Ahmedabad Heritage Walk – City Walking Tour

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Swaminarayan Temple at Kalupur, starting point of Ahmedabad Heritage Walk
Swaminarayan Temple at Kalupur, starting point of Ahmedabad Heritage Walk

Like Delhi and Hyderabad, Ahmedabad also has an old city at its core that still remains to an extent in a time warp. Visiting these old cores takes you back in time when these cities were born and from where their character emerged. These areas have a distinct identity that they exude. In Ahmedabad, it is the Pols of the old city that give the city its unique character – that of communities living independently and yet intertwined with others. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation conducts an Ahmedabad Heritage Walk every day in the old parts of the city. And since they have been doing it for many years now – they are the best at it. I had taken this walk about 10 years back. And repeated it again this year and thoroughly enjoyed it both times.

Ahmedabad Heritage Walk Experience

Fafda Jalebi snacks for breakfast
Fafda Jalebi breakfast

Walk starts at the Kalupur Swaminarayan temple, right in the middle of the city. You can reach here a bit before 8 AM. And enjoy the piping hot breakfast sold in the shops outside the temple. Do try the Fafda with Papaya Chutney and Jalebi. At the temple, a short heritage slide show is shown to you before you start walking and a brochure is given to follow the walk.

Sculpture of Poet Dalpat Rai, Ahmedabad Heritage Walk
Sculpture of Poet Dalpat Rai, Ahmedabad Heritage Walk

Poet Dalpat Rai

First stop is at the house of Poet Dalpat Rai – that is nothing but a façade with an open courtyard with a life-size statue of his. The guide explained the life and philosophy of the poet and how the courtyard keeps them alive.

Bird feeder in sparkling green colors
Bird feeder in sparkling green

Bird Feeders

Through the streets, we were shown the various bird feeders that vaguely resemble the trees that you cannot see anywhere in these congested lanes.

Carved Wooden Facades of Houses in Pols of Ahmedabad
Carved Wooden Facades of Houses in Pols of Ahmedabad

Old City of Ahmedabad is divided into Pols – or clusters that belong to a particular community. These communities may be based on caste, religion, profession or a combination of them all.

Ramji Mandir House

We visited Ramji Mandir House that is more than 450 years old and the extended joint family still continues to live here. The family temple is open to the public. You can admire the wooden structures that still hold the building together. Secret passages connect these Pols like a jig saw puzzle. And that is impossible for an outsider to decipher and comes handy in case of an attack. It made me think if attacks have always been an integral part of the city culture to an extent that it was accommodated even in the building designs just like it was done in royal palaces.

Ramji Mandir House enroute Ahmedabad Heritage Walk
Ramji Mandir House enroute Ahmedabad Heritage Walk

Ashtapadi Jain Temple

At Ashtapadi Jain temple, while we admired the typical Jain architecture the tour guide pointed us to the unique rain harvesting system that can preserve all the usable rainwater throughout the year. You would be amazed that this haphazard looking construction has lot of method in the madness. Rainwater is not just collected but stored in a way that it remains clean for use, free of any germs or infections with the use of lime and Copper piping. Sometimes I wonder why and where did we loose this commonly available wisdom of ancestors that had simple and locally available solutions for all needs.

More wooden carvings on the way, Ahmedabad Heritage Walk
More wooden carvings on the way, Ahmedabad Heritage Walk

Towards the end, the walk goes through bazaars as they are opening up for the day. There are interesting stories here too but I would rather leave them unsaid for you to enjoy when you are there. Through out the walk, we were encouraged to observe the wooden brackets for they have clues to many stories. Like the carvings tell you the influences from across the world that are carved into them and the size is often a mark of the status.

Jami Masjid during Ahmedabad Heritage Walk
Jami Masjid during Ahmedabad Heritage Walk

Jami Masjid

Walk ends at Jami Masjid – a building that is 200 years older than Taj Mahal. And is one of the biggest mosques in India.

Small boards explaining the various places through the walk route have been put by AMC. So even if you walk on your own you would be able to see read and understand the area.

A highly recommended walk in Ahmedabad…

Recommend you to read following travel blog on Places to visit in Gujarat.

  1. 6 Must see Museums in Ahmedabad.
  2. Legacy of a Queen – Rani Ki Vav.
  3. Historic Pavagadh Hill, Gujarat.
  4. Understanding the Architecture of Sun Temple Modhera.
  5. Satyagraha Ashram – Where the Mahatma was born.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Paramvir, Ahemdabad is documenting it quite well. In fact they have these small boards all over the streets of old city that allow to know about the heritage even if you walk around yourself.

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