Cities appear and disappear only to reappear in the tableaux of Indian civilization. The historic city of Ahmedabad was founded in the surge of Islamic conquests that had swept through India. It was established in 1411 AD by a noble, Ahmed Shah, who had rebelled against his overlords in Delhi. The new rulers of Gujarat, keen on stablishing their superiority in the material realm, had undertaken a frenzied program of building activities in their new capital of Ahmedabad. Their model was the impressive Hindu architecture of the previous centuries which they wanted to outshine. The result, after one and a half centuries, was the ‘Sultanate Architecture’ of Ahmedabad, considered a high point of world architectural heritage. This architecture along with the Jain, Swaminarayan and Hindu temples of the city is a veritable safari of monumental architecture which attracts lovers of beauty from across the world to the city.
The architecture and the design of the new town of Ahmedabad (Latt. 23* 00, Long. 72* 35’), a walled town situated on the river Sabarmati, was a continuation of the Hindu building traditions by other means. These ‘other means’ were the new stylistic elements brought in by the new rulers. The city lies close to an older Solanki trading centre, on the 371 km long river Sabarmati and is 173 feet above the sea level. That it was the seat of a splendorous court is testified by a French traveler, Taverniere, who had visited the town in the eighteenth century describing it as “the headquarters of manufacturing, the greatest city in India, nothing inferior to Venice for rich silks and gold stuffs curiously wrought with birds and flowers.”
A treaty with the then rulers of western India, the Poona Peshwas, brought Ahmedabad under the British rule in 1817. The British were keen on annexing Ahmedabad because of “the commanding influence which the sovereignty over the city of Ahmedabad confers on its possessor in the estimation of the country at large.” At the time of the British arrival, the medieval economy of Ahmedabad had hung on three threads: gold, silk, and cotton. The British rule of law helped flowering the strength of the Ahmedabad mahajans (trade guilds), and aided by the opium trade to China, by 1839 the town was “in a most flourishing condition and progressing rapidly.”
Modern textile technology further oiled the Gujarati virtues in ‘reinventing’ Ahmedabad. Its booming business in textiles had given Ahmedabad the status of ‘Manchester of India’ by the First World War.The success of modern textile industry in Ahmedabad is a puzzle for the business historian as the town was considered unsuitable for the industry.Some of these mills survived as late as 1989. The flourishing of textile industry in Ahmedabad may be viewed as the triumph of Gujarati virtues of pragmatism, innovation and creative collaboration. It was for this town that Mahatma Gandhi had felt a predilection after his return from South Africa in 1917, staying on in the town for thirteen years and directing the historically unheard of non-violent movement against colonial power in favour of self-determination for the Indian people.
Their successes in textiles turned the 19th century Ahmedabad mahajans in to fine institution- builders; they played important role in creating institutions like PRL, IIM, NID, ATIRA and CEPT during the middle of the 20th century. The buildings of these institutions had attracted modern masters of world architecture like Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier to the city in the 1950s .Pharmaceuticals, Construction and Textiles are the main industries of Ahmedabad of today. The town contributes 14% of the total investments in all stock exchanges of India. The Municipal Corporation was formed in 1950 (present budget: 120 million $ US, area 191 sq km, population: 4.5 millions). Sardar Patel, a great comrade of Mahatma Gandhi and the architect of modern India, was once a mayor of Ahmedabad. Sardar’s vision of Indian cities as heavens for Indian urban dwellers is the lodestar that directs the movement of this great city towards its future.
Profile: Ahmedabad City
Co-ordinates:23.03° N 72.58° EArea:466 Sq.km. (year 2006)Population:55,77,940 (year 2011 Census)Density:11,948 /sq.kmLiteracy Rate:89.60 %Average Annual Rainfall:782 mmPopularly known as:AmdavadSTD Code:079
The city of Ahmedabad, now the seventh largest metropolis in India and the largest in the state of Gujarat, was founded in 1411 AD as a walled city on the eastern bank of the river Sabarmati. Historically Ahmedabad has been one of the most important centers of trade and commerce in western India. It is also a major industrial and financial city contributing about 14% of the total investments in all stock exchanges in India and 60% of the total productivity of the state. It is the home of several scientific and educational institutions of national, regional and global importance. The city has a great architectural tradition reflected in many exquisite monuments, temples and modern buildings.
- Ahmedabad GDP pegged at 64 billion USD in 2012.
- 3rd fastest growing city as per the Forbes magazine 2010.
- A Times of India survey ranks Ahmedabad City as India's Best City live-in in terms of infrastructure.
- Major base of trade, commerce and industry and engine of industrial and financial growth of the state.
- Ahmedabad will be the First Indian City to receive UNESCO's World Heritage City Status- Tentative Application accepted by UNESCO for the same.
- Quality Water, Sanitation, and Sewerage Services
- Quality Public Transport System
- Financially well managed City Government
- Inclusive city that accommodates the urban poor with sensitivity.
