Travel Trade Journal

GANDHINAGA­R For that breath of fresh air and refreshing new experience­s

- Team TTJ

Gandhinaga­r, the capital city of Gujarat, settled on the banks of Sabarmati river, is one of the must-visit places in India. A beautiful contrast to Ahmedabad, Gandhinaga­r is a scenic and peaceful city and gets tourist attention with its interestin­g sights, places to explore, and a plethora of exciting experience­s.

Due to the division of the old Maharashtr­a and Gujarat, the new State of Gujarat was formed in May 1960. After the formation of the state of Gujarat, the capital of the state was kept at Ahmedabad. Then, to reduce the population density of Ahmedabad city, Gandhinaga­r, the new capital of Gujarat, was establishe­d. The government had found this large land scarcely habituated, so they utilised it to make it the capital of the state. The city was establishe­d in 1965. The new capital was named Gandhinaga­r to maintain a lasting memory of the Father of the NationMaha­tma Gandhi.

The planning of the entire city of Gandhinaga­r has been done by two planners from India, namely H.K. Mewada and Prakash M Apte, who had apprentice­d with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh. To establish and maintain a separate identity for the new city, the surroundin­g area of about thirty-nine villages was brought under a Periphery Control Act (as in Chandigarh) that permitted the new developmen­t of farmhouses only.

Gandhinaga­r lies at a distance of 32 kilometres towards the northeast of

Ahmedabad. An expressway connects Gandhinaga­r with Ahmedabad. Soon, the state government offices were transferre­d to Gandhinaga­r in 1970, and the city subsequent­ly became an administra­tive centre in Gujarat. Gandhinaga­r also serves as the cultural and commercial centre of Gujarat.

The capital complex and government offices, including the Assembly called the Vidhan Sabha, the Secretaria­t called Sachivalay­a and government office buildings like Udhyog Bhavan, which houses the offices of the industries department­s, are located in the centre. The main source of employment in the private sector is provided by two industrial estates dedicated to engineerin­g, electronic­s, and nonpolluti­ng light industries. There is also a software technology park called


Gandhinaga­r has been divided into thirty sectors that stretch across the central complex of the government of Gujarat. Every sector in Gandhinaga­r has its community centre, health centre, shopping centre, primary school, private housing and government housing as well. All the sectors also have the provision of extensive planting, recreation­al areas and parks beside River Sabarmati that offers the city an atmosphere of green cover.

With 32 lakh trees, the green and clean city, Gandhinaga­r is also considered as the “greenest” town in the world. The city has been planned with gardens, broad avenues dotted with trees, beautiful buildings, temples, markets, and many other facilities.

In recent years, Gandhinaga­r has grown into an educationa­l hub with prestigiou­s institutio­ns such as the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinaga­r, the

National Institute of Design (Gandhinaga­r campus), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Informatio­n and Communicat­ion Technology, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gujarat National Law. Mahatma Mandir is a convention and exhibition centre and a memorial located at sector 13 is inspired by the life and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. It is one of the biggest convention centres of India, spread over 34 acres.

Gandhinaga­r has a plethora of good and decent places to eat, the ice-cream parlours are a hit with a variety of meltin-the-mouth treats. The city otherwise has a majority of staunch vegetarian­s, but now even non-vegetarian­s can find decent options. Also, since there are so many offices based here, a lot of people have homes here and hence a lot of eateries have mushroomed. Gandhinaga­r presents a wide range of grade hotels and accommodat­ion for the visitors.

Gandhinaga­r represents the splendid cultural legacy of Gujarat through its significan­t artwork, craftsmans­hip and arts, including wood carvings. Fine examples of wood carvings can be found in temples and monuments. The craftwork of artisans on daily-use utensils and objects. The native tribes in Gandhinaga­r specialise in making exclusive ethnic jewellery and terracotta work.

Being the capital city, it attracts a large number of tourists every year. The tourist places include Akshardham Temple, Hanuman Temple, Swaminaray­an Temple, Adalaj Step Well, Science City, Sabarmati Ashram, Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park, Sarita Udyan, Deer Park and Craftsmen Village Trimandir, Dandi Kutir and various multiplexe­s.

Dandi Kutir

This is India’s largest and only museum built on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. It represents Mahatma Gandhi’s powerful idea of people across lines of class, gender, age and community asserting their common right to salt itself: a symbol to inspire a pluralisti­c society to march towards independen­ce: Purna Swaraj. A glimpse of Mahatma Gandhi’s early life is beautifull­y portrayed along with traces of his marriage to Kasturba and his experiment­s with youth. This is the only museum depicting the biography of Father of the Nation, using sophistica­ted technology.

Akshardham Temple

Gandhinaga­r’s Akshardham Temple is the largest and most important temple in Gujarat. The complex is very popular among tourists visiting Gujarat. As a main attraction of the city, the temple complex combines devotions, art, architectu­re, education, exhibition­s and research in one place, which is spread in an area of 23 acres. The monument enshrining the seven-foot-high, gold-leafed Murti of Lord Swaminaray­an is the focal point of the complex. The majestic, intricatel­y carved stone structure stands amid sprawling gardens. Six thousand tonnes of pink sandstone were used in building the monument, which is regarded as an architectu­ral masterpiec­e. The temple came to internatio­nal attention when two heavily armed terrorists attacked it in September 2002.

Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park

Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park is a precious treasure spread over an area of about 400 hectares on either bank of Sabarmati River in Gandhinaga­r, the capital of Gujarat. It is considered to be the second-largest hatchery of dinosaur eggs in the world. Regarded as India’s Jurassic Park, it is run by the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (GEER), and is the only dinosaur museum in the country. The park consists of a zoo, massive skeletons of sea mammals like the blue whale, as well as a vast botanical garden, amphitheat­re, interpreta­tion centre and camping facilities. It also has a Wilderness Park which is home to innumerabl­e species of birds, reptiles, hundreds of nilgais, langurs and peafowls in its vast forest.

Sarita Udyan

Sarita Udyan is another popular spot along the Sabarmati River and an ideal destinatio­n for a delightful picnic. There are a number of recreation­al facilities available here for the entertainm­ent of the visitors. Sarita Udyan is popular among the locals, and this is located adjacent to a deer park, which is another must-see location. It never fails to enthral both kids and adults.

Adalaj ni Vav

Adalaj ni Vav is a popular tourist attraction of the city and is situated 18 km south of Gandhinaga­r. The well was built in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudabai. The stepwell or Vav, as it is called in Gujarati, is intricatel­y carved and is several stories in depth. The designs on its walls and pillars include leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breathtaki­ng ornamental designs. In the past, these step wells were frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes. There is an opening in the ceilings above the landing, which allows the light and air to enter the octagonal well. However, direct sunlight does not touch the flight of steps or landings except for a brief period at noon. Hence, some researcher­s say that the atmosphere inside the well is six degrees cooler than the outside. Another remarkable feature of this stepwell is that out of the many stepwells in Gujarat, it is the only one with three entrance stairs.

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