When I hear about Ahmedabad myriad of things come to my mind like colorful clothes, Garba dancers, all those Gujarati delicacies and the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi . It is the capital of Gujarat & one of the important economic and industrial hub in India. It is here where Sabarmati or Gandhi Ashram is located where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for twelve years with his wife. The Gujrati food consisting of mouth watering Dhoklas, Phafda, Handvo, Kachoris and many more things are worth trying.
A few months ago I had been to Ahmedabad for some official work. Fortunately I had some free time and decided to go around the city. There is a heritage walk organized by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in association with CRUTA Foundation, an NGO. They take tourists along the streets where one observes the nature of its rich and varied architecture, its culture and traditions. At that time I had not been knowing about the walk and so I independently explored the city.
The first place I visited was Sabarmati Ashram (also called as Gandhi Ashram). I had been reading about it in my history books throughout my childhood. It was from here where Mahatma Gandhi led the Dandi march. British officials had introduced taxation on salt declaring sea salt reclamation activities by local people as illegal. It was then Dandi march started from Sabarmati Ashram as an act of nonviolence civil disobedience movement. It was a 24 day march against salt taxation and protest against British salt monopoly.
Museum at Sabarmati ashram
The ashram is located on the beautiful bank of Sabarmati river. Now the ashram has a museum, the room where Gandhiji resided (Hridaya Kunj), cottage of Vinoba Bhave where Miraben who was a disciple of Gandhi stayed there later, a room where Gandhiji used to receive his guests, an open air prayer ground and the cottage of Maganlal Gandhi who was a cousin of Mahatma Gandhi.
The ashram has a collection of old photographs, letters, newspapers printed during the Indian independence movement. It also manifests Gandhiji’s belongings, the charkha used by him to spin Khadi. It was a delight to see the antics, old photographs and newspapers published during Indian Independence Movement. It felt as if I was living the past. The place is serene with the quiet and beautiful Sabarmati river by the side.
Democracy and non-cooperation as explained by Mahatma Gandhi-
A few of the encouraging and touching words by Gandhi-
One very interesting and surprising thing I observed here was the flock of parrots hanging upside down on the huge tall walls of the ashram facing the Sabarmati river. I have never seen parrots together in such a huge number and that too some hanging upside down and others holding onto the vertical wall. As I tried to photograph them they flew settling on the wall some distance away from where I was standing. I somehow managed to capture two parrots with my phone camera. There were a few other birds that I had never seen before. The moment was thrilling! If you happen to visit Sabarmati ashram do not forget to look down the boundary. You will be amazed !
From Sabarmati ashram , I heeded to Akshardham, Gandhinagar. Akshardham complex is spread over 23 acre land having a magnificent and beautiful temple at the center. It was built from 6000 MT of pink sandstone from Rajasthan. The temple belongs to the Swaminarayan followers. The temple is alluring and worth a visit. The sad part is photography is not allowed. One has to handover one’s phone,camera & other belongings at the gate. There are a few photographers inside the complex. They charge quite high to click photographs of visitors in front of the temple at the gate. Beyond this photography is strictly prohibited. There is a canteen in the complex. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. Gujarati thali is a must try.
After lunch at Akshardham, I heeded to Adalaj ni nav, the stepwell close to Ahmedabad and in the Gandhinagar district. It was built by King Mahmud Begada for Queen Rudrabai, who he wished to marry. Queen Rudrabai was wife of Veersinh. The stepwell is a beautiful architectural piece and the story behind it is fascinating and thus it deserves a separate blog article. Next article will be on Adalaj Ni Nav.
Transportation- To reach the above mentioned places, I used Uber app. Uber cab rates in Ahmedabad are cheap and service is reliable. The places are not very far from each other. There are ample of buses from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar.