Top 5 fun things to do in Aapnu Amdavad (Ahmedabad)

A high-pitched voice threw a challenge in the air. “Maal che maastano, nai lidho toh kal nai paachtano” (my wares are good, don't buy and remorse will spoil your mood). I turned. My eyes darted around to look for the challenger. A 3 feet tall, thin boy knit his eyebrows and pointed to his wares. Intrigued, I stepped towards him and he smiled a warm crooked smile. Just like Manek Chowk, the busiest city square in Ahmedabad, he changed colors once he sensed bait. What a start, I mumbled and bought a few ethnic necklaces at INR 30… yuss!! thats 0.5 Usd. Unbelievable!!

A long weekend, three restless friends and rave reviews of the Navratri (festival of nine nights) celebrations had us boarding the Shatabdi Express to reach Ahmedabad in less than 7 hours.

Navratri Celebrations in Ahmedabad. Navratri Celebrations in Ahmedabad.

Voted as one of the best city to live, we wanted to experience Ahmedabad’s fascinating multi cultural flavors. In three days, we had fun every single minute and enjoyed a variety of things- shopping, trying the delectable street fare, grooving to the tunes played during Navratri and revisited history. Here are our top 5 fun ways to explore and enjoy Ahmedabad:

Take a trip down the memory lane:

Gandhi Ashram- a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi is a must visit. His simple belongings encourage us to think about our relentless quest of all things material and the calm soothes those overworked and stressed minds. Adalaj Wav stepwell located on the outskirts should be on your itinerary too. The intricate carvings of the five stories deep structure are fabulous. Bhadra Fort, Sarkhej Roza, Jhulta Minara, Teen Darwaza and many such places of interest are a great way to soak in history.

Adalaj Vav Adalaj Vav

Attend to your Religious Side:

Swaminarayan Temple, Akshardham Temple, Sidi Saiyad Mosque, Jama Masjid, Ahmed Shah Mosque all tell a story and are specimens of excellent craftsmanship. Various religions co-exist in Ahmedabad and these places of worship are an excellent indication of the harmonious times.

Shop till you drop:

Ahmedabad is a shoppers delight. Local Handicrafts, Ethnic Indian Wear for men and women, specially hand crafted and embroidered Chaniya Cholis for women Ethnic Ornaments, Clay diyas and utensils, variety of local food delights- Diet and regular Khakra (a crispy flatbread) in many tingling flavors, thepla (Paratha made with fenugreek leaves), peanuts and more can be shopped throughout the day or at midnight as well. Try Induben Khakhrawala for your food fix and Manek Chowk, Law Garden, Ratan Pole, Ellis Bridge, Lal Darwaja for shopping accessories, clothes, masalas, home d├ęcor items and more.

Spend a fun evening with your loved ones:

Long work hours taking toll over fun family times? Worry not. Plan a day or late afternoon picnic to Sabarmati riverfront, a two level promenade with parks, fountains and water activities.

The beautiful Sunset at Sabarmati riverfront
The beautiful Sunset at Sabarmati riverfront

One can choose a joyful train ride at Kankaria Lake too, like us and indulge that little child hidden behind our adult lives. Tethered balloon ride, kids city, a small zoo & waterpark and beautiful evening lights are few of its many attractions. We visited on a weekend and saw excellent crowd management.

The Train Ride at Kankaria Lake
The Train Ride at Kankaria Lake

Beautiful Night View at Kankaria Lake
Beautiful Night View at Kankaria Lake

Eat, Eat and Eat:

Eat through the day and some more till midnight seems to be the mantra of food lovers in Ahmedabad. The city has something to offer for everyone. Carnivores can relish a variety of Kebabs, keema samosas, fish fry and biryani at Bhatiyar Gali near Teen Darwaza. We explored Manek Chowk at night to enjoy “hatke” street fare like Cadbury sandwich, kulfi sandwich & pineapple sandwich- on the sweeter side, but delectable no less.

Late Night Eats at Manek Chowk
Late Night Eats at Manek Chowk

Indulge in a sugar rush with falooda and kulfi at “Ashrafi Kulfi” stall in Manek Chowk or at Havmor restaurant in Navrangpura. We sampled Stir Fried Water Chestnut, Crispy Roomali Roti, Pindi Chole and Chocolate Fondue- yummylicious.

Delectable at Havmor, Navrangpura. Delectable at Havmor, Navrangpura

There are many dosa and pizza stalls at Law Garden if all that shopping has made you hungry. Various stalls sell dal wada (a savory snack), fafda- jalebi (Gujarat special), mutton samosa and more for in between light eats. Wash it all down with nimbu soda (a tangy drink made with lemon and sparkling soda). One cannot leave the city without trying the famous Gujarati thali. We asked around and were recommended Toran, Rajwadu, Sasuji and Vishalla. We chose Vishalla- a traditional set up located at Vasna and spent a relaxed evening gorging on various flatbreads- rotla, thepla, bhakri with seasonal vegetables prepared in minimal oil, farsan (savory snack), misthan (dessert) and loads of creamy buttermilk.

Want a quick rendezvous with Mumbai in Ahmedabad? Hop across to Prahlad nagar and relish famous Bombay street fare in vibrant interiors. Pictures of old Mumbai adorn the walls and we noticed quirky glassware on tables.

Bombay Street Cafe
Bombay Street Cafe

Iconic Mumbai restaurants are depicted on a map and we quickly pointed out to our favorites. We tried Jumbo Grill Sandwich, Schezwan Mayonnaise Dosa, Mithibai Vada Pav and some blueberry mousse and chatted with the hands on staff about our mutual love of Food. Neat, clean and affordable prices all work in this cafe's favor.

After three fun filled days when we bid our goodbyes by saying"Aavjo" our fabulous hotel staff, smiled and said "Pacchi Maliye" . How did he know we were definitely coming back?


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