Around the 11th century, archaeological evidences state the existence of Ahmedabad by the name of Ashaval. Karandev I, the Solanki ruler of Anhilwara waged a war against the then Bhil king of Ashaval and established a city called Karnavati on the banks of river Sabarmati.
Gujarat was taken over by the Vaghela dynasty in the 13th century. It was soon seized by the Delhi sultanate in the 14th century. Soon during the early 15th century Muzaffar Shah I crowned himself the sultan of Gujarat after he detached himself from the Delhi sultanate. He founded the Muzaffarid dynasty which went on to rule till the Marathas came in during 1758. Ahmedabad derived its present name from Muzaffar Shah's grandson Ahmed Shah who ruled from 1411 AD. It went through a series of occupation by the Mughals and then back to the Muzzafarids till emperor Akbar set foot in 1573.
During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the Empire's thriving centres of trade, mainly in textiles, which were exported as far as Europe. The Mughal ruler Shahjahan spent the prime of his life in the city, sponsoring the construction of the MotiShahiMahal in Shahibaug.
The Mughals surrendered the city to the Marathas in 1758. The British East India Company took over the city in 1818 during the Third Anglo-Maratha War. A major development took place in the year 1864, when railway line was laid that connected Ahmedabad with Bombay. These developments brought Ahmedabad on the map of leading centers of trade and manufacturing.
The Independence struggle and movements had seen a strong centre in Ahmedabad with the presence of Mahatma Gandhi who established the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Sabarmati Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917. It witnessed many protests like the Dandi salt march and the Quit India movement until India got its Independence in 1947.
During the 1960s a large number of educational and research institutions were founded in the city, making it a center of higher education, science and technology.
Ahmedabad has now flourished into a thriving city with strengthened infrastructure and economy and lived past the many trials and tribulations in the form of riots and natural calamities.
Ahmedabad lies in the state of Gujarat at an elevation of 174 ft above sea level. It is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River. The Kankaria lake and the Vastrapur lake are the two manmade lakes within the city limits. Its longitude and latitude are 720Âº 41' E and 230Âº 1' N respectively.
By Air - The Sardar Vallabhai Patel Airport is just 10 kms from downtown Ellis Bridge/Ashram Road area. It functions for both domestic and international purposes. Direct Air India and Indian Airlines flights go to the Gulf and to other destinations through intermediate stations. Domestic flights on Air India, Indian Airlines/Alliance Air, Jet Airways and Gujarat Airways will take you to Delhi Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Jaipur and several other destinations within the country.
By Rail - Ahmedabad has a well maintained railway network connected to important destinations of the country. Ahmedabad railway station is the largest railway station in the state of Gujarat. Various express and super fast trains are available between Ahmedabad and important cities of the country.
By Road - Ahmedabad has a good network of roads also. National highways connect cities like Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Mumbai. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) runs express and luxury deluxe buses to the neighboring towns and cities. One can reach the city by taxi from nearby cities.
Ahmedabad has a hot, semi arid climate which is mostly dry throughout the year. The temperatures peak to 45 degrees Celsius in the summer months from March to June. The monsoons bring in relief from July to September with an average annual rainfall of 800 mm. The winters span from October to February bringing in mild chills with temperatures dipping to 10 degree Celsius.
Ahmedabad is a thriving city with its infrastructure matching upto many of the metropolitan cities. Ahmedabad is endowed with abundant supply of natural resources like minerals, forests and rivers. The principal mineral resource in the city includes crude oil. The river Sabarmati is the main water resource for the people of Ahmedabad. It provides drinking water to the entire city. There are two lakes present within the city's limits - Kankaria Lake and Vastrapur Lake. Kankaria Lake, in the neighborhood of Maninagar, is an artificial lake developed by the Sultan of Delhi. The city's forest cover is decreasing day by day due to rapid industrialization.
