Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the seventh largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area of India, with a city population of approximately 3.96 million and metropolitan population of 5.56 million. Ahmedabad is the fastest growing city of India, and ranked third as the fastest growing city worldwide. It is located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, 32 km from the state capital Gandhinagar. The city is the administrative centre of Ahmedabad district and was the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970; the capital was shifted to Gandhinagar thereafter. In the middle of 1990s it was the fifth largest city in India. In colloquial Gujarati, the city is commonly called Amdavad.
Ahmedabad was founded on February 26, 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate, and was named after him. Under the British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernized and expanded.
With the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad gained prominence as commercial capital of the state. The city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. A rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries, Ahmedabad remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat and much of western India.
The architectural history of Ahmedabad stretches across the last millennium. The Sultanate fused Hindu craftsmanship with Islamic architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many mosques in the city are built in this fashion. After independence modern buildings came up in Ahmedabad when renowned architects were given commissions in the city like Louis Kahn who designed the Indian Institute of Management; Le Corbusier who designed the Shodhan and Sarabhai Villas, the Sanskar Kendra and the Mill Owner's Association; and Buckminister Fuller who designed the Calico Dome. B. V. Doshi came to the city from Paris to supervise Le Corbusier's works and later set up the School of Architecture.
His local masterpieces include Sangath, the Doshi-Hussain Gufa and the School of Architecture. Charles Correa, who became a partner of Doshi's, designed the Gandhi Ashram and Achut Kanvinde the Indian Textile Industries Research Association. Christopher Charles Benninger's first work, the Alliance Francaise, is located in the Ellis Bridge area. Hasmukh C. Patel, and his son Dr. Bimal Patel, are renowned architects of the city having designed the St. Xavier's High School Loyola Hall, Gujarat High Court and the Ahmedabad Management Association. Anant Raje recently designed major additions to Louis Kahn's Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad campus, namely the Ravi Mathai Auditorium and KLMD.
Ahmedabad is administered by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). Some of the regions surrounding the city are administered by the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA). The AMC was established in July 1950 under the Bombay Provincial Corporation Act, 1949. For administrative purposes, the city is divided into 43 wards. Citizens elect corporators during civic elections. At present the corporation consists of 129 corporators elected from 43 wards. These 129 corporators elect a mayor and deputy mayor for a turn of two and a half years. Executive powers are vested in the municipal commissioner, who is an IAS officer appointed by the Gujarat state government.
The mayor is responsible for the day-to-day running of the municipal school board, the city bus service, the municipal hospital, and the city library. The city serves as the headquarters of Ahmedabad district and as the seat of the Gujarat High Court. The Ahmedabad city police are headed by a Police Commissioner, an Indian Police Service officer. Ahmedabad's Kamla Nehru Zoological Park features endangered species like flamingoes, caracal, Asiatic wolf, chinkara and many more. AMC has initiated the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project with an objective of environmental improvement with provision of slum rehabilitation for poor living on the river banks.
Gardens & Parks
There is a wide spectrum of gardens in Ahmedabad that exhilarate the gleam and appeal of the city. The AMC owns and maintains 76 parks and gardens and 96 traffic islands. There are 9 gardens that are more than 5 acres (20,000 m2) in area. Ahmedabad has already been honored internationally by 'Green City Commendation Award' as a result of devoted service provided by the Government officials to ensure proper maintenance of the gardens in Ahmedabad.
The 3 most popular and most visited gardens in the city are Victoria Garden, Bal Vatika and Law Garden. Located at the southern verge of the Bhadra Fort, Victoria Garden is a one of the most popular places in the city for people who desire to unwind and chill out. The Victoria Garden contains a statue of Queen Victoria, which is a masterpiece in itself. Bal Vatika is a children's park situated on the grounds of Kankaria Lake. Its close proximity to Kankaria lakefront makes it a wonderful spot to observe nature's splendor. The Kankaria lake got new look in 2008. Bal Vatika also houses an Amusement Park and a Water Park for kids. Law Garden got its name from the College of Law that is situated very close to it. It serves as a hub for those 'shopaholics', as scintillating pieces of handicrafts and a wide variety of Gujarati attires are sold here. Other main gardens in the city are Parimal Garden, Prahlad nagar Garden, Lal Darwaja Garden.
