Ahmedabad (or Amdavad) is the commercial hub of Gujarat. But the city also boasts of being a centre for educational tourism, a textile hub and a tourist destination. Among the places to visit in Ahmedabad city are magnificent mosques, tranquil temples and lovely lakes. This city has a mix of historical charm and modern lifestyle.
As an amalgam of art, culture and innovation, Ahmedabad has something for everyone. The Old City has carved monuments, grand gateways, historic forts, pols and Havelis as a reminiscence of the past. Lying on the other side of the timeless Sabarmati River is the modern part. It is characterised by wide roads and malls, in stark contrast to the crowded bazaars of old Ahmedabad. And the Nehru Bridge connects both the worlds.
Apart from Sabarmati Riverfront and the lanes of old Ahmedabad, the city has Sabarmati Ashram, Kankaria Lake and various types of museums. These include the museum for kites, utensils and also, vintage cars. With so many places to visit in Ahmedabad and nearby, all you need is to pick up the map and start planning your trip.
Here’s a list of top 15 places to visit in Ahmedabad, India
Sabarmati Ashram is a peaceful abode on the banks of Sabarmati River. As a place which witnessed the initiation of many freedom movements and where Mahatma Gandhi spent some of his notable years, this Ashram is a major landmark of Ahmedabad. It stands as a testimony to the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi during the pre-Independence era.
The ashram today serves mainly as a museum and is divided into different sections depicting different parts of Gandhiji’s life. The exhibition consists of paintings and photos highlighting various events. You can also see some of the letters exchanged between him and other prominent personalities of the time.
Along with the museum, the ashram complex houses a library, photo gallery and Hriday Kunj – Mahatma Gandhi’s cottage. It has been maintained well and exhibits many of his personal belongings, including the iconic spinning wheel. Sabarmati Ashram also has Vinobha Mira Kutir, Udyog Mandir and Upasana Mandir among other spots. The place is about 7 km from the railway station and the airport.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the life of Mahatma Gandhi, don’t forget to visit the library there. It has a vast collection of books related to his life and other events around freedom movements. The library also stocks various periodicals printed in English, Gujarati and Hindi.
The stunning Sabarmati Riverfront is one of the recent developments and also, among the must-see places to visit in Ahmedabad in the evening. You can get there any time during the day but evenings are the perfect – either for a walk or to sit there, looking at the landscape.
The government undertook the project to improve the environmental conditions, promote tourism and also ‘save’ the Sabarmati river. The construction consists of a two-level promenade on both banks. While the lower level is reserved only for pedestrians and cyclists, the upper level features parks, plazas and open areas for leisure activities and events.
Sabarmati Riverfront is over 10 km long and provides a spectacular view of the river and the life on either side. Apart from being a charming place to get rid of boredom and exhaustion, the riverfront also has ghats for boating on Sabarmati and other water-related activities.
Speed boats, motorboats, water sports, lush green gardens and plenty of food joints, all put Sabarmati Riverfront in the list of best places to visit in Ahmedabad for some fun. The whole area lights up in the evening and becomes livelier as the heat starts cooling. You can take a cab from any part of the city to reach there.
Earlier called Hauj-e-Kutub, Kankaria Lake is one of the top tourist spots in Ahmedabad. The toy train ride, balloon ride and various water-based activities make it popular among tourists, and also, a local favourite.
One of the striking and most beautiful features of Kankaria Lake is the garden – Nagina Wadi, constructed amidst water. You can reach it through the beautiful walkway that connects it to Kankaria Lake Waterfront. Apart from visiting the garden and indulging in water activities, the toy train ride is a must-try. It takes you around this large lake. Other than the different types of entertainment activities, the complex also has a zoo nearby.
Such a myriad of experiences in one place makes Kankaria Lake one of the recommended places to visit in Ahmedabad with friends and family alike. It’s only 3 km away from the railway station. And if you happen to be around in the last week of December, you can also be a part of the colourful carnival.
Stepwells used to be the only source of water in the old days. Whether people needed water for drinking or performing other household chores, they needed to get it from one of those. Therefore, people took special care of the stepwells.
Apart from being a life-saver during water crisis, Adalaj Stepwell (or Adalaj ni vav, in Gujarati) is also an impressive piece of architecture. It is situated about 20 km away from Ahmedabad and was built in the 15th century by order of queen Rudabai. It is a classic five-storey monument adorned with detailed carvings on the walls.
