Ahmedabad Impressions


Just before the flight touched down in Ahmedabad, captain Manmohan Singh (yes, that was the flight captain’s name) announced over the speakers that the weather outside was 20 degree Celsius (at 11:30 at night). I was expecting something in the range of 12 degree since it was December and this part of India is supposed to be colder. But I don’t like cold weather so the announcement was a pleasant surprise especially that coming from a person with the name Manmohan Singh.

This was my first visit to Gujarat so everything I saw goes as ‘first impression’. Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is a much smaller airport when compared to the one in Bangalore. I’m not sure whether it is big enough for a city aspiring to be one of the best cities in India.

The roads in Ahmedabad are wide in most areas but in the main city roads, the middle two lanes are barricaded and dedicated for the BRT service.  Though the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is reported as a great success, not all are happy as it has made the other lanes far too narrow and caused traffic congestion.

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I didn’t see many tall buildings in the city because ‘flat’ accommodation style has only started recently, but instead of flats, they have ‘housing society’. A society is a group of houses, typically two storied, in similar style and painting within a compound wall.

Quite strangely there weren’t many banners and posters of Narendra Modi and absolutely no giant cutouts with milk pouring from the top, despite milk being cheap – I think that happens only in Tamil Nadu.

But the most important impressions were, that the2002 riot is not a big deal for many local people, that all the talk about ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ are just media hype and smart marketing by Modi, that Gujjus aren’t that bad – in fact they are sweet people and they eat a lot of sweet; sweet breakfast, sweet lunch and sweet dinner, even their pickle is sweet.

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Something I didn’t like: Though I didn’t see many people smoking cigarette on the roadside, I saw people smoking and spitting tobacco inside inter-city bus. First I mistook the cigarette smoke for mist and I was thrilled to see ‘mist’ inside the bus and then a hand holding a cigarette sneaked out of a blanket, tapped the ash off the stub and coiled back into the blanket.

Other interesting things I saw in Gujarat:

The Royal Enfield rikshaw known as Chakda. The Chakda is a Royal Enfield with diesel engine, some sort of shaft drive and it is a passenger vehicle.

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The Kankrej cattle is one of Gujarat’s own cattle breeds and they are found everywhere on the roads across the State and the striking feature is they have got big horns.

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The Jains in Ahmedabad have a good habit of feeding birds everyday. In their house compound wall they keep a pot of water and grains for the birds and you get to see a wide variety of birds hanging around.

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Roadside saloons:

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Places you shouldn’t miss to visit in Ahmedabad:

Of course, the first one to visit should be Sabarmati Ashram or Gandhi Ashram. It has that aura of history everywhere.

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Hridaya Kunj – Gandhi’s house inside the Ashram

The latest developments in the city is concentrated around the banks of the river Sabarmati. Modi’s plan is to transform the waterfront stretch of approximately 10.4 km into a thriving residential, commercial and recreational haven.

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There are a couple more places to visit in Ahmedabad. The Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar is a major tourist attraction. The design of the temple is somewhat similar to the one in the same name in New Delhi. But photography or use of any electronic items is banned inside the temple complex.

Adalaj Stepwell in the village of Adalaj, close to Ahmedabad, is a must visit place. I will do a seperate post on it soon. Great place for photography.

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About Joshi Mukard (81 Articles)
The author is a wandering soul with no place to call his home town. He was born in Kerala, brought up in several parts of Tamil Nadu, and currently living in Bangalore, shifting his base across the city on a yearly basis with fellow (unfortunate) wanderers, his wife (Libena) and little daughter (Tanaya). Despite all these, the author is a happy soul with no complaints on anything. He wakes up in the morning and sleeps at night and in-between he ducks, stumbles and dances through this world.

12 Comments on Ahmedabad Impressions

  1. Seems Ahmedabad has some lovely spots, there are plenty of eating dhabas in law garden, the thali served hot is highlight, even some dishes are sweet. Overall there has been marked improvement in the city but not as rapid. Good coverage of the city

    • Joshi Mukard // January 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm // Reply

      Yes, they do have some great spots. I liked the food, but a little too sweet for me, hahaha. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I like the one with the bird, with the wall in the foreground giving it a dimensional effect. Lovely!

  3. We spent 4 months in Ahmedabad at the beginning of 2013. During our travels we discovered much that the roads and electricity access so much better in Ahmedabad. The people we came in contact with were all very much pro-Modi. I wrote several posts on him and lots on Ahmedabad if you are interested..

    • Joshi Mukard // January 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm // Reply

      Yes, even Muslims like Modi. I wish I had mentioned that point in the post. Will read them.

      • Mr. Modi is very controversial, for sure. He is charismatic, and eloquent speaker and full of ideas and the strength to make things happen. The communal violence makes me ill. Only God knows what part he played in that…I am thinking frozen with fear. He is very smart and if he gets the PM job, he knows the world is watching and he must be the PM for all of India. I think so many poor Indian people are and will be inspired that he is a real Indian, born, bread, educated…not from England or USA. I love incredible India and pray as she begins her auspicious entrance into the world that all Indian people are blessed. I am always thrilled when India people think I have gotten something right in my tales about India!
        Have you gone to the Wagah Border closing near Amritsar? So very cool!

  4. Mr. Modi is very controversial, it seems. I am appalled at the 2002 riots and not sure how complacent he was in that situation. He had only recently become the CM and I think he could have been frozen with indecision. I do think that is a talented politician and would know he had to be the national PM. I think that his personal story of rags to riches would be so encouraging to many of the poor. No doubt he is a charismatic speaker (after Dr. Singh) and would be a strong leader. I adore incredible India and pray for her safety and success in the near future. For all Indian people!

  5. Do you mind if I ask where you are from? I love having friends from all over the world!

    • Joshi Mukard // January 13, 2014 at 4:55 am // Reply

      Modi is definitely controversial, but as you told he is charismatic and has the strength to make things happen and India needs someone like that at this point. Many Indians, especially south Indians, fear that if he becomes PM there may be communal violence but I think he will be a ‘mellowed’ man as a PM.

      I’m a Keralite settled in Bangalore, and would love to be your friend. I work in an IT firm and also trying to find my feet as a photographer. I’m not a very frequent traveler though. And, no, I haven’t visited Wagah Border yet.

      • The third party candidate….Aarivd, I think is his name….is he a serious candidate? His platform anti-corruption is great but is he ready to rule? He was hesitant to take the CM for Delhi, I think….I really think India needs a strong , charismatic leader. It would be good for Modi to have someone nipping at this heals to keep him on the straight and narrow. I wish I was going to be there during the elections!

      • Joshi Mukard // January 13, 2014 at 6:01 am //

        Aravind Kejrival is not yet a national leader (politically) since his party only has hold over Delhi, but he has the potential to be a future PM. I heard he’s has started his CM role with positive reviews. Elections this time is going to be very exciting.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Adalaj Stepwell – a must see place if you are visiting Ahmedabad | TOMATO blog
  2. Adalaj Stepwell – a must see place if you are visiting Ahmedabad | Travelling Tomato Man

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