24 Hours In Ahmadabad
Mosques, ashrams, thali, textiles - all part of the fabric of Gujarat
Sunday 18 December 2005
1. Back to the 1920s for breakfast
08.30: Breakfast in the leafy courtyard café of your hotel, the House of Mangaldas Girdhardas (00 91 79 25506946; houseofmg.com). Housed in a grand 1920s mansion, slap in the centre of town, your hotel is both tasteful and ultra-modern, with just 10 luxuriously furnished rooms and suites. From £40-£80 per night.
2. Watch the wildlife in the old town
09.30: Starting from the Swami Narayan Temple, take a stroll south through the narrow, colourful lanes of the old city. Chipmunks swarm across the ancient wood-carved door-frames and cornices, while parrots nibble food on rooftops.
3. Peaceful moment in a mosque
11.00: Step into one of India's oldest mosques, the Jama Masjid. Built in 1423 by Ahmed Shah, it remains a peaceful antidote to the urban chaos outside.
4. Authentic lunch for next to nothing
13.00: Time for a simple but authentic lunch. Aim for Gopi Dining Hall, next to the river. This is a popular place to grab an all-you-can-eat thali for less than £1.
5. Life's rich tapestry museum
14.45: On to the Calico Museum, in the northern district of Shahi Bagh, one of the finest textile museums in the world. An expert guide will show you tapestry masterpieces and much else.
6. Sanctuary of independence
16.30: Drive north to one of India's most revered sanctuaries, the Sabarmati Ashram, headquarters of Mahatma Gandhi during the struggle for Indian independence.
7. Riverside shopping at night
19:00: Go shopping at the night market at Law Garden beyond the Sabarmati River. Here under kerosene lamps you will find a huge range of colourful fabrics.
8. Village life in the city
20:30: Time for dinner. Head down to the Vishalla Village Restaurant, Sarkhej Road, Vasna Tolnaka, on the city's outskirts. Especially popular among the middle classes, the restaurant re-creates a rural Gujarati community. For less than £3 you can eat as much as you like.
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