Adalaj ni vav has been built in the Indo-Islamic style. At various levels inside the monument, the graphics, symbolic of Islamic structures, blend seamlessly with different Hindu symbols. Apart from the religious icons, the artists also adorned the walls with figurines depicting day to day activities.
A visit to Adalaj Stepwell would be a memorable experience, especially for the history buffs, who can explore the architecture and enjoy the soothing drop in temperature inside. It served as a place of rest, back in the days and it’s comfortable to do so even today. Therefore, Adalaj Stepwell is one of the best places to visit in Ahmedabad in summer.
5. Jama Masjid
AThe Jama Masjid (also called Jumma Masjid) is a sacred mosque and one of the outstanding places to visit in Old City Ahmedabad. Built by Sultan Ahmed Shah, the founder of the city, this mosque stands firm upon 260 intricately carved pillars. Once there were two beautiful minarets near the main gateway, but they collapsed in an earthquake.
AThis tourist spot is at a distance of 2 km from the railway station.
Near the eastern entrance to the mosque, is the tomb of Sultan Ahmed Shah. This mausoleum has the graveyard of Ahmed Shah I. Two other rulers – Mohammed Shah and Qutub-ud-Din Ahmed Shah II are also buried there. They are the son and grandson of Ahmed Shah I, respectively. The tombs of his queens are across the main road, marked by Rani-no-Hajiro.
Jama Masjid follows the Indo-Islamic style of architecture and has been constructed primarily with yellow sandstone. There are three entrance gates, bringing you to a courtyard, one side of which is bordered by the main prayer hall. The courtyard has a small pond in the centre. The devotees use it for wudu (wazu, in Urdu) – the ritual of washing oneself before offering prayers.
The meshwork in the prayer hall is an architectural marvel in itself. It allows natural illumination in the room without the entry of direct sunlight. Apart from beautiful Islamic style decorations, you can see elaborate carvings on the walls, pillars and domes, symbolic to Hinduism as well as Jainism.
Remember to cover your head and remove your shoes before entering the prayer hall.
The Sidi Sayyed Mosque near Jama Masjid is another famous mosque in Ahmedabad, known for its elegant architecture. Sidi Sayyed built it in 1573 while serving in the army of Shams-ud-Din Muzaffar Shah III. It is constructed in Indo-Islamic style, using yellow sandstone and is renowned for its carved windows with stone latticework.
The work on the panels is so delicate that the place is popularly called Sidi Sayyed ni Jali locally. (Jali refers to the latticed windows here)
The most detailed of those carved windows displays tree foliage and its branches intertwining to form a mesh-like structure, which is a proof of the artistic skills available during those times. The beauty of this mosque attracts art lovers and history buffs alike. And you must not miss Sidi Sayyed Mosque if you’re looking for places to visit in Ahmedabad for photography.
7. Bhadra Fort
Another architectural marvel built during the reign of Sultan Ahmad Shah is the majestic Bhadra Fort. Spread over an area of about 43 acres, it comprises of a beautiful palace, a mosque, an open courtyard, 14 towers and a temple of Bhadrakali.
Legends also say that Goddess Lakshmi appeared and blessed the city to remain wealthy always. Thus, it’s believed that the fort contains hidden treasures.
Most of the construction inside the fort have been done with red coloured stones and bear the influence of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The fort served as the royal court. And the nearby royal square – Maidan-e-Shah, used to be the venue for games and other events related to the kingdom.
Mughals took it over in 1573 and developed it further. You can still get a glimpse of the Mughal architecture in the carved arches and decorated balconies. Peshwas and Gaekwads invaded it later, in 1583, to establish the Maratha Empire. The historical Teen Darwaza acted as the entrance to the fort in those days. Afterwards, British held Bhadra Fort from 1817 until the country's independence.
It has got a long historical timeline to explore, which makes this place one of the noteworthy sites to visit in Ahmedabad. It’s situated at a walking distance from Jama Masjid.
Situated amidst spacious and well-managed gardens, the Calico Museum is one of the oldest textile museums in the country. Founded by a businessman, Gautam Sarabhai, and run by the Sarabhai Foundation, this museum has an exclusive collection of textiles and fabric designs. It also consists of artefacts, handicrafts and paintings brought from different parts of the country.
