Ahmedabad recently won World Heritage Status and I can understand why. It’s a great place to visit.
“Where is it?” you might ask. I pondered this question when I saw it on the itinerary of the Jim Cline Three Festivals Photography trip that I took last March. Had to look it up on a map. I figured the 600 plus year old city was a stopping point between major events of the tour.
I was wrong. The city of Ahmedabad with a population of 5 million is chock-a-block with fascinating sights for a photography group like ours. Evidently the World Heritage Committee agrees and thinks it has a wider appeal.
For example, it is where Mahatma Gandhi began India’s freedom struggle. He established his first Ashram in the city when he returned from South Africa to India in 1915.
Ahmedabad is located in Gujarat, north of Mumbai and not far from the magical cities of Rathjastan, typically on the tourist touring routes. It now joins cities like Paris, Cairo and Edinburgh with this World Heritage designation.
Five reasons I like Ahmedabad
1.We stayed in a wonderful old Haveli Hotel. A Haveli is XXXXXX. This home had been added on to over years giving it charm and interest like many of the house hotels of cities all over the world.
Frankly after staying in some tented camps and some less luxurious facilities, I enjoyed this one because it was posh and really cool. A civilized change. One night we had dinner on the roof. It also contained a very interesting textile gallery with beautiful examples of Indian fabric and embroidery. I understand there is a marvelous textile museum in Ahmedabad. If I ever go back, it will be on my “go to” list. Can’t help myself. I am a retired fashion and home design newspaper writer. I love all things design.
2.But much more important than the creature comforts, I loved the interesting sites of Ahmedabad although dirty, chaotic and worn out. The people were warm and friendly with stories in the deep lines of their faces. This is a real contrast to so many tourist destinations around the world that have taken on a Disneyland aura. This is the real deal.
One of the photography lessons I learned on this trip is to look for the background first and then wait for something click worthy to happen in front of it. I wasn’t as patient as many in my group, but here are a few of the images I found. Ahmedabad had a wealth of fabulous textured backgrounds.
3. I loved visiting the old temples in the area. It was interesting to learn that the older ladies gather at the temple for socializing because the daughters-in-law do the housework. When a woman marries she joins her husband’s family and takes on the heavy lifting.
I also like the Jain temples. This is an area filled with folks who practice Jain. They don’t allow photography so we didn’t go inside any (this was a Photo tour after all) but I worked at identifying the difference between Jain and Hindu, checking with our local guide.
4. We visited a flower market, getting up before dark to head to capture the riotous explosion of color. Only thing that troubled me were the number of children at the market. I hoped they’d be going to school.
5. My favorite experience in Ahmedabad was meandering the old market streets and taking photos of the shop keepers. The urban area is packed with gated streets with traditional houses called pols. Mixed in were many small shops to enjoy.