A sprawling city in the Gujarat province of India, Ahmedabad has a long and colourful history. Founded in the 11th century as Karnavati by King Karandev, it was renamed Ahmedabad after the conquering Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411. The city was a cradle of the non-violent Indian resistance movement and is today a bustling industrial metropolis and the sixth-largest city in India.
Gandhi Ashram © Hardik Jadeja
Often ignored by tourists, Ahmedabad is home to a number of striking historical and religious sites, including the Sidi Sayed Mosque, Bhadra Fort, Juma Masjid, and the Akshardham Temple. Other places of interest include the Kamla Nehru Zoo, the musical fountain show at Kankaria Lake, and the markets at the Law Garden.
Ahmedabad is best known, however, as the home of the Gandhi Ashram. Founded in 1915 as the Satyagraha Ashram by Mahatma Gandhi, it was an important base for the non-violent resistance; it was from here that Gandhi started the famous Dandi March to protest the British Salt Tax in 1930. Today tourists can see many of his teachings, and visit the handicrafts centre, paper factory, and spinning wheel factory on the site.
Ahmedabad has a reputation for its textiles, and travellers willing to bargain can find exquisite embroidered and tie-dyed clothes at the city's main market at Thron Darwaja (although it is generally advised to go with a local guide).
The food in Ahmedabad is excellent, with small restaurants and cafés on nearly every corner. Most cuisine is vegetarian, although chain restaurants are more likely to serve meat. Travellers should note that Gujarat is a dry province, although non-Indians can purchase an alcohol permit from any hotel liquor shop.