivalries amongst the ruling nobles, communal conflicts and joint ruling by the Mughals and Marathas led to constant disturbances, internal strife and violence. In 1817 a treaty with the Peshwas of Pune, the ruling class of western India, brought Ahmedabad under the British rule. The British were keen on annexing Ahmedabad because of “the commanding influence which the sovereignty over the city of Ahmedabad confers on its possessor in the estimation of the country at large”. Both the Mughal and Peshwa rulers, had left the city exhausted and depopulated. By the time of the British, the medieval economy of Ahmedabad hung on three threads: gold, silk and cotton. The British rule helped restore order. Aided by the opium trade to China, by 1839 Ahmedabad had recover and had regained its standing amongst the important cities in the country. Modern textile technology further oiled the virtues of pragmatism, innovation and collaboration within its resilient populace in their reinvention of the city. By the time of the First World War, its booming business in textiles gave Ahmedabad the status of “The Manchester of the East”. It was Ahmedabad that M.K. Gandhi chose, on his return from South Africa, as the place to centre his national campaign for independence after 1915. Ahmedabad’s success as a textile center by the late 19th century, is perhaps most telling in the spirit of its people and their ability to adapt to the changes in the world around them. Ahmedabad had neither the climate nor the proximity to required resources such as coal, that would aid a textile industry. Kenneth 10
Gillion has concluded that “in the 19th century, the Gujaratis (and not just their mercantile communities) were, of all the Indian peoples, the ones most favorably conditioned by their culture and history to take advantage of the new economic opportunities in trade and industry”. With an industrious and entrepreneurial bent of mind, meticulous administrative skills, a vision that incorporated technology and a social structure that allowed for an ability to take and distribute risk, the people of Ahmedabad were amongst the first to transform from the older production structures of guilds to a modern industrial one. Ahmedabad’s textile industry, unlike its counterparts in Europe, was entirely indigenously financed. By the beginning of the 20th century there were 29 textile mills in the city, employing a force of 17,000 people and producing 8% of the country’s clothing. The Factories Act of 1881 and 1891 ensured that the horrors of the Industrial Revolution in Europe were not repeated. With industrial modernization other ideas in modernity followed, most notably the need for modern institutions. Ahmedabad formed one of the first municipal corporations and was the first city to develop the idea of a co-operative housing society, one that would fuel housing typologies for over half a century. Education, in its modern avatar, was an institutional form that received great thought and patronage, particularly from the mill owner families, who would grow from medieval merchants and traders into institution builders and shape the city over the next 75 years. Families like the Lalbhai’s and the Sarabhai’s would also play an important role in their support of the freedom movement. Ahmedabad’s role in the freedom movement is significant. In 1915 M.K. Gandhi set up his first Ashram at Kocharab and
then went on to establish the Satyagraha Ashram at Sabarmati in 1917. The Satyagraha Ashram became one of the key centers of subversive activity. It is here that Gandhi carried out his experiments for a way of life that was 'free' of the colonizer’s way. It was from Ahmedabad that Gandhi embarked on the ‘Salt March’ to Dandi, the first act of non-violent, civil disobedience that marked the formal beginning of a coordinated 'freedom struggle'. Post independence after 1947, patronage and support from an enlightened business class drew artists, architects, educators and outstanding contributors from different places to the city. Ahmedabad, though still a small town in modern terms, would be shaped by the presence of eminent architects and designers like Le Corbusier, Alexander Calder, Buckminster Fuller, Charles and Ray Eames, Frei Otto and Louis Kahn. Achyut Kanvinde, B.V. Doshi, Charles Correa and Anant Raje began their careers in this city. The values and language of modern architecture found resonance with traditions of austerity and frugality. In the next two decades the city expanded to the west, across the Sabarmati river establishing among many, the new University Area, with a plethora of modern institutions. A second wave of energetic development followed the 'Mahagujarat' movement and the formation of the Gujarat State in 1960. If the first wave after Independence strengthened existing institutions, which were an inheritance from the British Raj, the second wave responded to a decade of assessment of the needs of society and the economy with both modern and traditional predilections. Institutions were set up in support of Indian industry. Institutions to develop design and management thinking were set up decades before they became a
global mantra. Institution builders such as Vikram Sarabhai were instrumental in setting up key institutions such as the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) in the city. Such institutional development continued through the 1980’s, and during this period effort was in establishing the post-independent and modern Indian identity. With liberalization of the Indian economy, in 1992, the focus shifted from public to private enterprise. The idea of an institution underwent a dramatic change. The weight and sluggishness of bureaucratic process was replaced by a new energy of effervescent and impatient private capital. In order to infuse a similar energy into public projects, which were now concentrated on infrastructure, the public-private partnership became a preferred mode of implementation. In this mode, it was ideated that public funds and implementation could be made efficient and accountable by privatized design and management. The Sabarmati Riverfront Project, the Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transfer System (BRTS) and the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), are examples of this. However, development on the ground outpaced planning processes and policy implementation, so much so that the Ahmedabad of the new millennium, has become a place where 40% of the population reside in slums or low cost housing without access to water or sanitation. Ahmedabad is now also a teeming Megacity, caught between vehicular thrombosis and polluted catastrophes. The next ten years in its life will show how this reality translates the neo-liberal mantra of allowing private investment in infrastructure and empowering the local government, without making Ahmedabad a tale of two cities: one of the rich and the other of the poor. 11
ABOUT THE GUIDE This guide is structured around five itineraries which have been compiled geographically. Buildings in a particular area, or distinct parts of the city, have been grouped together so that a visitor may conveniently visit them in a limited period of time. It is difficult to estimate the amount of time that a visitor may spend at a particular place, I have assumed, based on my own experience, that one may be able to visit a maximum of 7-8 buildings / places in a day, on a rapid visit. For the more studious visitor, 3-4 places in a day is the likely pace, allowing for the circumstantial deviations from a planned itinerary, which are so common with encounters in the Indian city. Stopping for tea at a ‘chai’ stall on the street, chatting with building caretakers / users can often give a visitor an unusual insight into the relevance of the place. Each itinerary can therefore be considered a plan ranging from three days to a week. As much as the itineraries are geographical, they are also historical. The earliest developments of the city took place to the east of the river. Itinerary 1 and 2 cover these. Itinerary 3, 4, and 5 largely cover buildings from the post independent and modern periods, with itinerary 4 and 5 also covering examples of contemporary architecture.
