After visiting the temples, we came back at the hotel to have our lunch and to take some rest. While spending time at our room, we were going through all the photographs that we have clicked so far and were pulling each other’s leg. This time with friends is a gem, and I cherish being in their company. After all, when the like minds go together, every moment of life turns into a memorable one.
Well, after witnessing all the architectural buildings, we now wanted to visit some natural site. And we found Kankaria Lake of Ahmedabad to be the right choice for the evening. The best part of our stay at the hotel was that it was close to all the major tourist’s destinations, and Kankaria Lake was also at a close distance. Kankaria Lake is polygonal lake that is spread to about a mile in circumference. The lake was constructed in the year 1451 by Sultan Qutb-ud-Din.
Located in the centre of the lake is a beautiful island-garden along with a summer palace - Nagina Wadi. The lake was no less than a recreational centre and was encircled by parks, a boat club, a history museum, and a zoo. Owing to this, a large number of people hang out at the lake, especially during evening, when the beautiful lights glow up the lake and surrounding region. We started strolling along the lake. There were numerous food stalls present alongside and people were enjoying themselves by hogging on snacks and ‘chaats’ with the magnificent water spread in front.
The entire area was very clean, gated and was very efficiently managed. An entry fee was regulating the mass that visited here. We enjoyed all the entertainment featured on the lake side. We enjoyed a ride in giant balloon, and then the boat ride. We also visited the Kankaria Zoo, which is rated best in Asia. That was a cherishing experience. Then we went to the Nagina Wadi and witnessed the Laser show that was organized in that garden. We were hogging on ice-cream, shouting, cheering, chatting, and absorbing the beautiful environment. We made a pact amongst ourselves to come again here during Kankaria Carnival that is organized every year in December.
Gandhi Ashram Ahmedabad : Every Indian is bound to know the Gandhi Ashram of Ahmedabad which is also popularly known as the Sabarmati Ashram of Ahmedabad. Bapu or the beloved Mahatma Gandhi had stayed back in this Ashram and so it still remains popular as the Gandhi Ashram. The serenity and peace you feel in this Ashram is truly unique.
After witnessing the beauty and peacefulness at the Swaminarayan temple of Ahmedabad, we moved further to view another temple of the city - the Hutheesing Jain temple of Ahmedabad
It was great to realize that apart from the numerous Muslim monuments, Ahmedabad also constitutes a number of Hindu as well as Jain temples. The Hutheesing temple is one such famous Jain shrine. The temple was built by a rich Jain merchant named Shri Kesarising Hutheesing in 1850 and it is located outside Delhi Gate.
We reached there in a while as it was not far from the Swaminarayan temple. On viewing the temple, we were amazed by the embellished temple, built in pure white marble and holding intricate carvings. The Hatheesing Jain temple is unquestionably one of the best flamboyant Jain temples in Ahmedabad.
We roamed around the entire temple to explore more of it. The core temple was a two-storied formation having elaborate porches on its three sides while the front porch was coroneted by a large dome. It was interesting to see that the main temple was bordered by 52 small temples in total. A huge sum of money was invested to construct such a marvel, and the amount that is spent was estimated to be about 10 lakhs rupees, which was a huge sum of money in those days.
Many people were present there, mainly Jain families, for whom this temple is considered very sacred. We were admiring the architecture and it was like each part of the temple went on increasing in dignity and elegance as we were approaching further in the sanctuary. Whether we praised it from outside or from its courts, the temple reflected variety in each part without any confusion. However, some of the patterns incorporated in the design did remind us of the Sultanate minarets, which were built in the Mughal period.
We interacted with many people who were present there and realized that this place is considered very sacred for them and they are coming here from generations. That was the faith for the temple. The ornate building was notable amongst all temples that I’ve seen so far.
Chandola Lake Ahmedabad : We enjoyed a leisure stroll at the banks of the Chandola Lake. We enjoyed a leisure time as a family. We even got to watch a few birds that we do not get to watch in usual occasions. I was too excited to see a spoonbill near the banks of this round lake.
On the next day of our trip, we were discussing our next destination to visit. To make the plans for the day, we searched a few tourists’ destinations of Ahmedabad on the Internet where we could enrich our knowledge and soothe our soul. After much discussion over numerous options, we decided to start our day by visiting a temple - Swaminarayan Temple of Ahmedabad.
We called our cab and meanwhile had our breakfast at the hotel. Shreya also packed a few eateries for the travel. Swaminarayan temple is a famous temple of Ahmedabad. This is the first temple of Swaminarayan that was built. Now a number of branches are operating in different cities. It is said that in the year 1822, a piece of land was given by the British Government for the temple and Swaminarayan Maharaj himself delegated the responsibility of construction of this temple to Ananandanand Swami. And afterwards, this renowned place came into being under his supervision.
We were heading towards the eastern part of the city to reach the temple, which was situated near Kalupur. On reaching the place, we got to witness the famous and beautifully constructed Hindu temple. The temple had beautiful architecture of carved Burmese teak. All the arches and brackets were painted in striking bright colors, which is also a characteristic feature of Swaminarayan temples present everywhere.