- Ecologically friendly & Energy efficient
- Compact city with short travelling distances.
- Capitalizing on strong economic drivers to create growth and jobs.
The History of Ahmedabad begins in the eleventh century with King Karandev - 1, the Solanki Ruler. 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. The 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.
Ahmedabad was built in an open and spacious plain in the immediate vicinity of Ashaval to the east of Sabarmati. It then comprised of a smaller area now known as the Bhadra Fort or the citadel of Bhadra. In 1487, Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, fortified the city with an outer wall 10 km (6 miles) in circumference and consisting of twelve gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements. The City was planned according to the ancient Indo-Aryan tradition of a royal capital with main roads, thoroughfares and subsidiary roads.
Under the fostering care of the sultans of Gujarat, the city of Ahmedabad went on expanding in every direction by the addition of new localities and suburbs on both the sides of river, and gradually developed into a well built city, with well-laid-out residential and marketing areas and beautified by palaces, mansions, mausoleums and mosques of reservoirs (lakes) and gardens erected by the noblemen of the sultans and wealthy merchants of the capital.
The city enjoyed the position of royal capital for a period of about 162 years: 1411-1573 A.D. till the independent Sultanate of Gujarat came to an end under the reign of Murzaffar-III. Conditions of the province were chaotic during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar III. Akbar, the great Mughul Emperor, conquered the province in 1573. Though Ahmedabad lost its importance as the capital of Gujarat during the Moghul reign, it retained its importance as one of the thriving centers of trade in the country and chief city of Gujarat.
The Mughal rulers who followed Aurangzeb were weak and the Mughul Viceroys (Subas) were busy fighting amongst themselves and with the Marathas. This resulted in disorder in the country, and from 1737 to 1753, there was a joint rule of the Mughal Viceroy and the Peshwa over Ahmedabad. In 1753 the combined armies of Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaeakwad overtook the citadel and brought an end of Mughal rule at Ahmedabad.
During the Maratha regime, Ahmedabad was for all intents and purposes divided into two halves, one into the hands of Peshwas and the other into the hands of Gaekwads, the jurisdiction exercised by the Peshwa being greater.The condition of Ahmedabad, during the 64-year-long Maratha rule went from bad to worse owing to the constant struggle between the Peshwas and the Gaekwads and the retrograde and oppressive policy pursued during this period. During this period of decline and insecurity that characterized 64 years of Maratha rule, suburbs were deserted, places and mansions were in ruinous state, roads in hopeless state of disrepair, and the fortwall that enclosed the city had fallen off at many places.
It was in 1818, when the British East India Company took over the city as a part of the conquest of India that the city ushered into the era of orderly development and progress. A military cantonment was established in 1824. A Municipal Committee was formed in 1834 and regular Municipal administration introduced in 1858. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established by the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway (BB&CI), making Ahmedabad an important junction in the traffic and trade between northern and southern India. Large number of people migrated from rural areas to work in textile mills, establishing a robust industry. Thus, in view of such welfare activities and amenities provided in the public interest, the spirit of Ahmedabad, which was lying dormant in the preceding century, was now awakened and expressed itself in all walks of life.
After a lapse of another century, destiny chose Ahmedabad to play an outstanding role in the country's struggle for freedom. The Indian independence movement developed strong roots in the city when, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi established two ashrams, the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Satyagraha Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917 that would become centers of intense nationalist activities. Ahmedabad became the capital of the new state of Gujarat after the bifurcation of the State of Bombay on 1 May 1960.
Today Ahmedabad is a unique city, for it blends harmoniously an ancient heritage with a vibrant present. What is remarkable about Ahmedabad is the harmony between art and industry, between a reverence to the past and a vision for the future.
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The city of Ahmedabad is endowed with a rich architectural heritage that is vital to the local identity and continuity of the place. The foremost heritage assets are the Indo-Islamic monuments of the 15th to 17th centuries: the Jama Masjid, the Teen Darwaza, the Bhadra Gate and Tower and the Tombs of Queen and King located in the historic core, the remaining sections of the original fort wall, 12 original gates and a number of other monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Besides these monuments, there are potential heritage precincts in the form of the Pols, the traditional residential clusters of the medieval period, which makes Ahmedabad exceptional. A large enclave of the Maratha period and many fine examples of colonial era architecture also survive in the Walled city.
Ahmedabad has a tropical monsoon climate, which is hot and dry, except in the rainy season. Summer days are very hot with mean maximum temperature of 41.3°C while, nights are pleasant with mean minimum temperature of 26.3°C. The mean maximum and minimum temperatures in winter are 30°C and 15.4°C respectively. The average annual rainfall of the area is 782mm, although there is a considerable variation from year to year. It occurs generally during the months of June to September. The average relative humidity is 60% with a maximum of 80% to 90% during the rainy season.