Kem Cho Amdavadi?! *Does Garba*
Ahmedabad (also called Amdavad, Ahmadabad or Ahemdavad) is Gujarat’s major city and a startling metropolis with a long history, many remarkable buildings, a fascinating maze of an old quarter, excellent museums, fine restaurants and fabulous night markets. Yet the old-world charm is all but swamped by 21st-century traffic, crowding, pollution and the usual extremes of wealth and poverty. Many travellers stop off briefly en route to Rajasthan or Mumbai, sneaking in a visit to Sabarmati Ashram (Gandhi’s former headquarters). You need a little stamina to get to know the city better, as it’s quite spread out and moving around can be a bit of a task.
The old city lies on the east side of the Sabarmati River and used to be surrounded by a 10km-long wall, of which little now remains except 15 formidable gates standing as forlorn islands amid swirling, cacophonous traffic. The new city on the west side of the river, nearly all built in the last 50 years, has wider streets, several major universities, and many middle-class neighbourhoods.
Here are places you can head over at weekend
1. Ranthambore National Park
This famous national park is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. Comprising 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, at its centre is the 10th-century Ranthambhore Fort. Scattered around the fort are ancient temples and mosques, hunting pavilions, crocodile-filled lakes and vine-covered chhatris (burial tombs). The park was a Maharajas’ hunting ground until 1970, a curious 15 years after it had become a sanctuary.
A captivating town with narrow lanes of Brahmin-blue houses, lakes, hills, bazaars and a temple at every turn, Bundi is dominated by a fantastical palace of faded parchment cupolas and loggias rising from the hillside above the town. Though an increasingly popular traveller hang-out, Bundi attracts nothing like the tourist crowds of places such as Jaipur or Udaipur, nor are its streets choked with noisy, polluting vehicles or dense throngs of people. Few places in Rajasthan retain so much of the magical atmosphere of centuries past. It’s also the best place in the state to be for the Teej festival.
Dwarka literally feels like the end of the earth. This remote pilgrimage town at the extreme western tip of the Kathiawar peninsula is one of the four most holy Hindu sites in India – Krishna is said to have set up his capital here after fleeing from Mathura. It’s a well-organised town, busy with pilgrims and farmers. Men wear white clothes and red turbans, and both men and women are weighed down with gold nugget-like jewellery. It gets packed with pilgrims at festival times. Archaeological excavations have revealed five earlier cities lying just off the coast – submerged as the sea encroached.
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Credits: Lonely Planet