Ahmedabad city is an administrative headquarters of Ahmedabad district, administered by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The city's suburban areas are administered by the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA). Electricity in the city is generated and distributed by Torrent Power Limited, owned and operated by the Ahmedabad Electricity Company, which was previously a state-run corporation. Ahmedabad is one of the few cities in India, where the power sector is privatised. The Sardar Sarovar Project of dams and canals has improved the supply of potable water and electricity for the city.
The city is equipped with health facilities both private and government aided. Ahmedabad hosts many prestigious educational institutions like the Indian Institute of Management, the National Institute of Design, CEPT etc.
Ahmedabad was once a fortified city. It has now grown beyond the old gates and walls. The city is divided by the Sabarmati River 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 with the Bhadra fort. This part of Ahmedabad is characterized by packed bazaars, the pol system of close clustered buildings, and numerous places of worship. 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 modern Nehru Bridge. The western part of the city houses educational institutions, modern buildings, residential areas, shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts.
Monuments and structures of the Indo-Saracenic style can be still found in Ahmedabad. The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is one such example. Many Havelis from this era have unique carvings and can be seen in the ancient pols of Ahmedabad. When the city stepped into the modern era it was honored with many world renowned architects like Louis Kahn, F.L.Wright, B.V Doshi and Le Corbusier who were commissioned to design many of the buildings like IIM, Calico Mills, Gandhi Ashram etc.
The Gujarati culture is a vibrant and active one. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan, an annual kite-flying day on 14 January. The nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba which is the folk dance of Gujarat at venues across the city. The festival of lights, Deepavali, is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, the decorating the floors with the 'Rangoli' and the bursting of firecrackers. Other festivals such as Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudi Padwa, Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas are celebrated with enthusiasm. The annual Rath Yatra procession on the Ashadh-sud-bij date of the Hindu calendar and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are integral parts of the city's culture.
The people of Ahmedabad enjoy rich culinary traditions. The most popular form of their meal is a typical Gujarati thali (meal) consisting of rotli, dal, rice and Shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes with curry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted Papadums. Popular beverages include buttermilk and tea; sweet dishes include laddoos and mango.
The major religions followed by the people are Hinduism, Jainism and Islam. The city is also home to a substantial population of Parsis. The traditional Gujarati dresses for women consist of the lehenga choli or the ghagra choli. These are colorfully embroidered and complemented by bare-backed blouses extending to the waist. Ghagras or lehengas are gathered ankle-length skirts that are fastened at the waist. The entire outfit is completed by a veil cloth called Odhni or dupatta which is thrown across the neck or over the head. Gujarati men usually attire themselves in dhoti, long or short coat and turban cap. The urban population, however, has progressed towards contemporary forms and sports the latest in fashion.
The kite festival of Ahmedabad is sight to behold. The festival marks the days in the Hindu calendar when winter begins turning to summer, known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan. Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown, and the main competition is to battle nearby kite-flyers to cut their strings and bring down their kites. Since 1989, the city of Ahmedabad has hosted the International Kite Festival as part of the official celebration of Uttarayan, bringing master kite makers and flyers from all over the world to demonstrate their unique creations and wow the crowds with highly unusual kites.
Navratri celebrations are another striking feature. The place erupts into a nine-night dance festival, perhaps the longest in the world. The dance form called Garba is followed where people dance around in circles uniformly to beats in the traditional steps.
The Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad is a site which is prominent in Indian history. It was the center of Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent struggle for India's independence. The ashram is located on the banks of river Sabarmati and was established in 1917.
The Adalaj stepped well is a much visited architectural attraction of Ahmedabad. Built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai, wife of the Vaghela chief, Veersinh, this five-storey stepwell was not just a cultural and utilitarian space, but also a spiritual refuge. It is believed that villagers would come every day in the morning to fill water, offer prayers to the deities carved into the walls and interact with each other in the cool shade of the 'Vav' (well). Another remarkable feature of this step well is that out of the many stepwells in Gujarat, it is the only one with three entrance stairs.