The text for the book has been envisioned such that it not only provides the reader with the relevant information about the particular building but, put together gives one an outline of the historical narrative of the architecture of the city. The five itineraries chosen are the most obvious ones. Note, that they largely lead you to traverse the city in the north-south direction. An itinerary running east-west would effectively give the visitor an experience of a ‘cross section’ of the city's architectural history. You could, for example, start at Bhadra Square -visit the key monuments around it, walk through the Dhalgharwad cloth market, visit the modern buildingsPremabhai Hall and the Central Bank, cross the Nehru Bridge and walk down the Sabarmati Riverfront to the Ahmedabad Textile Mill Owners Association (ATMA) building by Le Corbusier. You could then pick a set of modern and contemporary buildings that would allow you to traverse west through the city. On the way it is possible to experience phenomena like 'the urban villages’. It is worth walking through one of these as you traverse the city creating your own itinerary. If you're in the city for a day or two, we recommend you visit the old city (itinerary 1) and some examples of the modern architecture (itineraries 3 and 4).
The Ambica building designed by A. Kanvinde, at Relief Road (Old City) 12
The City of Ahmedabad A State of Gujarat Metropolis Area: 464,16 km2. (179,21 sq m)* Population (2011)*: 5,577,940** (* from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Retrieved 20 June 2012) (** http://www.citypopulation.de/php/india-gujarat.php) 16
Ahmedabad City Map
5 Itineraries / 140 buildings and places to visit I The Old City (part 1)
III Ashram Road & Paldi
II The Old City (part 2)
IV University Area
V West Ahmedabad
ITINERARY I THE OLD CITY (PART 1) Starting Point Bhadra Square 1. Bhadra Square 2. Premabhai Hall 3. Bhadra Fort 4. Sultan Ahmed Shah Masjid 5. Dhalgharwad (Cloth Market) 6. Teen Darwaza 7. Jami Masjid 8. The King's Tomb 9. The Queen's Tomb 10. Manek Chowk & The Maneknath Temple 11. Mandvi ni Pol 12. Kansara ni Pol (Copper Market) 13. Nagji Bhudar ni Pol to Mahurat ni Pol 14. Sankdi Sheri and Raj Vaidh's Haveli 15. Deewanji ni Haveli
Places to Eat Agashiye The House of MG, Bhadra Road, Opp. Sidi Saiyad Masjid, Lal Darwaza Chandravilas Restaurant Near Ratan Pol, Gandhi Road, Tankshal, Khadia Kandoi Sweets Manek Chowk Rd, Manek Chowk, Khadia Lucky Tea Mirzapur Rd. Bhadra Manek Chowk Lal Darwaza The Green House The House of MG Bhadra Road, Opp. Sidi Saiyad Masjid, Lal Darwaza Pol Kholi CafĂŠ Mangaldas ni Haveli II, Gangadhiya ni Pol, Khadia 18 ITINERARY I THE OLD CITY (PART 1)
16. Mangaldas ni Haveli II 17. Mangaldas ni Haveli I 18. Divecha ni Haveli 19. Patasha ni Pol 20. Fernandes Bridge (Book Market) 21. Doshiwada ni Pol and the Ashtapad Derasar 22. Ratan Pol (Cloth Market) 23. Wagan Pol and the underground Jain temples a. Rajeshwar Mahadev Swami Derasar b. Adishwar Maharaj ni Derasar c. Shri Chintamani Pashwanath and Ajitnath Derasar 24. Sambhavnath ni Derasar 25. Sidi Saiyad Masjid 26. Central Bank of India
Shopping Ellisbridge Sunday Market The House of MG Bhadra Road, Opp. Sidi Saiyad Masjid, Lal Darwaja
Starting Point Bhadra Square
Bhadra, Lal Darwaja
ITINERARY LEVEL: Medium (by foot) DURATION: one day / 6-8 hours DISTANCE: 4 km (2,5 ml) PRACTICAL INFORMATION: All monuments are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Do not enter any mosque during prayer time (approx. 6am, 1pm, 5pm and 6:30pm). Remove your shoes in all mosques and Jain temples.
This is the ‘must do’ itinerary of Ahmedabad. It starts at the main public square of the medieval city, Bhadra and moves eastwards following the prominent monuments and landmarks such as the Teen Darwaza and the Jami Masjid (mosque). Though Ahmedabad is well known for its ‘pols’ or neighbourhoods, its markets are also an urban phenomenon worth experiencing. The cloth market of Dhalgharwad and Ratan Pol are a mix of formal activity en24 ITINERARY I THE OLD CITY (PART 1)
ITINERARY I THE OLD CITY (PART 1) - Heritage walks: Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation www.gujarattourism.com/destination/ details/6/10 The House of MG www.houseofmg.com/breakfastwalk.htm
hanced by the informal inhabitation of the same space. This is a character found in many cities of India, but rarely are the relationships that make these spaces as clear as they are in this part of Ahmedabad. The itinerary includes important residential buildings such as the Zaveri ni Haveli, Divanji and Divetia ni Haveli. However the emphasis is more on the experience of the larger residential fabric than the individual buildings.
As a result even the Jain temples (Derasars) are found as part of the larger neighbourhood of which they are a part. The residential neighbourhood in this itinerary are chosen to give a visitor a taste of the different scales and characters that are found in the city at large. The commercial type street with the houses above, the mixed use street and the quiet, private residential street is some of the fare that one will experience. There is also
an example of the clandestine shortcuts that residents make to traverse the city. This cuts across public and private space, traversing which one can get a true sense of the texture of life on which the city is built. The itinerary includes iconic modern public architecture like the Premabhai Hall, that are examples of the conversation of Indiasâ€™s premier modern architects with their past.
