AAVO PADHARO!
PROVOKE Lifestyle|January 2022
DO CHECK OUT THESE MARVELS ON YOUR TRIP TO THE JEWEL OF WESTERN INDIA, GUJARAT
Namita Gupta

Gujarat is always welcoming to visitors and its sights and sounds entice one to keep coming back for something new every single time. The vibrant state is full of surprises and boasts of treasures of a glorious past, including some of the popular World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO. Gujarat is also a paradise for nature lovers. It is not just about heritage sites, white sands or wild life; it is much more than that. The artistic and ingenious beauty at every step makes this exotic state, its monuments and its rich culture equally vibrant. As their tag line goes, Kutch nahi dekha to kuch nahi dekha, one just has to immerse in the khushboo Gujarat ki to really enjoy its beauty at its best.

We landed in Ahmedabad from Bangalore and explored the heritage of this beautiful city. Gujarat Tourism has now started one-day city bus tours where one can get a glimpse of all the top sites in a day, as you plonk yourself on the top of the open to sky bus. We decided to take it slow and took a walking tour of India's first world heritage city. We walked around with our tour guide, as we marveled at the 200 year old buildings, reflecting the Sompura architecture. There's a Ram temple also. There are mosques and temples both co existing side by side.

On the ancient site of Ashaval and Karnavati, Ahmedabad was found on 1411. The City of Ahmedabad has some of the finest India, Islamic monuments and exquisite Hindu and Jain temples. Its carved wooden houses are another unique architectural tradition. Jains nuns and monks live in Upashreys.

A special feature of Ahmedabad is the plan of the old city comprising numerous pols, self-contained neighborhoods, sheltering large numbers of peoples. Some of these virtually small villages, traversed by narrow streets, usually terminating in square with community wells and chabutaras for feeding birds, gates, Cul-de-sacs and secret passages. To experience the glory of Ahmedabad, it is imperative that you walk through an old quarter and truly observe the nature of its architecture, its art, religious places, its culture and traditions, just like we did. With the purpose of unveiling the city to the tourists and the citizens themselves, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has arranged this Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad.

The tour begins from Kalupur Swaminarayan Temple at 7:45 daily and goes around the area, in a.m. between hidden passages and interesting buildings, ending at Jumma Masjid at 10.30 a.m.

The other important heritage structures of Ahmedabad include the Pol, Bhadra Fort, Sidi Sayyed Mosque, Jhula Minar, Dada Hari ni Vav, Calico Dome and Teen Darwaza.

Sabarmati Ashram - The moment you step into the home of Mahatma Gandhi, where he lived from 1917 until 1930 with his wife Kasturba, you're filled with a sense of serenity. The peaceful retreat on the banks of the River Sabarmati away from the bustling city life takes you back in time when the Mahatma's peaceful protest brought an end to the colonial rule in India. He also started the famous Dandi or Salt March from Sabarmati Ashram. There's also a museum here where you can see his books, life size artworks, photographs of the Mahatma with his wife, and actual relics like his writing desk and the spinning wheel.

Vadnagar - We drove to Vadnagar next, a small city which gained prominence in the recent years for being the birthplace of our Prime Minister. We also visited the Railway Station and had a look at the dilapidated tea stall where he sold tea. Our next stop was Kirti Toran. Since the town is famous for its Torans, this structure, a pair of 12th century columns supporting an arch, standing at 40 ft tall in red and yellow sandstone, represents the same. The battle and hunting scenes on its panels suggest that it may have been erected to celebrate victory at war.

Hatkeshwar Mahadev Temple

The stunning architecture of this 17th century temple that enshrines Hatkeshwar Mahadev, the family deity of Nagar Brahmins, who were once a prominent community in Vadnagar, will leave you awestruck. The temple walls are handcrafted with figures of the nine planets, musicians, apsaras and scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and a Shivalinga that is said to have selfemerged (Swayambhu) is seated in its inner sanctum.

Patan Patola Heritage Museum

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