|Population: 4,970,200||Urban/Metro Population: 4,970,200|
|Date Founded: 1411||Primary Language(s): Gujarati, Hindi|
|Name Origin: Sultan Ahmed Shah founded the city and named it for himself|
|Alternate/historic names: Karnavati, Amdavad, Ahmadabad|
Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat state and the sixth largest city in India with a population of almost 5 million. The city is also sometimes called Karnavati, an older name. Ahmedabad is the administrative center of Ahmedabad district, and was the former capital of Gujarat state from 1960 to 1970, when Gandhinagar replaced it.
The city was founded in the 15th century by Sultan Ahmed Shah on the Sabarmati river, and served as capital of the Sultanate of Gujarat. The historic center of Ahmedabad is presently a thriving business district. Ahmedabad is mainly divided in two parts, the old city, and new city. The old city has developed rather haphazardly, and most of the roads are narrow and crowded during business hours. The new city has well-structured, wide roads. A wide variety of shops and businesses exist in the city.
In addition to its role as a commercial center, Ahmedabad is also an important industrial center, with chemical and textile industries. Ahmedabad is often described as the Manchester of the East, because of its once-booming textile industry.
The history of Ahmedabad begins in the eleventh century with the Solanki King Karandev I, ruler of Anhilwara (modern Patan). He waged a war against the Bhil King Ashapall or Ashaval, and after his victory established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati at site of modern Ahmedabad. Solanki rule lasted until the thirteenth century, when Gujarat came under the control of the Vaghela dynasty of Dwarka. Gujarat was conquered by the Sultanate of Delhi at the end of the thirteenth century. At the beginning of the fifteenth century an independent sultanate ruled by the Muslim Muzaffarid dynasty was established in Gujarat, and in 1411 Sultan Ahmed Shah renamed Karnavati Ahmedabad and established it as his capital. Ahmedabad was the capital of the sultanate for 162 years (1411-1573).
This city was originally built on the banks of the river Sabarmati, but it has expanded since. In 1487 Mohammed Begdo, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, enclosed the city with a fort of six miles in circumference and consisting of 12 gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements to protect it from outside invaders. Conditions in the city were chaotic by the time of the last Sultan, Muzaffar III, and Gujarat was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1573. During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the empire's thriving centres of trade, especially in textiles, which were exported as far as Europe. A famine in 1630 devastated the city. In 1753, the armies of the Maratha generals Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaekwad captured the city and ended Mughal rule in Ahmedabad. The famine of 1630 and the rule of the Peshwa and the Gaekwad virtually destroyed the city. The British East India Company took over the city in 1818. A military cantonment was established in 1824, a municipal government in 1858, and a railway link between Ahmedabad and Bombay (Mumbai) in 1864. Ahmedabad grew rapidly, becoming an important center of trade and textile manufacturing.
In 1915, Mahatma Gandhi came from South Africa and established an ashram on the banks of Sabarmati. He started the salt satyagraha in 1930. He and many followers marched from his ashram to the coastal village of Dandi, to protest against the British imposing a tax on salt. Before he left the ashram, he vowed not to return to the ashram until India became independent.
The places of interest in Ahmedabad include the Kankaria Lake, Law Garden, Jama Masjid, Sidi Saiyad's Mosque, Rani ni Vav, Adalaj Stepwell, Sidi Bashirs mosque(Shaking minarets), Bhadra Fort and Teen Darwaja, Sabarmati Ashram, Shahi Bag, Hussain-Doshi's Gufa, and the IMAX theater.
Kankaria is an artificial lake, developed by Qutub-Ud-Din in 1451. It also has an aquarium and zoo. In the middle of the lake is a island palace, built during the Mughal period. It is now a local picnic spot. A new lake has also been opened recently in Vastrapur area, and it is expected to get lots of visitors.
Gandhiji's Sabarmati Ashram is situated on banks of river Sabarmati River.
Law Garden is a local recreational spot for the people of Ahmedabad. It is common to see the more fitness-conscious residents jogging or walking here in the mornings and evenings. Also, in the evening you will find a market for traditional Gujarati dresses worn during various festivals, especially Navratri.
The famous Indian Institute of Management is located here. This institute has been rated as the best in Asia by Asiaweek in 2002 and one of the best in the world. Another famous institute, National Institute of Design is India's best design-education institute. Moreover, Ahmedabad hosts Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology - a reputed urban and regional planning, architecture and engineering education institute, Gujarat University, Nirma University, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), Gandhi Labour Institute, SPIPA, MICA, etc. Apart from the great educational institutions, centers of national importance such as the Indian Space Research Organization, Physical Research Laboratory, Nehru Foundation - CEE, etc also have their establishments in the city.
The ISKCON temple on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway draws many visitors. It is a newly built huge structure with gardens around it. Krishna devotees perform puja at designated hours and the Maha Aarti in the evening is attended by thousands of devotees as well as visitors.
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