Ahmedabad is a city one must visit for several reasons. The city is full of color and full of life and there are several sightseeing locales which include forts, temples, and mosques. Then there is the lure of the gathiya, fafda and thepla that are some of the lip-smacking delights of Gujarati street food, which is almost irresistible.
Another reason for visiting Ahmedabad or rather any city of Gujarat is the state being famous for fabrics and handicrafts. One such place in Ahmedabad which offers you all of these is Manek Chowk which is the city square. This market goes through a fabulous transformation during the day where it serves as a vegetable market in the early morning, a jewelry market through the day and turns into a food street at night.
History of Manek Chowk
The word Manek translates to ruby in English and Manek Chowk has been named after Saint Maneknath. Legend has it that when Emperor Ahmad Shah I, who was the founder of Ahmedabad, wanted to build a new capital "Bhadra Fort" in 1411, he was interrupted by Maneknath. While the walls of the fort were being built, Baba Maneknath wove a mat during the day and unraveled it every night.
One day, the walls of the fort came crumbling down magically and Ahmad Shah believed that it was because of the saint. He coaxed Baba Maneknath into proving his powers by entering a small jar and when he did, Ahmad Shah closed the jar and buried it. In another version of the story, it is said that it was Baba Maneknath who had helped the emperor Ahmed Shah I in building the Bhadra Fort.
About Manek Chowk
It is the second-largest jewelry market in India and you can buy your gold and silver trinkets from here during the day. After 9.30 in the night, the place turns into a food paradise. Ahmedabad was designed and planned in such a way that this square was traditionally the city-center for trading precious metals and gems.
Some of the old jewelry shops of the city still exist in Manek Chowk. Though the city has taken into its stride modern day shopping avenues like malls and showrooms, Manek Chowk remains the center of Old Ahmedabad and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for shopping.
Food fiesta at Manek Chowk
As night falls, this market changes into a food market with stalls selling delicious street food of Gujarat and the best part is that you can have food here till as late as one in the night. Some of the food items people relish here are kulfi, bhaji pav, varieties of dosas and sandwiches like pineapple and ghoogra sandwich. Regular patrons to this place swear by the Jamun shots and Gwalior dosa that you get here. The market serves only vegetarian food.
If you love Pav Bhaji, you must try it at the Mahalaxmi Pavbhaji Centre and do not leave the place without sampling the chocolate sandwich. As weird it sounds it is quite a unique dish with hot chocolate between slices of bread. And if that doesn't satisfy your chocolate craving, try the chocolate pizza as well.
Your dinner at Manek Chowk would not be complete without you having kulfi at Asharfi Kulfiwala. It is believed that it was the first food stall to start here and when people started frequenting this market, more food stalls developed and Manek Chowk turned into what it is today.
Manek Chowk Ahmedabad Image Galley
Places to see near Manek Chowk
1. Jama Masjid: Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques of India and is very close to Manek Chowk. This mosque was built by Ahmad Shah in 1424 and houses the tombs of Ahmed Shah I, and his family. The masjid is known for its meshwork that illuminates it from inside with sunlight.
2. Badshah no Hajiro: Towards the west of Manek Chowk is Badshah no Hajiro which is the tomb of the male members of the royal family along with Ahmad Shah I, who was the founder of Ahmedabad. The entry of women in this tomb is restricted and even the men who enter are required to cover their heads. Across the road from here, you will find the tombs of several ministers.
3. Rani no Hajiro: Rani no Hajiro is the tomb of the female members of the royal family, and the road leading to it has now become a market for women's clothing, fabrics, jewelry, and accessories. This tomb is towards the east of Manek Chowk. Gujarat is famous for its traditional dance Garba and this market is the best place to buy traditional Garba attire. The shop of Gamthiwala is very famous for traditional Gujarati fabrics and prints. Tourists also shop for mouth fresheners or Mukhwas from the stalls in this market.
4. Mahurat Pol: Ahmedabad has several pol or housing clusters and Mahurat Pol was the first pol of the city. This pol was home to the Jain community around 1450 and there are two famous Jain temples here; Sheetalnath Jain temple and Dholeshwar Mahadev temple.
You can also visit Baba Maneknath Temple which is close to Manek Chowk.
How to reach Manek Chowk
Manek Chowk is at the center of Ahmedabad’s old town and can easily be reached by taxis and auto-rickshaws. You can also book a private cab from top car rental companies in Ahmedabad. The nearby railheads are Ahmedabad Junction and Gandhi gram Railway stations which are less than 10 minutes’ drive away.
Ahmedabad is well connected to all major cities through air and train systems and has international and domestic air connectivity to all major cities of India and the world.
Best time to visit Ahmedabad
If you are planning to visit Ahmedabad, November to February will be the perfect time to plan the vacation as the weather is sublime and perfect for sightseeing. It is very hot from March to May and you will not relish exploring a place like Manek Chowk. June to October is the rainy season here and is again a good time to visit the city.
To visit Manek Chowk and other such popular places to visit in Ahmedabad, we at Ahmedabad Tourism, a division of Holidays DNA have designed Ahmedabad Tour packages that are available at pocket friendly prices. You can fill the Contact Us form and we will get back to you to assist you in planning your holiday in the best possible manner.