1. Bhadra Square
1. Bhadra Fort 2. A. Khan Sarai 3. Bhadrakali Temple 4. Karanj Baag 5. Premabhai Hall 6. Bank of India 7. A. Shah's Masjid 8. Chabutara 9. Teen Darwaza
Site plan (redevelopment of Bhadra precinct, B.V. Doshi, VÄ stu ShilpÄ Foundation, 1970-77)
After the inception of the city in 1411, Ahmed Shah first undertook the building of the royal citadel, a 40 acre enclave now known as Bhadhra.This included a fort, mosques, gardens and an open city square called the Maidan-e-Shahi. This space in front of the fort has been described by travelers across the centuries as a cool luxuriant space lined with fruit trees. This square stretches from the fort to the Teen Darwaza a gate that leads to 26 ITINERARY I THE OLD CITY (PART 1)
the four main market streets (bazaars) of the city. In the 18th century, under Maratha rule, a shrine to Bhadrakali Mata was installed to the south of the fort. With the coming of the British, buildings for governmental use were built in the plaza. These were recently demolished as part of the Bhadra Fort Redevelopment Project, which aims to rejuvenate the area as a cultural centre for the city. The entire area has been pedestrianised.
2. Premabhai Hall B.V. Doshi (VSF) 1972
Foyer level plan
Between 1950 and 1972, the architect B.V. Doshi worked on a proposal for the redevelopment of the Bhadhra Square. Premabhai Hall was designed as part of this urban renewal to give the area a sense of civic monumentality. This building houses the Gujarat Vidhyasabha and is designed as an auditorium for the performing arts.It has a cantilevered overhang with a podium below that creates a monumental ‘urban lobby’ from which one can view the
‘theatre’ of the square. The circulation of the building is articulated as a continuation of the movement from the street and the lobby as a place of civic gathering. The interior spaces are articulated by bold textures of concrete in light, punctuated by colour and other playful elements. However the incompletion of the urban project, of which this building was a part, leaves the building out scaled and stranded.
ITINERARY II THE OLD CITY (PART 2) Starting Point BRTS Bus Stop 1. BRTS Bus Stop 2. Rani Sipri ni Masjid 3. Walking from Dhal ni Pol to Shamda ni Pol 4. Maganbhai ni Haveli 5. Panchkuva Vav 6. Jhulta Minar 7. Relief Road 8. Calico Dome 9. Kavi Dalpatram Chowk 10. Swaminarayan Mandir 11. Muhafiz Khan Masjid
Additional Buildings A. Vir Savarkar Sports Club B. ESIC Hospital C. BRTS Workshop Station
56 ITINERARY II THE OLD CITY (PART 2)
12. Qutubuddin Ahmad Shah Masjid 13. Hutheesing Jain Mandir 14. Dada Harir ni Vav 15. Mata Bhavani ni Vav 16. Villa Sarabhai 17. Callico Museum of Textiles 18. Circuit House 19. Sardar Patel's Memorial 20. Sabarmati Riverfront Park (East) 21. Sabarmati Ashram 22. Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya 23. Dandi Bridge 24. Manav Sadhna Activity Centre and CrÃ¨che
C din ud sir Na
aja aw Kh
d ala R Dafn
ty his Rd
ar Rd eshw
Babu Jagivanram Bridge
ati Rive r
Dr Ambedkar Rd
14 Idgah Rd
13 Gandhi Bridge
Kasturba Ga nd hi Rd
9 Lal Darwaja
Vi v ek a nan da Rd
Jam alpu r Rd
Dhal ni Pol
ek a i Viv Swam
Rajpur Gomtipur Rd
Starting Point BRTS Bus Stop
Astodiya Chakla BRTS Bus Stop
ITINERARY LEVEL: Long (by foot & bicycle/ car/auto rickshaw) DURATION: More than one day DISTANCE: 8 km (10 ml) PRACTICAL INFORMATION: All monuments are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Do not enter any mosque during prayer time. Remove your shoes in all mosques and temples.
Itinerary 2 also traverses through the old city of Ahmedabad. However unlike Itinerary 1, where one experiences the historic centre of the city, itinerary 2 traverses the periphery of the medieval city. In some places like, Khanpur and areas near Dhal ni Pol we can still see the imprint of the fort wall, the gates through which one entered the city and left still stand. In this itinerary we experience the areas that developed just around the walled city. This includes 62 ITINERARY II THE OLD CITY (PART 2)
ITINERARY II THE OLD CITY (PART 2) - Villa Sarabhai: Advance booking only, entry fees. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org - Calico Museum of Textiles: www.calicomuseum.com Advance booking only Closed Wed and Public Holidays. Entry free. - Gandhi Ashram (Sabarmati Ashram): www.gandhiashram.org.in Open 9am-6pm daily. Entry free.
villages such as Asarwa, Naroda, Sabarmati and Shahibaug which grew due to trade and commerce and supported major markets, connecting the agricultural hinterland to the production cycles within the city. Areas inside the wall like Raipur and Kheda show evolved examples of the Ahmedabadâ€™s residential architecture, (eg. Maganbhai ni Haveli) which refined itself over two centuries through a canonised craft based system of construction.
Walking through Dhal ni Pol one gets a sense of the consistency and variations of this system. The paths vary in scale, organically forming a seamless network of streets and squares. Institutions are structured into these networks and they centre not only the community but mark the response of the settlement pattern to the local topography. A temple is usually found at the higher point of the settlement. This itinerary includes some of the important
examples of modern architecture in the city such as the Sabarmati Ashram, set up by M.K. Gandhi, The Calico Museum, set up and run by the illustrious Sarabhai family and The Sarabhai House designed by Le Corbusier. This itinerary also covers contemporary examples of public infrastructure, like The BRTS Bus Stop, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project and the Vir Savarkar Sports Club.
