Ahmedabad, during the last century it was called ‘the Manchester of India’. This tag was given to the city because it had many textile mills. But in the mid-1980s one after the other most or all of the textile mills went bankrupt and closed. But now in the new millennium, Ahmedabad is slowly but surely gaining the identity of the new tourism hub of India.
Being an ‘Amdavadi’ myself, I must confess that not so long ago the city of Ahmedabad wasn’t considered a place where tourists can come and go places to enjoy. Even for the locals like me, there were very few choices to go with the family during the weekends. But in the last 15 years or so the city has been receiving many places to visit, not only within its boundaries but also outside of it.
Before the last decade, places near Ahmedabad for one-day picnic were very few. Places like Gandhi Ashram, Adalaj Ni Vav, ISKCON mandir, and dusty Kankaria Lake were the only options for the Amdavadis to go with the family or with the relatives visiting the city. But since then things have changed dramatically and now we got plenty to choose from if we wish to spend a good weekend evening within the city limits.
It all started with the Sabarmati Riverfront. When this project started it was told that it will be in line with riverfronts like Melbourne (Yaara River), London (Thames River), and Paris (Seine River). Today people of Ahmedabad compare this Riverfront with Mumbai’s Nariman Point. You can see thousands of people coming to visit the Ahmedabad River Front during weekends and four days during Makarsankranti because of International Kite Festival is being organized at this venue.
This riverfront has many attractions like gardens and sports activity-related places but recently the Atal Footbridge was opened and it has added another attraction to it. This bridge connects east and west Ahmedabad where people can just walk through the bridge by paying a small amount and within no time they can cross the Sabarmati River.
Along with Riverfront, the then-dusty Kankaria Lake was also upgraded and now it has become one of the most visited places in the city. Now the entire Kankaria campus is clean and so beautifully decorated that you can spend hours and hours without getting bored. Atal baby train is an added attraction here and kids can have a gala time riding it along with visiting the famous Ahmedabad zoo and other things to explore. Science city has become one more must-visit place in the past five years or so if you are in Ahmedabad.
Just a few years back Ahmedabad became India’s first Heritage City. UNESCO has declared many cities around the world in its elite list of World Heritage Cities and now Ahmedabad is one of them. So after getting this honor Ahmedabad has become one of the most sought-after destinations for tourists who are visiting India.
So, all in all, in the last 15 years Ahmedabad has increased its status as a tourist destination by leaps and bounds. Now that the base of being a tourist attraction has been built, the question arises is what next? How can the city move forward from here and add a few more charms and comforts so that the flow of tourists not only continues but also increases and thus it helps the economy of the city, the state of Gujarat, and India. Let me tell you the plan for the same has already been laid out.
After renovating the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in the Motera area of Ahmedabad and turning it into Sardar Patel Sports Enclave the vision for those stakeholders in developing the city is to look the broader and wider horizons. Right now Ahmedabad has the largest cricket stadium in the world called The Narendra Modi Stadium which can host more than 1,00,000 people but now the eyes are on hosting Olympics in Ahmedabad sometime in the next 15 to 20 years.
The efforts have already started to reach that goal. Apart from a current few sports facilities on the Sabarmati Riverfront itself that held the National Games 2022 an exclusive sports complex is going to get built in the Naranpura area of the city. It is learned that the city will soon see more and more stadiums that are part of bidding Olympics hosting in the next decade if not later by 2036.
Building infrastructure within the city is the main focus right now for the authorities in Ahmedabad. More and more areas that are on the outskirts of the city are now getting included in the AMC area and to give them the best basic necessities like water, roads, and electricity the efforts have already started. Nowadays Amdavadis are seeing more and more flyovers getting built or ready to use. These flyovers are definitely parts of the robust road infrastructure that is going to be the main feature in attracting more tourists to the city of Ahmedabad.
Along with infrastructure, Ahmedabad is providing plenty of options in shopping for ethnic Gujarati cloths like Chaniya-Choli, Bandhani (Bandhej), Kediyu, etc. Plus Ahmedabad can provide a pure heritage feel with its heritage buildings in the old city. Plus this city can also provide some delicious food options for your taste buds. All kinds of Gujarati food delicacies is available in the city like Khaman, Dhokla, Sev-Khamani, Patra, Fafda, Jalebi, and plenty more. More than 100 years old Chandravilas Restaurant in the old city still provides the taste of those days and there are many like this restaurant situated in various parts of the city.
Very few have the knowledge that Ahmedabad has almost all kinds of transportation available with it. Apart from city buses, this city is running one of the most successful BRTS on its roads that have a dedicated corridor, and thus reaching a particular destination point has become easier. Along with these two transport options, Ahmedabad now also has a Metro that connects both North and South and East and West points of the city and it will reach more areas in coming years. Amdavad No Rikshawalo is no less popular than Mumbai’s taxi wallahs. The easiest option to travel in the city is Auto rickshaws. Like Mumbai, the rickshaws in Ahmedabad city run on meters so there is very less chance of getting overcharged for your short trips.
If you don’t want to choose places to visit in the city on your own and want to have a conducted tour of the city then you can go via a tourist bus run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation that starts from the Gandhi Ashram in the morning and you can see most of the old and the new areas of the city within few hours. So on the transport part Ahmedabad has the strong infrastructure to say the least.
All these findings can certainly make a conclusion that the City of Ahmedabad is slowly but surely becoming a tourism hub that will attract more and more tourists in coming years with its infrastructure, transportation, culture, clothing, and food.
23rd November 2022, Wednesday