The entire textile exhibition is spread across 12 rooms and is divided into two sections, one for royal and historic fabric and the other one has religious clothing.
The historic section exhibits textiles used in costumes, carpets and other items in use by the rulers and courtiers in between 15th and 19th century. The religious collection there, has crafts related to rituals, religious clothes and temple decoration, among others. Miniature paintings, bronze objects and antique furniture are also on display in Calico Museum.
Apart from being one of the prominent tourist places to visit in Ahmedabad near Sabarmati Ashram, this museum also attracts plenty of students and researchers. They visit the site not only to explore the history of textiles but also, appreciate and get into the details. The museum houses galleries giving information about various techniques and also, a library. Museum authorities organise workshops too, to help enthusiasts learn more about textiles, and in a better way.
ISKCON (short for International Society of Krishna Consciousness) is an international not-for-profit organisation. A. C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada formed it to spread the teachings of the Vedas and spirituality. And the ISKCON Temple in Ahmedabad serves the same purpose.
You will feel inner peace and happiness in heart from the moment you enter the temple complex. It is spread in an area of 4 acres, and the temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens, fountains and lawns. The architecture is a fusion of Gujarati Sompura and Rajasthani Khamira style. And the ceilings and walls are covered with murals that tell the story of Krishna.
You can also observe many different images of Radha and Krishna drawn on the ceilings. Marbled floors, designer columns and detailed art on marbles is a sight to behold.
This gorgeous temple, also known as Hare Krishna Mandir and Sri Radha Govind Dham is among the famous holy places in Ahmedabad as well as in Gujarat. Devotees can seek blessings from Radha-Krishna, Rama-Sita, Nitai-Gauri, Hanuman and Subhadraji, among others.
The ambience of the place attracts devotees and tourists from all over the world to spend a few hours worshipping or going through daily rituals. The large rooms here can accommodate around 4000 devotees. And this well-maintained temple also has a library, a meditation room and a restaurant where one can enjoy a range of vegetarian delicacies.
Don’t forget to be a part of the celebrations during Sri Krishna Janmashtami in August if you happen to be in Ahmedabad. It is about 8 km from the city centre.
Religion influences Ahmedabad profoundly and also, the flourishing tourism industry. And therefore, among the places to visit in Ahmedabad, many are beautifully constructed pilgrimage destinations. Akshardham Mandir too is one such point that you must not miss.
Noted for its awe-inspiring architecture, the temple is devoted to Lord Swaminarayan. And this sacred site is in Gandhinagar district, about 25 km away from Ahmedabad. It occupies a vast area of 23 acres, with a 100 feet high structure and halls supported by around 100 pillars. Adding to its magnificence, are the large domes and delicate artistic carvings on the stone. The well-kept spacious garden in the premises further contributes towards its beauty.
Apart from being a work of breathtaking architecture, Akshardham Mandir also acts as a place for education, enlightenment and entertainment. Along with the 7-foot tall idol of Lord Swaminarayan, the temple consists of over 200 other religious sculptures. You can also enjoy a range of shows there, including the light, sound and water show, and a short movie – Mystic India.
Do have proper attire while visiting this Hindu temple. Sleeveless and above-knee length dresses aren’t allowed.
Swaminarayan Mandir is another in the list of places of pilgrimage in Gujarat. It is dedicated to Lord Nar Narayan, who is worshipped by the Nar Narayan Dev Gadi section of Swaminarayan sect. It is the first temple of this religious group and therefore, is highly revered.
But apart from the religious significance, the temple is also known for its architectural grandeur. It is built using Burmese teak and painted with bright colours prevalent in Gujarati culture. Much of the designs in the interior as well as exterior, provides you with a glimpse into Gujarati and Rajasthani lifestyle. And the sculpted gateway is a combined result of Gujarati, Marathi, Rajasthani and British styling.
The garbhagriha of the temple has an image of Narayan Dev and an idol of Radhakrishna Dev. Other images there belong to Dharma Dev, Bhakti Mata and Harikrishna.
Next to the temple, there is a haveli, which used to be the residence of the Acharya. Now, it serves as a place of accommodation for the pilgrims and a venue for preaching sessions and various religious ceremonies. The Swaminarayan Mandir is also the place from where the 3-hour Ahmedabad heritage walk begins. Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad organises it, and you get to visit 20 historical sites of Ahmedabad during this walk.