1. BRTS Bus Stop Arya Architects 2012
Astodiya Chakla BRTS Bus Stop
Plan and elevation
Getting the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) to service the medieval city of Ahmedabad has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the project. With the second phase of its development these areas are now peripherally serviced. The building of the bus stop signals for inhabitants of many areas the coming of development. In the old city the bus stop follow the same core design as the typical building, with the material palette being 64 ITINERARY II THE OLD CITY (PART 2)
adjusted on the surface. The bare concrete walls are clad with sandstone that is reminiscent of the historical structures of these areas. The concrete roof is lined with timber. These are not the only variations of the bus stop design that one finds across the city. A steel variant is visible in the industrial areas where infrastructure lines pass under the building, and a vertical design can be seen connecting various levels of movement at select flyover stops.
2. Rani Sipriâ€™s Mosque and Roza 1500
Near Astodia Gate Cir, Khadia
This mosque was commission by Rani Sipri, the Hindu wife of the Sultan Mahmud Begada. One enters the complex from the south passing the ablution tank before climbing a high plinth, on which both the tomb and the mosque are placed. The mosque is structured by alternating narrow and large bays. The larger bays support six corbelled domes. These domes are constructed by stepping each course of masonry and do not use an
arching action. This trabeated system is also seen in the columnar structure of the tomb where the enclosure is achieved not by piers or walls but by densely carved screens set into a stone post beam structure. The stone screen filter lights into the tomb area. The tomb itself is placed under a raised dome which by then had become the hallmark of Gujarat Sultanate architecture.
Starting Point Riverfront Park
Usmanpura, Near Gandhi Bridge
ITINERARY III ASHRAM RD, LAW GARDEN & PALDI ITINERARY LEVEL: Medium (by foot & bicyle/car/auto rickshaw) DURATION: one day / 6-8 hours DISTANCE: 2 to 3.5 km (1.2 to 2.2 ml)
This itinerary covers buildings from the colonial period and those that have been important with respect to Indiaâ€™s independence movement. With the coming of the British, and the financial autonomy that they offered, Ahmedabad regained its prosperity. In the 19th century the city unexpectedly grew into the most prominent textile centre of the country. At the beginning of the 20th Century, M.K. Gandhi returned from South Africa 96 ITINERARY III ASHRAM ROAD & PALDI
PRACTCAL INFORMATION: - Mill Owners Associaton Building: www.atmaahd.wordpress.com Open 10am-4:30pm Mon-Fri, 10am2:30pm Sat. - Sansar Kendra (the City Museum): Open 10am-6pm Tue-Sun. Entry free.
to set up his base in the city. His ashram in Ahmedabad would become one of the major centres from which ideas and initiatives towards independence would be orchestrated. However many of the buildings covered in this itinerary are the institutions that were built during the optimistic and energetic period after the country gained independence. Charged with the Nehruvian zeal and ideas of modernisation, Ahmedabad
saw many of its enlightened business families leading the way in the process of institution building. These elite were responsible for opening up a small town to the modern world of ideas on education, science, arts, design and management by inviting renowned personalities from across the world. Visionaries and patrons like Kasturbhai Lalbhai, Ambalal Sarabhai and Chinubhai Chimanlal and their families were responsible for bringing such
luminaries as Madame Montessori, Le Corbusier, Alexander Calder, Louis Kahn, Buckminister Fuller, Christopher Alexander, Frei Otto, Charles and Ray Eames, in addition to the many nationally accomplished people who also participated and contributed to the city's institutional growth. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Ahmedabad Education Society (AES) also played a large role in this process. 97
1. Sabarmati Riverfront HCP Design Planning & Management 2005-Ongoing
Usmanpura, Near Gandhi Bridge
The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project that started in 2005, is tied to the noble idea of giving the river Sabarmati “back to the citizens of Ahmedabad”. The masterplan proposes three parks along the public water edge. This along with other green spaces such as flower garden, an urban forest, an amusement park and a series of open plaza’s and ghats are seen to form a network of urban spaces that reconnects the river and the city. These 98 ITINERARY III ASHRAM ROAD & PALDI
parks are serving at both the scale of the neighbourhood and that of the city as a whole. Of the parks proposed at Subhash Bridge, Usmanpura and Kanpur, have been completed and serves the inhabitants of Dudheshwar, Shahibaug and Usmanpura. The development is a mixture of graphically organized green interspersed with paved spaces that include play area for children and walking paths.
2. Reserve Bank of India HCP Design Planning & Management 1975
Usmanpura, Near Gandhi Bridge
The RBI Ahmedabad regional headquarters is designed by the architect Hasmukh C. Patel in 1975. This is one of the buildings that stands testimony to the unprecedented material exploration and advancements that were taking place in the cityâ€™s building industry at the time. The building is built entirely in high quality exposed concrete. Based on a podium and tower typology the building sits on the Sabarmati river and within the designated
commercial zone on Ashram Road. The podium is set back from the road creating a public scaled plaza. Underground parking has been accommodated below the plaza, which was not common at the time. A publicly scaled staircase connects the open plaza in front of the building to the terrace of the podium above. The tower block is oriented along the river. The service cores are expressed and articulate the overall massing of the building. 99
17. Sanskar Kendra Museum Le Corbusier 1954
Near Sardar Patel Bridge, Paldi
Plan and section
Sanskar Kendra is part of the family of museums that Le Corbusier developed based on his ideas of a â€˜Museum of Unlimited extensionâ€™, where the layout of a square building is articulated into a spiral format that can be extended over time. Other museums of this typology were built by the architect in Chandigarh and Tokyo. The building is articulated as a heavy exposed brick box, lifted up on pilotis (columns), which are made in raw concrete. The pro-
portions of this lower area, through which one enters, is such that one senses the weight of the heavy brick box above. Entering through this shaded area, the center of the building is lit by a courtyard in which a free form curvilinear water pool and a public ramp are composed. The pool reflects the light into the pilotis area while the ramp takes the visitor up into the galleries. The galleries are formed by intersecting cuboidal spaces that vary in scale.
