What you need to know
Map of Ahmedabad- India
Ahmedabad is the largest city and former capital of Gujarat, which is a state in India. It is the administrative headquarters of the Ahmedabad district and the seat of the Gujarat High Court. With a population of more than 6.3 million and an extended population of 7.8 million, it is the sixth largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area of India. Ahmedabad is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, 30 km (19 mi) from the state capital Gandhinagar, which is its twin city.
Ahmedabad has emerged as an important economic and industrial hub in India. It is the second largest producer of cotton in India, and its stock exchange is the country’s second oldest. Cricket is a popular sport in Ahmedabad, which houses the 54,000-seat Sardar Patel Stadium. The effects of liberalisation of the Indian economy have energised the city’s economy towards tertiary sector activities such as commerce, communication and construction. Ahmedabad’s increasing population has resulted in an increase in the construction and housing industries resulting in recent development of skyscrapers.
In 2010, it was ranked third in Forbes’s list of fastest growing cities of the decade. In 2012, The Times of India chose Ahmedabad as India’s best city to live in. As of 2014, Ahmedabad’s estimated gross domestic product was $119 billion.
Ahmedabad has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
The estimated population of Ahmedabad in 2016 is over 7 million people in the city and approximately 8 million in the urban agglomeration. This makes Ahmedabad the fifth largest city in India and the seventh largest metropolitan area.
Gujarati is by far the most widely spoken language in Ahmedabad. Hindi, the most common language in India, is spoken to a lesser degree while English is not very commonly spoken, although tourist services always have someone on hand that knows the language.
The Indian rupee is the official currency of India. The lowest denomination is the 1 rupee, although more common are the 5, 10, 20 and 100 rupee notes. Larger denominations include 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
Ahmedabad lies at 23.03°N 72.58°E in western India at 53 metres (174 ft) above sea level on the banks of the Sabarmati river, in north-central Gujarat. It covers an area of 464 km2 (179 sq mi). The Sabarmati frequently dried up in the summer, leaving only a small stream of water, and the city is in a sandy and dry area. However with the execution of the Sabarmati River Front Project and Embankment, the waters from the Narmada river have been diverted to the Sabarmati to keep the river flowing throughout the year, thereby eliminating Ahmedabad’s water problems. The steady expansion of the Rann of Kutch threatened to increase desertification around the city area and much of the state; however, the Narmada Canal network is expected to alleviate this problem. Except for the small hills of Thaltej-Jodhpur Tekra, the city is almost flat. Three lakes lie within the city’s limits—Kankaria, Vastrapur and Chandola. Kankaria, in the neighbourhood of Maninagar, is an artificial lake developed by the Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, in 1451.
According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone 3, in a scale of 2 to 5 (in order of increasing vulnerability to earthquakes).
Ahmedabad is divided by the Sabarmati into two physically distinct eastern and western regions. The eastern bank of the river houses the old city, which includes the central town of Bhadra. This part of Ahmedabad is characterised by packed bazaars, the pol system of closely clustered buildings, and numerous places of worship. It houses the main railway station, the main post office, and some buildings of the Muzaffarid and British eras. The colonial period saw the expansion of the city to the western side of Sabarmati, facilitated by the construction of Ellis Bridge in 1875 and later the relatively modern Nehru Bridge. The western part of the city houses educational institutions, modern buildings, residential areas, shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts centred around roads such as Ashram Road, C. G. Road and Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway.
Ahmedabad has a hot, semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSh), 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. The average annual rainfall is about 800 millimetres (31 in), but infrequent heavy torrential rains cause local rivers to flood and it is not uncommon for droughts to occur when the monsoon does not extend as far west as usual. The highest temperature in the city was recorded on May 18 and 19, 2016 which was 50 °C (122 °F).
Following a heat wave in May 2010, reaching 46.8 °C (116.2 °F), which claimed hundreds of lives, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in partnership with an international coalition of health and academic groups and with support from the Climate & Development Knowledge Network developed the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan. Aimed at increasing awareness, sharing information and co-ordinating responses to reduce the health effects of heat on vulnerable populations, the action plan is the first comprehensive plan in Asia to address the threat of adverse heat on health. It also focuses on community participation, building public awareness of the risks of extreme heat, training medical and community workers to respond to and help prevent heat-related illnesses, and co-ordinating an interagency emergency response effort when heat waves hit.
Ahmedabad observes a wide range of festivals. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan, an annual kite-flying day on 14 and 15 January. Nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba, the most popular folk dance of Gujarat, at venues across the city. The festival of lights, Deepavali, is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, decorating the floors with rangoli, and the lighting of firecrackers. The annual Rath Yatra procession on the Ashadh-sud-bij date of the Hindu calendar at the Jagannath Temple and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are important events.
