Almost 4 months of a gruelling schedule and a chance to getaway for a couple of days, brought me to Ahmedabad in June 2019.
I had decided to travel by train this time as Ahmedabad is only a night away from Mumbai. Isn’t it amazing that you board the train, have a good night sleep & when you wake up in the morning, you are in your destination city?
My family roots are in Kutcch, a district in Gujarat but barring a visit couple of decades back, I haven’t been there and it is such a shame. Because Gujarat has a rich history and places which I would love to see & explore.
From my first visit to Vadodara & Ahmedabad, being the foodie I am, I vividly remember, the bhakarwadi, fulwadi & the spicy aloo subji & poori lunch we had in Ahmedabad ST depot canteen and of course the amazing sukhdi prasad of Mahudi!
Back to the present (or maybe the recent past), I boarded the train Thursday night & reached early Friday morning. I crossed the Mehmadabad junction & Manipur station – about which I had read in the Gujarati novels. The Leaning Tower of India (Jhulta Minara) are right next to Ahmedabad railway station. Since I was a bit tired after the train journey, I didn’t explore the place. On my way to the hotel, what amazed me was Nashta house peppered across the city! Side note: Travelling within the city is easy with Ola autos available & I checked the fare with the normal auto drivers (most don’t ply on meter) & there wasn’t much of a difference. Getting a public transport at night is a challenge though.
I had planned to go to the Auto Museum on the first day as it was the biggest attraction for me. I have a special love for Vintage Cars! First stop was Vishala for lunch. I had heard a lot about the food – but sadly they do not serve Thali for lunch, only for dinner so I had some Puri Shaak but no match to the one I had at the ST depot years ago :p
The ambience of Vishala is amazing though. It feels like you have entered another world & the surprise find was Vichar – Utensils museum – I really enjoyed looking at all the different types of utensils of yore – specially the opium “kharal” (mortar)
Next Stop – Auto Museum
One of the biggest personal collections of vintage cars, bikes, buggies and utility vehicles, Auto World is a delight for those who love wheels. Amongst the 300 plus menu of mechanical extravaganza, some noted ones stand out; the car that was used in the movie Gandhi and the first May Bach ever made. Visitors can also find rare and wonderful assemblage of vehicles including a Bentley, Lagonda, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Austin, Jaguar, Mercedes and Auburns. The 1923 Rolls 20 HP with a typical shooting brake-body by Barker is one of the most fascinating cars from the Rolls Royce cache. The museum has also found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for this amazing collection. Pranlal Bhogilal started the Auto World Museum in his private estate of 2200 acres, Dastan, in 1927, and earned the Guinness Book of World Record listing in 1987 as the owner of the world’s largest private garage. An enthusiast for many years, Bhogilal collected over 204 cars of which 105 are in Ahmedabad. He ensured that all cars were in running condition. Pranlal Bhogilal passed away in 2011 at the age of 73. It is said that in 2006, Ulrich Schmid-Maybach of the illustrious Maybach family flew down to Ahmedabad from Germany to convince Pranlal Bhogilal to sell him a 6-cylinder Maybach that was designed by his grandfather. Bhogilal refused to part with this treasure. (From Gujarat Tourism website)
The entrance of museum is just astounding with a garden, peacocks and squirrels running about and lush greenery. It also has a kids park and a restaurant. The museum also houses the statue of Pranlal Bhogilal. They also offer a ride in the vintage cars for a price.
I had a ball of a time ogling at the gorgeous vintage cars and bikes. The goat cart was absolutely adorable!
Next day started with going to the Hathisingh Kesarisingh Derasar (Jain Temple) – My dad had recommended. Co-incidentally my dad’s name is Kesarsinh :p The Kirti Stambh near the entrance is just magnificient!
Sidi Saiyyad Mosque is known for it’s lattice work windows and known as Sidi Saiyyad ni jaali. The latticework is also inspiration of the logo of IIM Ahmedabad. As I was trying to photograph the latticework, I was shooed away saying women are not allowed in mosques (why this discrimination, why?)
I was famished by then anyway & thinking what to do next – There came a rickshawala to my rescue asking me where did I needed to go – I told him take me where I can have a good breakfast *insert giggle emoji* He took me to the famous Chandravilas restaurant (God bless his soul), from where apparently Amitabh Bachchan also orders breakfast when he is in town. I ordered for a breakfast platter so that I could taste everything – Batata wada, Gota, Khaman, Jalebi & Fafda, washed down with hot milky tea! This was no less than Food for the Gods 😀
Sabarmati Ashram – Was one of the many residences of Mohandas Gandhi. It is built near the banks of Sabarmati river. It’s an opulent and a very charming place. It is interesting definitely as a huge part of Indian history. Lots of political meetings must have been conducted here!
Sarkhej Roza was a surprise find, not heard about it anywhere. It’s a mosque and tomb complex & you can’t wear footwear inside. It was afternoon and feet scalding hot – I couldn’t bear it much & rushed outside only to find that my shoes had become burning hot too! There is a Sarkhej Mahal as well & the backside view has a garden so I had a glimpse of the structure while cooling my feet & my shoes.
Usually when I am on my solo trips, I do not post on Social Media but this time I knew that I wouldn’t be able to post anything after I get back to the grind due to lack of time (Reason I have not been blogging for years now) Thanks to the photos posted, my sister in law came to know I was in Ahmedabad. They were also going to be in Ahmedabad for the weekend so had an impromptu meet planned & thanks to them I got to visit Manek Chowk, for food bingeing! The chocolate cheese sandwich was yuck but the Ghotala Dosa was super yummy (not at all healthy though)
Modhera Sun Temple – Situated 4-5 hours away from Ahmedabad, it is one of the most beautiful temple complex and an example of great architecture of ancient India. No worship is offered in the temple today & the complex is maintained by ASI. It is quite a peaceful place.
Adalaj Stepwell – Rudabai ni vav (vav being stepwell) also known as Adalaj ni vav (since it is in Adalaj) is another architecture marvel. Popular spot nowadays for pre wedding shoots, it is ruined by the pigeons (foul smelling)
Trimandir, Adalaj – All Gods in one place is the concept behind this beautiful complex. Similar complex is being built behind National Park, Mumbai
Creepiest place I have ever seen – A tea shop built over a graveyard! I felt creepy even while taking the pic – how do people manage to eat & drink here? No respect for the dead?
To wash off the creepiness – I went to Agashiye (literally on the terrace) a luxurious fine dine Gujarati Thali – Expensive but the food was worth it! It’s a beautiful hotel & houses a sort of museum of ancient textiles, etc. I would love to stay there overnight one day!
Ending the trip with a bang, what say? Did some shopping for lovely mukhwas in Manek chowk – Do try the keri ni gotli no mukhwas – It was the most amazing purchase. I did want to take home fulwadi – Das Khaman had the yummiest but only a little bit was left over. I also tried the khamni & it was simply mindblowing! I am sure places like Borivali / Kandivali would be stocking such yummy gujju snacks but now will have to wait for the lockdown to get over.
I could not visit many places which I had planned to – Kankariya, Calico Textile Mills, etc. but it is just an excuse to go there again & again!
Today is Gujarat Day too & I wish a Happy Gujarat day to all Gujjus! #JaiJaiGarviGujarat
PS: Though I have written Ahmedabad throughout my post – we rather call it Amdavad. Ahmedabad is a city but Amdavad is an emotion!