114 ITINERARY III ASHRAM ROAD & PALDI
18. Tagore Hall B.V. Doshi (VSF & Mahindra Raj engineer) 1967-1971
Opposite Sanskar Kendra Museum, Paldi
This building originally sat on the Sabarmati River. The outer shell of the building is formed by a series of rigid frames in reinforced concrete folded plates. These plates are 17m high with a plate thickness of just 150mm. The horizontal plates span 33.5m with folds that are 2.4m deep. These plates vary in thickness from 150mm at the support to 100mm at the center of the span. Within this outer shell, the â€˜seating bowlâ€™ of the auditorium is inserted as an indepen-
dent structure. Designed to seat 700, the sculptural columns and cantilevers of this bowl articulate the lobby area. The integration of all details into a singular structural and architectural language which was novel at the time.This building was one of the most successful explorations by Mahindra Raj, in the use of a folded plate structure. Also reflecting on how keenly connected the architecture of the city was with the international design preoccupation of the time. 115
Starting Point Indian Institute of Management (IIMA), Heritage Campus
ITINERARY LEVEL: Medium (by car / bicyle) DURATION: one day / 6-8 hours DISTANCE: 5 to 10 km (3 to 6 ml)
ITINERARY IV UNIVERSITY AREA PRACTCAL INFORMATION: - CEPT Campus is open to all. www.cept.ac.in - The IIM Campus is open from 9am to 5pm Mon-Fri. Visitors to IIMA Campus require prior permission, please write to: email@example.com Foreigners must bring their passport and locals must show an ID. www.iimahd.ernet.in
Institution building in the city can be considered in two phases. The first was energised by the thrust of post independent Nehruvian nation building. A second wave of energetic development followed the Nav Gujarat Movement and the formation of the Gujarat State. During this time new institutions were formed after a decade of assessing the needs of the Indian economy, society and industry, in terms of the support it would need. It was during this time that Louis 124 ITINERARY IV UNIVERSITY AREA
Kahn, amongst many others, was invited to the city. Ahmedabad became one of the centres of the Indian Space Program (ISRO), institutions were established for agricultural, industrial and scientific research (ATIRA, PRL, EDI, Torrent RC). Architecture, Design and Management, received impetus (CEPT, NID & IIM), patronage and institutional support. A decade later environmental concerns would find their place in institutionalized form (CEE, Manav Sadhna, ESI).
The 1980â€™s, the decade prior to the liberalization of the Indian economy was an important time for modern architecture in Ahmedabad. During this period, the first generation of Indian architects were at the height of their prowess. B.V. Doshi would build Sangath, and Anant Raje continued to build the IIMA campus, adding the MDC and the Ravi Mathai Auditorium. The next generation of architects were beginning to break out of the shadow of Le Corbusier and
Kahn. HCP designed the EDI and Mandala Architects designed the CEE. Institutional design was still seen to be the most meaningful site of architectural exploration. The institutions mentioned above are contemporary with each other, they arose from a common parent language, but explored the characteristics of institutions in varying manners. This itinerary should be seen along with 3 and 5 to get a sense of architectural conversation taking place at the time. 125
1. Indian Institute of Management (IIMA), Heritage Campus Louis Kahn 1969-1974
IIMA Heritage Campus, Vastapur
Site Plan (1-Heritage Campus, 2- New Campus, 3- Gallery Underpass
In 1961, a group of visionary industrialists along with the Harvard business school collaborated to form a new school that would support the advancement of Indian industry with the development of specific professions that were the growing necessity of the time. In 1962, Louis Kahn was designing the capital complex of Bangladesh. He was approached by B.V. Doshi, on behalf of the the founders to design the 67 acre campus of what is now the Indian 126 ITINERARY IV UNIVERSITY AREA
Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Presently the part of the campus designed by Kahn is call the Heritage Campus. At the time, Louis Kahn had a critical view of the existing education system and the organisation that determined school buildings. His philosophical inquisitiveness led him to develop his own ideas for schools, where the classroom was no longer the centre of academic activity, it was merely the formal setting for the â€˜beginning of
The Louis Kahn Plaza
9 11 10
6 3 2
1. Louis Kahn Plaza 2. Administration & Library 3. Classrooms 4. Dormitories 5. Faculty Housing 6. Dining Hall 7. Ravi Mathai Auditorium 8. Management Development Centre 9. Staff Housing 10. Married Student's Housing 11. IIMA Faculty Housing extension
Site Plan Heritage Campus
learning’. This conceptual rethinking led to an institute in which education was collaborative and multi-disciplinary and took place both inside and outside the classroom. Kahn’s ideas resonated with the rethinking of traditional Indian education, which was already in process by the group of the ambitious industrial founders and this synergy led to one of the most sought after, influential and elite business schools in the world.
In Kahn’s architecture of the campus the academic functions are arranged formally around a large plaza that bears his name. The ‘C’ shaped ensemble has its two arms programmed with faculty offices and a classroom wing respectively. The library is placed at the head of the configuration. The student hostels are square planned modules arranged in a diagonal manner. Their particular form, though geometrical leaves seemingly residual spaces. 127
8a. Faculty of Architecture and Planning B.V. Doshi (VSF) 1966-1978
Kasturbhai Lalbhai Campus
The School of Architecture building was deigned by B.V. Doshi, and built from 1966-68. The bold 1963 curricular document for the school envisioned a shared place of learning with no doors, encouraging students to learn from each other as much as from their instructors. Doshi, set up a thick brick parallel wall system spanned by exposed concrete beams and slabs. This basic orthogonal armature is then modulated in the section to create
large work spaces filled with light. The ground plane is modulated using steps, platforms and the undulating mounds of the lawns to the north. The studios are double height in part to bring in north light and connect to other studios. The linear library block sits along a â€˜streetâ€™ that leads up to the administrative and faculty block which now also house some of the postgraduate programs.