The temple is known for several idols that were installed by Swaminarayan in person. Some of his items and sculptures were also displayed for public. We moved to the adjoining haveli, where quarters for the pilgrims of the sect were present, including a special segment for women. Women are given priority in an area where teaching sessions and ceremonies are held for only women.
It was a delight to visit such colorful splash in the middle of a city. Every inch of the temple had a unique presentation. The temple opens at 6 in the morning to seven in the evening for the people. Soon after we reached, arti was commenced and it was such a great start of the day, and to be a part of such remarkable place.
Gujarat High Court Ahmedabad : The amazing building of Gujarat High Court was built in 1960. It is located in Ahmedabad so we enjoyed the view during our Ahmedabad visit. We observed the building for quite some time. We even clicked a few pictures in the vicinity. It was truly fun to watch such historical buildings.
After spending some valuable time at the Ahmed Shah Mosque, we carried our expedition to explore another such masterpiece in the city of Ahmedabad - Rani Sipri’s Mosque, which is located in the old city. It is amongst the oldest mosques in Ahmedabad and was built in the year 1514. This mosque is another popular tourist’s destination and rightfully attracts their attention. We reached there in a while and were quite amazed that the mosque is relatively very small. It is no more than the height of around 50 feet and length of 55 feet, but the elegant proportions and striking minarets earn ample praise from the onlookers.
Rani Sipri’s Mosque is also known as Masjid-e-Nagira, which means the Jewel of a Mosque, owing to its stylish blend of elegant construction and splendid minarets. We got to know about the associated history that the mosque was commissioned by the Hindu wife of Sultan Mahmud Begara.
That is an unknown past associated with this magnificent and ornate mosque. We noticed that similar to many other historical monuments of the 16th century, this construction was also incorporated with the fabulous curvatures and distinct filigree work. The place was not too large but numerous admirers were present there. The mosque includes a tomb and a series of columns, accompanied with a pair of minarets. In front of the minarets is depicted the old Muslim architectural work.
The graceful columns of the mosque are an evidence of the beautiful craftsmanship of the long-gone era. We went upstairs and found an isolated area of worship for the then women, which was called ‘Jenana’.
Rani Sipri’s Mosque is undoubtedly a timeless gem in the city of Ahmedabad. Queen Sipri was the Hindu wife of the then Sultan of Gujarat and she commissioned this mosque in 1514 AD. Isn’t it surprising that the inter-religious marriages were so common in the Indian royalty at that time, but is looked down in these modern times? This thought was cultivating within all three of us.
We admired the mosque and praised the Islamic history that consists of so many gifted architects and this Rani Sipri’s Mosque in Ahmedabad is a testimony of the cherished architectural tradition.
Amdavad Ni Gufa Ahmedabad : Amdavad ni gufa is the perfect culmination of art and architecture. The gufa was initially named as Hussain Doshi Ni Gufa after its creators Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi and Maqbool Fida Hussain. The place is truly amazing and is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Ahmedabad. I really enjoyed the visit.
I reached Ahmadabad at around 6:30 pm. The journey was exhilarating with fellow passengers, who were native of Ahmadabad. I came out of the station and hired a cab for my pre-booked hotel - Best Western Takshashila.
The hotel is in close proximity to the station and I reached there within 15-20 minutes. The property is located on the Sardar Patel Ring Road, and is close to many retail and commercial centers of the city. It is a three-star, multi-storey hotel and has wonderful architecture. I entered the lobby and one of the hotel staff cheerfully came forward and carried my luggage. After enquiring about my reserved accommodation, I was made to enter some necessary details and then was ushered to my room that was on the third floor. The décor of the hotel was quite impressive and sophisticated. The staff was vey helping and affable. I had a pleasant stay there as the room exuded a sense of warmth.
The room featured lavish style with remarkable interiors and had a cozy appeal. Exceptionally-appointed and classy, the room was featured with generous amenities for convenience. Amenities facilitated were international call facility, tea & coffee maker, an electronic safe, Wi-Fi connectivity, a mini bar, an iron and ironing board, LCD TV, and Jacuzzi. I was very delighted and rightly patted my back for such a remarkable choice of hotel.
I refreshed quickly to go to the coffee shop of the Best Western Takshashila. The services were quite remarkable. After a long journey, I had decided for a massage in the tranquil spa available in the hotel. The spa was a marvelous experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and made a note to visit there again before I leave the hotel. After some strolling in the hotel, and spending some time in my room, I went for dinner in the restaurant. The elaborate cuisines really won my heart. It was a multi-cuisine restaurant and I also tried the delicious Italian and Mexican food served there. I concluded my lavish dinner with a large cup of ice-cream. It was like I was enjoying in heaven, what else one needs in a vacation! I also called my friend Neela and Shreya, who were to join me in a while.
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A big hello to everyone here... I am 'the' Geeta Sharma, a young, vibrant, and fun-loving girl from Agra. As a kid, tall buildings always inspired me and now as I type, I myself have attained a master’s degree in Architecture and am working on several projects in and around my city. Whenever I feel taxed of my job, I find a way out in the nature, my second habitat for obvious reasons! Meditation, camping, and photography are activities for which Mother Nature inspires me! On my way back, I also make it a point to get my mind and body relaxed at nearby spa centres. That is about me and you will find much more in detail with regular blogs and updates from me. So stay tuned and sit tight for new experiences every day!