One of the most popular forms of meal in Ahmedabad is a typical Gujarati thali which was first served commercially by Chandvilas Hotel in 1900. It consists of roti (Chapati), dal, rice and shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes with curry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted papads. Beverages include buttermilk and tea; sweet dishes include laddoo, mango, and vedhmi. Dhoklas, theplas and dhebras are also very popular dishes in Ahmedabad.
There are many restaurants, which serve a wide array of Indian and international cuisines. Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city’s Jain and Hindu communities. The first all-vegetarian Pizza Hut in the world opened in Ahmedabad. KFC has a separate staff uniform for serving vegetarian items and prepares vegetarian food in a separate kitchen, as does McDonald’s. Ahmedabad has a quite a few restaurants serving typical Mughlai non-vegetarian food in older areas like Bhatiyar Gali, Kalupur and Jamalpur.
Manek Chowk is an open square near the centre of the city that functions as a vegetable market in the morning and a jewellery market in the afternoon. However, it is better known for its food stalls in the evening, which sell local street food. It is named after the Hindu saint Baba Maneknath. Parts of Ahmedabad are known for their folk art. The artisans of Rangeela pol make tie-dyed bandhinis, while the cobbler shops of Madhupura sell traditional mojdi (also known as mojri) footwear. Idols of Ganesha and other religious icons are made in huge numbers in the Gulbai Tekra area. The shops at the Law Garden sell mirror work handicraft.
Three main literary institutions were established in Ahmedabad for the promotion of Gujarati literature: Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarati Sahitya Parishad and Gujarat Sahitya Sabha. Saptak School of Music festival is held in the first week of the new year. This event was inaugurated by Ravi Shankar.
The Sanskar Kendra, one of the several buildings in Ahmedabad designed by Le Corbusier, is a city museum depicting its history, art, culture and architecture. The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial have permanent displays of photographs, documents and other articles relating to Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. The Calico Museum of Textiles has a large collection of Indian and international fabrics, garments and textiles. The Hazrat Pir Mohammad Shah Library has a collection of rare original manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Sindhi and Turkish. There is Vechaar Utensils Museum which has of stainless steel, glass, brass, copper, bronze, zinc and German silver tools.
Shreyas Foundation has four museums on the same campus. Shreyas Folk Museum (Lokayatan Museum) has art forms and artefacts from communities of Gujarat. Kalpana Mangaldas Children’s Museum has a collection of toys, puppets, dance and drama costumes, coins and a repository of recorded music from traditional shows from all over the world. Kahani houses photographs of fairs and festivals of Gujarat. Sangeeta Vadyakhand is a gallery of musical instruments from India and other countries.
L D Institute of Indology houses about 76,000 hand-written Jain manuscripts with 500 illustrated versions and 45,000 printed books, making it the largest collection of Jain scripts, Indian sculptures, terracottas, miniature paintings, cloth paintings, painted scrolls, bronzes, woodwork, Indian coins, textiles and decorative art, paintings of Rabindranath Tagore and art of Nepal and Tibet. N C Mehta Gallery of Miniature Paintings has a collection of ornate miniature paintings and manuscripts from all over India.
Ahmedabad is one of six operating divisions in the Western Railway zone. Railway lines connect the city to towns in Gujarat and major Indian cities. Ahmedabad railway station, locally known as Kalupur station is the main terminus with 11 others.
The mass-transit metro system, MEGA for the cities of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar is under construction since March 2015. The North-South and East-West corridors are expected to complete by 2019.
National Highway 8, linking Delhi to Mumbai, passes through Ahmedabad and connects it with Gandhinagar, Delhi and Mumbai. The National Highway 8C also links Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar. It is connected to Vadodara through National Expressway 1, a 94 km (58 mi) long expressway with two exits. This expressway is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project.
In 2001, Ahmedabad was ranked as the most polluted city in India, out of 85 cities, by the Central Pollution Control Board. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board gave auto rickshaw drivers an incentive of ₹10,000 to convert all 37,733 auto rickshaws in Ahmedabad to cleaner burning compressed natural gas to reduce pollution. As a result, in 2008, Ahmedabad was ranked as 50th most polluted city in India.
Janmarg is a bus rapid transit system in the city. It is operated by Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited, a subsidiary of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and others. It was inaugurated in October 2009. The network expanded to 89 kilometres (55 mi) by December 2015 with daily ridership of 1,32,000 passengers. The Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS), maintained by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, runs the public bus service in the city. At present, AMTS has more than 750 buses serving the city.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, 15 km (9.3 mi) from the city centre, provides domestic and international flights. It is the busiest airport in Gujarat and the eighth busiest in India with an average of 250 aircraft movements a day. The Dholera International Airport is proposed near Fedara. It will be the largest airport in India with a total area of 7,500 hectares.