146 ITINERARY IV UNIVERSITY AREA
8b. Faculties of Technology and Design B.V. Doshi (VSF) 1985-1993
Kasturbhai Lalbhai Campus
Plan (1- Faculty of Technology, 2- Faculty of Design)
Built in 1985, the SBST building continues Doshiâ€™s exploration with the parallel wall system, the moving ground level and the cascading studio section. Organised around a central internal court using the same vocabulary, this building suffers from the incompatibility of the programatic requirements for an engineering discipline, with a building language developed for studio rather than classroom learning. One of the less successful buildings on the campus,
Faculty of Design
this building with its entrance steps articulates a shared open space with the Faculty of Design building which was built a decade later. The controlled scale of this building, with it being sunk into the ground, works well with the upright stance of the Faculty of Design building. These moves and gestures by the architect often make us realise that the articulation of the open spaces between the buildings are given priority over the the internaly programmed requirements. 147
Starting Point Gandhi Labour Institute
Drive In Rd, Memnagar
ITINERARY V WEST AHMEDABAD ITINERARY LEVEL: Long (by car/auto rickshaw) DURATION: More than one day / 8-16 hours DISTANCE: 25 to 30 km (15 to 19 ml) PRACTICAL INFORMATION: · Shreyas Foundation (NGO) www.shreyasfoundation.in Shreyas Folk Museum: Open 15pm-17:30pm Tue-Sun. Entry fee. · Sarkhej Roza www.sarkhejroza.org
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s institution building continued as in the earlier two decades. Architecturally this period which extended to the early 90’s, saw a variety of approaches and a number of enquiries into the nature of institution. It seemed that a phase had emerged where architects were tentatively breaking away from the masters who had departed a decade or more earlier. The idea of finding an appropriate architecture for a modern 166 ITINERARY V WEST AHMEDABAD
Open everyday 11:00 am - 06:00 pm Entry fees. · Adalaj Stepwell (Rudabai ni Vav) Open everyday 10:00 am - 08:00 pm Entry free · Vechaar Utensils Museum and Vishalla restaurant www.vishalla.com The Museum is closed on Monday. For restaurant is recommended to book in advance.
India was still very much in the minds of architects. ‘Of Context and Modernity’ was still a prevalent duality up to 1991. However this exploration which had developed steadily was suddenly disrupted by the liberalisation of the Indian economy and the privatisation of many sectors, especially education. The idea of institution underwent a dramatic change. Very few institutions could rely on public patronage, and those that did found it difficult to keep
up with the modernised facilities available at private institutes. There was a new buzz around private enterprise. Anything public was looked at as inefficient. By the late 90â€™s architects were shifting their attention to private projects. A new generation of young, aggressive and ambitious architects emerged, who wanted to bring formal and material sophistication to what was earlier derided as â€˜commercial architectureâ€™. With patronage patterns shifting
to the private sector new typologies of buildings became the sites of architectural exploration. Individual residence, apartment and office blocks and the mall would be seem of the prominent typologies. With entering of international design, consultancy firms and the growing aspiration of clients, who now have exposure to the world of architectural design, has led to a shift from the inquiry about character of buildings to issues of identity and styling. 167
1. Gandhi Labour Institute B.V. Doshi (VSF) 1980-1984
Drive In Rd, Memnagar
B.V. Doshiâ€™s experimentation with vaulted spaces started as early as 1961, in his low cost ATIRA Housing, the ATIRA guest house and subsequent projects in which he continued to explore its character. The Gandhi Labour Institute draws directly from the success of the elements which he used for his own office, Sangath. However the institutional requirements, the geometry of the plan and the scale of the building did not lend itself easily to the linear
element, and its use here seems forced and mannerist.The play of platforms and the continuation of the ground is articulated into a formal entrance staircase leading up to the first floor where one enters. Like in Doshiâ€™s own office this is a building in which one descends. The interior route is a circuitous one. A large, straight flight of stairs takes one down into a gallery that defines the main court around which functions are placed in a cellular manner.
168 ITINERARY V WEST AHMEDABAD
2. Sangath (VÄ stu ShilpÄ Foundation) B.V. Doshi (VSF) 1979-1981
Ground floor plan
Near J.B Tower, Drive In Rd, Thaltej
This building is the office and foundation of the architect B.V. Doshi. Built in 1981, this seminal project is amongst his most articulate and mature works. The building consists of a system of parallel walls running north-south. The main studio is set into the ground for climatic reasons to keep a low profile. One enters the premises through a garden, carefully articulated by stepped platforms, water bodies and a varied patterned floor. The visual continuity
of the ground upto the springing line of the vaults, gives the building a sense of being subterranean. Water cascades through the channels between the vaults, alluding to an oasis in an arid region. The vaults are constructed of interlocking clay cones, lined with concrete by hand. The outer surface of the vault is covered with glazed white china mosaic to reflect heat.
12. Prathama Blood Centre Matharoo Associates 2000
Dr C.V. Raman Road, Vasna
Ground floor plan
This is a joint initiative between the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and a non profit charitable trust, the Advanced Transfusion Medical Research Foundation. The building is a brutalist concrete edifice. The outer skin is a sculptural wrap sitting on a pilotti of radiating fins. An undulating earth mound obscures the openness of the ground level from the outside giving the sense of a heavy opaque building. One enters into a four storey top lit atria which is
surprisingly transparent to the workings of the centre. The atria has an ominous interiority contrasting with the transfusion (for blood donor) areas which sit on a lily pond looking out at the lush garden. The upper levels satisfy the cold storage requirements and office spaces with the auditorium at the first floor. The raw concrete pivot gate at the entrance is a pre-cursor of the element based approach that would define Matharooâ€™s subsequent works.
182 ITINERARY V WEST AHMEDABAD
13. Vechaar Utensils Museum 1981
Vishala Village Restaurant, Vasna, Vishala
The Vechaar Utensil Museum was set up by the personal initiative of Surendra Patel in collaboration with the anthropologist Jyotindra Jain. Built three years after the Vishala restaurant, the initiative continued to promote an interest in the vernacular culture of the region. The museum itself is built in a vernacular manner, using mud and raw timber construction, with wattle and daub infills. The Museum consists of a long circambulato-
ry gallery around a rectangular court. The gallery opens into the court that displays the larger utensils and makes a place for visitors. The outer mud wall of the museum is articulated to display artifacts, both inside and outside the building. The building is sited on an orchard like space full of trees to complete the rural setting. This museum is to be extended to house a chair museum in the near future.
