1 SABARMATI ASHRAM (GANDHI’S ASHRAM)
Start your tour of Gujarat’s largest city with a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, more frequently referred to as“Gandhi’s ashram.”The Mahatma founded the ashram (a spiritual hermitage) in 1915 and moved it to this site, on the banks of the River Sabarmati a short distance from the city center, two years later. He lived here for about 12 years, and it was from here that he led a march to the coastal city of Dandi, over 250 miles away, in protest of the British Salt Law – an event that was instrumental in helping India to gain independence.
Today, Sabarmati Ashram is a museum with exhibits about Gandhi’s life, including a photo gallery and an archive of his letters and journals, and you can tour the his old living quarters. A bookstore sells tomes on Gandhi (in English) that aren’t available outside the subcontinent. Children play cricket on the ashram’s grounds, and you may even be asked to join in. Open daily 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM; free entry; Ashram Road, Old Vadaj; 4 miles from the ashram to the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), one of the city’s most spectacular buildings. Built in 1424 under the auspices of Ahmedabad’s founder, Ahmed Shah, the yellow sandstone structure blends traditional Indian aesthetics with Islamic structural design.
At its center is a 246-foot-long courtyard, while the huge prayer hall is flanked with 260 intricately carved columns that support 15 domed sections. The interiors incorporate decorative elements and iconography usually associated with the Jain and Hindu faiths, including lotus flowers and the Om symbol – it is believed that the mosque was constructed using remnants of destroyed Hindu and Jain temples, and the non-Muslim symbols were likely pulled from these previous holy sites. Both men and women should dress modestly – ladies should cover their heads. Open daily dawn-dusk; free admission; Mahatma Gandhi Road. country. Its campus doubles as an openair art museum, and there are displays showcasing the best of the students’ projects dotted around the campus.
Make sure you visit the gift shop, where you’ll find a high-quality selection of everything from handmade jewelry to unusual furniture, all designed by the NID’s students, faculty and alumni. Open Mon-Fri 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM; admission is free; Bhagtacharya Road, Paldi;