Ahmedabad enjoys a thriving cultural tradition, being the centre of Gujarati cultural activities and diverse traditions of different ethnic and religious communities. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan an annual kite-flying day on 14 and 15 January. The nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba the folk dance of Gujarat at venues across the city. The festival of lights Deepavali is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, the decorating the floors with the rangoli and the bursting of firecrackers. Other festivals such as Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudi Padwa, Eid ul-Fitr and Christmas are celebrated with enthusiasm. The annual Rath Yatra procession on the Ashadh-sud-bij date of the Hindu calendar and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are integral parts of the city's culture.
The people of Ahmedabad are fond of eating. The people of Ahmedabad enjoy rich culinary traditions. The most popular form of meal a typical Gujarati thali (meal consists of rotli, dal, rice and Shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes with curry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted papads). Popular beverages include buttermilk and tea; sweet dishes include laddoos and mango. There are many restaurants, which serve a wide array of Indian and international cuisines. Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city's Jain and Hindu communities. The first all-vegetarian Pizza Hut in the world opened in Ahmedabad.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is located 15 km from the city centre and 8 km from Ahmedabad Railway station and Bus stand. It serves both domestic and international flights to and from Ahmedabad and the neighboring cities of Surendranagar, Mehsana and Nadiad. The airport connects the city with destinations across India and the world (Abu Dhabi, Australia, Doha, Jeddah, Dubai, Bangkok, Frankfurt, Kabul, Kuwait, London, Muscat, Newark, Singapore, Sharjah, Dammam, Riyadh, Hongkong, Paris, Shanghai).
It is the busiest airport in Gujarat, and the seventh busiest in India with an average of 250 aircraft movements a day. In 2008 the airport served 5,372,259 passengers. It is expected to handle six million passengers in 2010 and nine million in 2012, including both domestic and international passengers. Nearly all domestic airlines serve Ahmedabad, as do several international ones. A new international terminal has been built to handle increased international air traffic.
Ahmedabad is one of the six operating divisions of the Western Railway. Railway lines connect the city to all towns in Gujarat and other major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Jabalpur, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Trivendrum, Hyderabad, Nagpur etc. The Ahmedabad Railway Station, locally known as Kalupur Railway Station is the city's main terminus; Ahmedabad's other stations are Maninagar, Vatva, Gandhigram, Asarva, Chandlodia, Kali gam, Vastrapur, Sabarmati, Sarkhej, Naroda, Aamli.
The state government has registered MetroLink Express Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad Company Ltd as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the metro rail project connecting Ahmedabad with Gandhinagar. The state government plans to use this SPV as a nodal agency to implement the metro and regional rail project based on public-private partnership for Ahmedabad Region and Gandhinagar Cosmopolitan Region.
National Highway 8, linking Delhi to Mumbai, passes though Ahmedabad connecting it with Gandhinagar, Delhi and Mumbai. The National Highway 8C links Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar. It is connected to Vadodara through National Expressway 1, a 94 km (58 mi) long highway with only two exits. This expressway is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project.
Ahmedabad's main traffic arteries are the Ashram Road, C. G. Road, Relief Road and SG Highway. The SG Highway or Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway is also known as Ahmedabad's growth symbol. Transportation For Gandhinagar is available for 24 hours from SG highway. Auto rickshaws, Share Autos and buses are the most popular forms of public transport. The Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) runs the local bus service in the city. In 2005, AMTS began a drive to convert all of its petrol and diesel engine buses to run on compressed natural gas engines to reduce the effects of air pollution. AMTS runs 750 buses. Bicycles and motorcycles are a popular medium of transport with the city's young people and students.
In 2001, Ahmedabad was ranked as the topmost polluted city in India, out of 85 cities, by the Central Pollution Control Board. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board gave auto rickshaw drivers an incentive of Rs. 10,000 to convert all 37,733 auto rickshaws in Ahmedabad to cleaner burning compressed natural gas to reduce pollution. As a result, in 2008, Ahmedabad was ranked as 50th most polluted city in India.
Ahmedabad BRTS is a Bus rapid transit system for the city, maintained by the Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL). A part of the first phase connecting RTO to Pirana was inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi on 14 October 2009 and the second half of the first phase connecting Chandranagar to Pushpa Kunj gate at Kankaria was inaugurated on 25 December 2009. Remaining phases are under construction and will be operational by mid 2010.
The BRTS is modelled on the International standards and proved to be highly affordable and effective in operation. It has revolutionised the system of public transport in the city. The buses are comfortable and technically advanced. The system has dedicated corridors running along the middle of the city roads in which no other vehicles are allowed.
more info on BRTS Ahmedabad Aerial View