14. Sarkhej Roza Azam and Muazzam Khan 1451
Village of Makarba
Plan and section
The Sufi saint, Ahmed Ganj Baksh Khattu, born in Delhi in 1338 came to Gujarat to be in the proximity of a revered teacher in Anhilwad Patan. He commanded great respect himself, was a healer, teacher and the adviser to Sultan Ahmed Shah. It was Ganj Baksh Khattu who would lay the foundation stone of the city when the capital was moved from Patan. It is believed that the position of the city on the river Sabarmati was decided by him.
He lived at Sarkhej (located in the village of Makarba, 7 km south-west of Ahmedabad) which became a prominent place of Sufi culture. Originally the complex was spread over 72 acres surrounded on all sides by beautiful gardens and orchards. After his death a mausoleum was constructed in his honour by Mohammed Shah II, which was completed in 1451. It was Mohammed Begda in 16th century, who enjoyed the environs of Sarkhhej,
184 ITINERARY V WEST AHMEDABAD
Sarkhej Roza Old Masjid and Sarkhej Pond
digging the lake, lining it with stone steps and building his palace across from the tomb. He finally added his own tomb and the tomb of Rajabai his queen, on the water in front of the saints tomb. A gateway leads into the complex, one enters into a large court between the main buildings. A tall pavilion sits in front of Ganj Bakshâ€™s mausoleum; these two buildings are faced with white marble in parts, while the rest are made in unadorned sandstone.
The architecture of Sarkhej is credited to Azam Khan, whose tomb still stands at Vasna. The architecture is restrained and classical in its Islamic composition. The 2 palaces are placed across the lake diagonally from the tomb and mosque complex, a configuration that can also be seen in the complex at Mandu. The buildings have long been admired from Sir John Marshal to Le Corbusier, who famously compared it to the Acropolis of Athens. 185
FACTS FOR THE VISITOR Ahmedabad ( / ) is the 5th largest city in the country, and the largest in the state of Gujarat. Though the political and administrative capital of the state is Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad is very much the financial and business centre. It is also where the high court and the military cantonment are. The exponential growth of the two urban areas and the development of the 30 km. between them is fast resulting in the formation of a single metropolitan zone, much in keeping with the â€˜MegaCityâ€™ status that has been conferred on it by the government. Presently however the metropolitan area of Ahmedabad is spread across about 465 sq. km., with a population of just over seven and a quarter million inhabitants. The city has been Indiaâ€™s fastest growing urban area for about a decade.
The city of Ahmedabad is circular in its layout. Concentric ring roads around the city have marked its growth for the last 30 years. The old city of Ahmedabad is still its referential centre. Asarwa, Shahibaug, the Cantonment and the Airport lie to its north. The industrial areas of Saraspur, Rakhial, Odhav, Bapunagar and Gomtipur encircle it to the east, with the areas of Kankaria and Maninagar to the south. With the development of the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) the areas of Isanpur, Ghodasar and Vatva are fast absorbing migration to the city, extending the urban sprawl beyond Narol. These are the lesser visited areas of the city which consist of semi-formal and informal settlements, sitting amidst polluting industrial units, with minimal social infrastructure and growing health and environmental issues. 212
The city of Ahmedabad also exists in two parts, divided by the Sabarmati River: the old city and the working class industrial areas to the east and the post independent development of the University Area, Navrangpura, Ambawadi and Paldi to the west which now extend to the Sarkhej Gandhinagar Highway and beyond. There are seven bridges across the Sabarmati River within the municipal limits that connects the two parts of the city. Ashram Road and C.G. Road are the two main north and south arteries of the city. The area between and along them was originally considered as the main business and commercial area, a Central Business District (CBD) for Ahmedabad. This belt extends from Swami Vivekananda Bridge (originally Ellis Bridge) in the south to Gandhi Bridge to the north. However, with the building of the new Rishi Dadhichi Bridge commercial development has extended to the north concentrating areas like Usmanpura and Vadaj. With the development of newer areas like Memnagar, Vastrapur, Thalthej and Prahladnagar as alternative commercial and business zones, this belt has stagnated in its development. However, with the implementation of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development project and revised development guidelines this area is likely to be injected with renewed energy. The most visible development and growth of the city is to the west. The Sarkhej Gandhinagar (S.G) Highway which was built as a bypass is now one of the most active spines of the city. Lined by adhoc mixed use development that consists of commercial buildings, recreational clubs, malls, temples, schools, the High Court, hospitals and residential buildings, the highway has become the contemporary reference (landmark) for the city. A set of five roads running roughly east-west con-
nect S.G. Highway with University Road. The Drive in Road, Judges Bungalow Road, Satellite Road, 100 Feet Road and Vejalpur Road are driving the development of the city westward across the highway. Tentacles of development can be seen up to the villages of Bopal, Shilaj, Santej, Bhadaj and Lapkaman. This westward development was initially (2008) driven by the industrial impetus given to the town of Sanand with the allocation of approximately 1000 acres of land to the Tata Company to set up the Tata Nano (car) manufacturing plant. Subsequently the addition of two more ring roads and the development of transport infrastructure in the TOD model are fueling the city’s growth with speculative real estate development.
WHEN TO GO Ahmedabad has a hot, semi-arid climate with marginally less rain than required for a tropical savanna climate. There are three main seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Aside from the monsoon season, the climate is extremely dry. The weather is hot from March to June; the average summer maximum is 43 °C (109 °F), and the average minimum is 24 °C (75 °F). From November to February, the average maximum temperature is 30 °C (86 °F), the average minimum is 13 °C (55 °F), and the climate is extremely dry. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill in January. The southwest monsoon brings a humid climate from mid-June to mid-September. Architectural tourists are recommended to visit the city in winter and if possible, from November to February. These are good times to enjoy architectural walks, take pictures and make use of a full day of tourism.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY Air Ahmedabad has an airport, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (IATA: AMD), located in Hansol 9 km (5.6 mi) north of central Ahmedabad, for international (Terminal 2) and domestic (Terminal 1) transit. International flights are mostly directed through the Middle East, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. However, it is more common to arrive in the city from Mumbai or Delhi which have greater international connectivity. Both Mumbai and Delhi are amply connected to Ahmedabad by domestic flights. Flights from Mumbai can often cost under $50 for a 50min flight. From Delhi the flying time is about an hour and 45min and flights cost between $60 and $100. Ahmedabad is also well connected by air to other cities in the country by domestic carriers. It should be noted that that certain domestic carriers like Air-India, operate domestic flights from the international terminal, T-2 (Jet Airways and Vistara from the Domestic, T-1). Note the terminal carefully as moving from one terminal to the other can sometimes be time consuming especially at peak times. You should be aware that if you are planning to travel around the months April and May or during the festival of Diwali it is best to book your tickets well in advance as ticket prices skyrocket due to vacation time tourism. The easiest way to reach the airport is by private transport (car, taxis).