12. Sarkhej Roza
Sarkhej Roza is a historic complex built around the artificial Sarkhej Lake. It is located in Makarba village, about 7 km from Ahmedabad.
The main attraction is the 105 feet high tomb of Sufi saint Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh, in the centre of the complex. He was the spiritual advisor of Ahmed Shah – Ahmedabad’s founder. Other structures in the premises include a small mosque, a palace and the tombs of Mahmud Shah Begada and his queen.
Spread across 34 acres, the architecture of Sarkhej Roza has a mix of Hindu and Islamic style. And the main mausoleum, of the saint, is the biggest Roza in Gujarat. Also, the mosque there has a spacious open courtyard and prayer halls. It stands on more than hundred finely carved pillars. Elegant latticework is also visible in the mosque.
The design of Sarkhej Roza has rough resemblance to that of Acropolis of Athens, and therefore, people also nicknamed it as the Acropolis of Ahmedabad.
Situated near the Swaminarayan Temple, Hutheesing Jain Temple is a two-storey structure dedicated to Lord Dharmnath. He was the 15th Jain Tirthankara – a spiritual leader. Built by a prosperous merchant Seth Hutheesing, the temple houses eleven deities. Constructed using white marble, it’s known for its architecture and it stands unwavering on the twelve eloquently adorned stone pillars.
Other than the temple, this peaceful complex has a tiled courtyard, lined by 52 shrines. These shrines are dedicated to different Tirthankaras, all beautifully designed and carved. The place is also called Hutheesing Jain Derasar, and it’s among the top places to visit in Ahmedabad.
The complex also has a 78-feet high magnificent Manastambha, inspired by the Kirtistambha at Chittore in Rajasthan. It was built in 2003 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira.
14. Kite Museum
Ahmedabad is a city rich in cultural heritage. And apart from a number of places of historical and religious importance, it has different types of museums too. One such place is the Kite Museum, known as Patang Museum locally.
It is located within the Sanskar Kendra, which itself is an encyclopaedia to know about art, culture and history of Ahmedabad. The Kite Museum is among the must-see places to visit in Ahmedabad for youth and children, to know everything about kites and their making. It started with a generous donation by Mr Bhanubhai Shah. He had a collection of kites for around fifty years which are now available on display in the museum along with many more.
The Museum has kites in varied shapes, sizes and colours, few of which are as old as seventy years. Besides the kites, you’ll also find many beautiful paintings and information about kite flying traditions around the world.
Kite flying is a popular activity in Ahmedabad and also in the whole of Gujarat. People take part in kite-flying competitions too. During the International Kite Festival, held in January, people from all over India and abroad gather with their kites. The colourful display in the sky is a sight worth beholding.
15. Manek Chowk
The Manek Chowk square is in a prime location in Old Ahmedabad and enjoys proximity with many historical places like Bhadra Fort, Teen Darwaza and Rani-no-Hajiro. It is known to be the second biggest market in India and one of the places to visit in Ahmedabad at night.
The market opens early in the morning with vendors selling vegetables at affordable rates. In the afternoon, it turns into a hub for jewellery and precious gems, and as night falls, the square becomes a bustling street food market. The stalls start setting up around 9 PM and stay until midnight. So, when you’re there, don’t forget to get your hands on some delicious street food of Gujarat.
The market is known for its pav bhaji, kulfi and other local cuisines. Sandwiches, dosas and Jamun shots are specialities popular among the locals which you must try. The Manek Chowk is one-stop place to satisfy your food cravings while having a relaxed and fun time after a tiring day wandering around the lanes of Ahmedabad.
How to reach Ahmedabad?
Ahmedabad is connected to major cities in India through a network of trains, buses and flights.
By Road – A network of National Highways connects Ahmedabad to other towns in the neighbourhood – Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Udaipur and others. You can drive your car or book private cabs from Delhi and Mumbai too.
By Rail – You can reach Ahmedabad from all corners of India, by train. The central railway station is at Kalupur, at a convenient distance from the popular places to visit in Ahmedabad.
By Air – The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, located about 9 km from the city, connects Ahmedabad to destinations around the world. You can get into Ahmedabad from Bangkok, Dubai and London among others. And it has flights from all the major airports of India including Delhi, Bangalore, Guwahati, Kolkata and Kochi.