I am a Bengali by birth, born and brought up in Maharashtra, married to a Himachali and I have stayed in around eight cities of India so far.
Though Pune will always remain my first love among all of them, my latest crush is the city I am living in – Ahmedabad!
I moved to this city two years ago and fell in Love instantly with the charm of the city. Though the urban amenities that it offers can be found in most cities, what makes it special is the still raw and rural soul of it.
The people! The food! The festivals! The liveliness! I love them all.
Amdavadis (as I am proud to be called now) know how to celebrate life, and they will bind you to do that as well. So let’s see what makes Ahmedabad so special –
source – hungryforever.com
The fascinating part of the city is the food. ‘Khawanu Piwanu…Majja Ni Life’ (Eat, Drink… Life is fun) is what Amdavadis believe in.
From the giant Kathiyawadi thali at Atithi, Vishala or Rajwadu to the wide range of Farsan (dry snacks) at Induben Khakrawala! From delicacies from all over the country at one stop called Manek Chowk to the Jasuben pizza that even our Prime Minister swears by!
Ahmedabad can never leave you unsurprised when it comes to food.
source – YouTube
And if you think this place is just for vegans then you must refresh your facts by visiting Juhapura or Bhatiyar Gali. You will experience the most delicious keema samosas, bheja masala, Tava biryani and countless non-veg dishes at these two places.
And then there’s Das Kaka’s Khaman Dhoklas, Asharfilal Ni Kulfi, roadside Ketli tea with Maska-bun, Ambika’s Dalvada, Fafda jalebi breakfast, A-one’s Maggi bhajiya and the list goes on and on…
Though Ahmedabad has a modern approach towards adopting new things, it still has a firm hold on the culture that the city is known for. Handicrafts are still an in-thing here. Bandhej has never become old-fashioned.
If you are an art lover, then you will be the happiest here as Gujarati dramas are an all-time hit and the city is also adopting the open mic culture slowly into its routine.
The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about Gujarati culture is their Garba dance. And no matter what the occasion is, Gujaratis love to do the Garba. The simple steps of Garba are easy to learn, and anyone can accompany them. As it is a dance form done in groups, this also helps you mingle with people easily!
Science and technology:
What makes this city so dear to me is its perfect blend of old and new. While culture is the most important aspect of the city, Science city and ISRO make you believe that a city can be both modern and cultured.
Moreover, both these places are fun to go too!
Ahmedabad does not sleep during the nine days of Navratri. The Garba is imbibed in its culture so profoundly that it is a must-do in any festival. The festivities start with Uttarayan in January, when the city looks beautiful with colourful kites all over the sky, and go on all year long. This season is also famous for the preparation of ‘Undhiyo’, a dish made of a mix of all winter vegetables.
Ahmedabad does not only celebrates local festivals but also enjoys every festival celebrated across the country like Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi and you can even find a typical Bengali style Durga puja pandals at many places during Navratri.
But yes! On any occasion, Garba is a must!
There is even a restaurant called Global Desi where you can enjoy Garba anytime with absolute strangers and become friends in no time.
Being a Bengali, I love the fact that even Saraswati Puja is celebrated here!
One of the best places to visit in Ahmedabad according to me is Gandhiji’s Sabarmati Ashram. Here’s a confession – I was not a big fan of the Mahatma until I visited this ashram. But this place changed it all. The detailed description of every work done by Gandhiji is well explained and backed by pictures in the museum here.
Right from his childhood days to the day he was shot dead, you can see everything in your head while reading them. The small hut where Vinobha Bhave and then Meera Ben lived, Kasturba’s kitchen, Gandhiji’s charkha, everything takes you back in time.
And if you are not a taker of history, it is still the best place to spend some quality time near the Sabarmati river.
The best thing that I feel that happened to me in Ahmedabad was the kite festival.
I would have never been able to meet people from all around the world at one place if this was not there.
Yes, the kites are beautiful but more than that I loved the way kite flyers from every country was fascinated by India. I spoke to many of them, and they love the way India is, especially the people here.
Last but not at all the least, I love the people of Ahmedabad. They will never make you feel like an outsider. Rather if you are not from Ahmedabad, you will be treated as a special guest.
Amdavadis love to help, Amdavadis love to feed a guest and Amdavadis love to love!
I would definitely say that you need to visit this place if you want to experience it all and for that…’Kuch Din to Guzaro Ahmedabad Mein!’
– Manabi Katoch
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