Train Train is the most economical way to travel in the country. Ahmedabad is well connected by train to every part of the country. However, traveling across the country from the east and south, though a recommended experience, requires time. Ahmedabad is well connected by multiple 213
Places to stay Like with restaurants there is no dearth of hotels, home stays and hostels for all budgets. However it should be noted that there are more and more quality home stays and hotels available in the old city of Ahmedabad, where traditional houses have been renovated and adapted for this use. In many cases accommodation includes homemade food. One might look out for accommodation on the Facebook page ‘Flat and Flatmates (Ahmedabad Chapter). This page is used a lot by students doing their internships in Ahmedabad for short periods of time. The House of MG (high range) Mangaldas Haveli II (medium range) The French Haveli (medium range) Hotel Good Night (low budget) Cosmopolitan (medium range) Armoise (medium range) Lemon Tree (high range) Park Plaza (high range) Radisson Blu (high range) Hyatt (high range)
Markets and shops Ahmedabad is known for its textiles and this is one of the thing worth shopping for in the city. The most famous textile shop is located in the old city near the Raja no Hajiro, called ‘Gamthi’. At the higher end of the spectrum ‘Bandhej’ deals in modern Indian and western clothing born out of a fusion of the traditional craft of the area and the burgeoning fashion design industry. Though the ‘Fabindia’ chain of stores have multiple outlets in the city, there are local brands like 'Keri' that deal in equivalent goods. The NID store 'Nidus' is worth visiting for uniquely designed items mostly by the institutes alumni. There is also the possibility of going to some of the newly constructed malls in the new developed areas of the city (Satellite, Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Hwy), but we have not found this to be the most interesting option if you want to get to know the city and its culture. However, these are very popular with the local public and may be worth visiting for curiosity’s sake. Alpha One Mall (located at Vastrapur Lake) is the big new establishment, with every possible international and local brand stores, a food court and a multiplex cinema. If you’re going to be in the city during a weekend, we recommend you go on Sunday to the Ellisbridge market, at the old city. It’s an informal market, an open space, operating all day. Manek Chowk, at the old city, and Law Garden market (Ellisbridge) are also good options to enjoy the local culture.
The House of MG, an urban heritage hotel at the heart of the Old City. 220
EXCURSIONS AROUND AHMEDABAD Bookshops and maps The most ubiquitous bookshops across the city are those of the chain ‘Crosswords’. Maps of the city, travel guides and popular books are available at all their outlets. The two largest selections are available at their Mithakali and S.G. Highway stores. Another Chain called ‘Landmark’ also has a good collection of popular reading. For those interested in Art and Architecture books, the tiny Art Book Centre, at Madalpur near Swami Vivekananda (Ellis) Bridge is a marvelous place to visit. The bookshop boasts of having rare publications from across the world. It supplies many architects and artists of the city with current publications from the world museum's and exhibitions. You’re going to enjoy the experience of buying or just taking a look at all kinds of quality books. They have the option to courrier you the books as well. Publications are also available for sale at CEPT University and at NID (National Institute of Design).
GANDHINAGAR The State of Gujarat was formed on 1st May 1960 and Gandhinagar was designed as its new Capital. The city was envisaged and remains to date as the legislative centre of the state, while Ahmedabad, approx 30 km. away is still the economic and cultural hub. Initially the city was to be designed by Louis Kahn, who by 1964 had accepted the commission on the persuasion of architect B.V. Doshi and industrialist Kasturbhai Lalbhai. However there was a strong sentiment that the design of the city should be anchored in ‘Gandhian principles’, and that it was inappropriate for it to be designed by a foreigner. The design of the legislative buildings, the Governors House and the High Court amongst other buildings were excluded from Kahn's scope of work. Kahn rejected these terms and the design was awarded to H.K. Mewada, an apprentice to Le Corbusier and a graduate of Cornell University. Mewada’s plan is greatly influenced by the grid of Chandigarh, and though it uses several common planning devices it has little of the formers character. The main buildings are ordinary ‘Modernist’ works with little that inspire.
FREE TIME The Ahmedabad ‘Drive-in Cinema’ is still operational and it is well worth an experience, especially if you are taking the plunge with a box office hit from Bollywood. Though this should really be done in a car, it is well worth the experience to sit in the stands and take in the peculiar world of Indian cinema and its audiences. Mornings and evenings are pleasant both at the Kankaria Lake and along the Sabarmati Riverfront.
With the northward growth of the city of Ahmedabad, there has been much development in the city of Gandhinagar as well. The two cities are gradually fusing into a single metropolitan area. There are now several institutions of note that are situated in the vicinity of the capital. IIT Gandhinagar and the new campus of NID are both here. However Gandhinagar is most famous for the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, which draws in thousands of visitors and devotees on a daily basis. 221
The architecture of Ahmedabad ranges from ancient to modern, from the Mughals to the last works of the contemporary Indian architects, including international masters like Le Corbusier and L. Kahn. With this useful guide, you will discover the city and its architecture through five routes, covering the old and the new city, as well as suggestions for other places that you can also visit on the outskirts of the city. Each itinerary offers practical information to enjoy the architecture, and visitors will be introduced to the culture and lifestyle of the city, along with practical facts for the touring visitor.
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Published on May 5, 2017
The architecture of Ahmedabad ranges from the ancient to the very modern, from the Mughals to the last works of the contemporary Indian arch...