Top 19 Things to Do in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

View of old ruins against sky,Ahmedabad,Gujarat,India
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Located on the banks of the picturesque Sabarmati River in Gujarat, Ahmedabad is dotted with historical sites, stuffed with cacophonous markets, and famed throughout India for its delicious street food. In 2017, the walled city of Ahmedabad was declared India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City. If you’re interested in understanding the city’s roots and culture, check out our list of the top things to do in Ahmedabad.

01 of 19

Join an Old City Heritage Walk

Low Angle View Of Buildings In City
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The most atmospheric part of Ahmedabad is the walled city area or old city, set on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati River. A heritage walk through the lanes of the UNESCO-listed Old City is a great way to discover the facets of the city that would otherwise be missed. The early morning heritage walk conducted by Ahmedabad’s Municipal Corporation is one of the best. It lets you delve deep into the local communities where you pay a visit to the pols (interconnected cluster housing characterized by wooden facades, canopied bird feeders, and sprawling courtyards). The tour runs for about two and a half hours.

To avoid the crowds and enjoy the stunning view of Ahmedabad after dark, book an hour-long night tour conducted by the House of MG. It’s available year-round and takes you around the city’s historic neighborhoods. A two-hour Breakfast Heritage Walk, focusing on the Old City, is also offered by the House of MG from October to March.

02 of 19

Wander Around the Bhadra Fort and Teen Darwaja

Bhadra Fort in Ahmedabad, India
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Court Rd, Old City, Bhadra, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001, India

The beating heart of Ahmedabad in its time, the 15th century Bhadra Fort, has the distinction of being the first Muslim structure in the city. It was constructed by the Gujarat Sultanate’s ruler Ahmad Shah I, founder of the Old City, as a royal complex and progressively enlarged and embellished by later rulers. As a result, there are many structures to see inside the fort complex. The Bhadrakali Temple, located within the Azam Khan Sarai palace, is one of the most popular places in the fort complex. It contains a black stone statue of goddess Bhadra Kali (a form of Goddess Shakti), who is believed to be the city's protector. Then there’s a 171-year-old Clock Tower that’s still working.

A short stroll east will take you to Teen Darwaza (three-arched gateway), an architectural landmark in its own right. It served as the gateway to the royal square named Maidan Shah, and royal events were held there. Today, it’s one big marketplace crammed with shops offering everything from ethnic wear to handicrafts, electronics, and household items. While you’re here, visit the nearby Bhatiyar Gali, a meat lover’s paradise. It’s dotted with buzzy stalls and eateries specializing in non-vegetarian food—don’t miss succulent mutton chaap at the ZK Fry Centre, keema samosa at Bera Samosa House, and white chicken and Hyderabadi chicken at Akbari Hotel.

When you tire of exploring, the Victoria Garden is a great place to recharge.

03 of 19

Experience Serenity at a Mosque

Jama Masjid, Mosque, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
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Manek Chowk, 2HFP+HR5, Gandhi Rd, Old City, Danapidth, Khadia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001, India

Over 160 years of Gujarat Sultanate rule (1411-1573) in Ahmedabad left a legacy of fine architecture, with the domes of Ahmedabad’s mosques attesting to the city’s diverse nature. One of the most popular buildings is the 15th century Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) in the Old City area. Architecturally, it’s a unique blend of Islamic, Jain, and Hindu styles, complete with lotus-like carvings and Arabic calligraphy. The 16th century Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, with its filigree-traceried windows, is another interesting stop. It’s about a 10-minute walk south of Friday Mosque. The filigreed window with the tree of life motif is particularly noteworthy and considered the city’s unofficial mascot.

Two more prominent old mosques are less than 15 minutes from Jama Masjid. These are Ahmed Shah’s Mosque and Rani Sipri’s Mosque. The former is the oldest mosque in the city built in the early 1400s for the royal rulers, while the latter was commissioned by Queen Sipri in the early-16th century and has a room containing her tomb. Both the mosques have finely carved lattice screens. Be sure to dress modestly.

04 of 19

Marvel at the Shaking Minarets of Sidi Bashir Mosque

Sidi Bashir Mosque in Ahmedabad
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Kalupur Road Sarangpur, 2HFX+FW7, Laxmi Bazar, Khadia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380002, India

Although much of the 15th century Sidi Bashir Mosque was obliterated by the war in the 18th century, this ancient structure still inspires awe. The surviving remains consist of an arched central gateway flanked by two triple-storied minarets, which are said to be the tallest in the city. Situated between the Sarangpur Gate and Ahmedabad railway station, the minarets are unique. When one is given a gentle push, the other begins to shake automatically, hence the nickname Jhulta Minar. Visitors aren’t allowed to enter the minarets and test these claims but can take a moment to stare up at the richly carved minars with balconies on each story and see if you aren’t left astounded at the architectural ingenuity of the ancient architects

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05 of 19

Enjoy a Street Food Feast at Manek Chowk

Pav bhaji served in Mumbai
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For the best food scene in Ahmedabad, hit the Manek Chowk, located near the Bhadra Fort. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., this city square is dotted with food stalls serving an array of delicious foods. Locals swear by the pav bhaji (rich vegetable curry with buttered bread) at Mahalaxmi Pavbhaji Centre, the chocolate pizza and sandwich at Manek Pizza and Sandwich Centre, and the buttery Gwalior dosa at Balan Dosa Centre. Pick up a kulfi from Asharfi Kulfi to round out an entire day’s snacking.

The mornings and afternoons here are great for browsing the shopping markets when clothes, jewelry, souvenirs, fruits and vegetables, and other household items are sold in abundance. It’s popular with locals as well as tourists.

06 of 19

Visit One Too Many Hindu and Jain Temples

Hutheesing Jain Temple in Ahmedabad
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Ahmedabad has many impressive Jain and Hindu places of worship. Perhaps the most popular temple in the city is the 172-year-old Hutheesing Jain temple. It was built in honor of the 15th Jain tirthankara (spiritual teacher), Dharmanatha. The temple complex includes the main shrine with a marble statue of the presiding deity, over 50 miniature shrines that belong to various Jain saints, and a victory tower called Manasthamba, modeled after those in Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan. However, the structure’s most striking attribute is its front facade, with a jharokha balcony and latticed screens (jalis) that are carved exquisitely.

Another popular temple is the 19th century Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kalupur. It is dedicated to the Hindu deity Nar-Narayan Dev (a form of god Vishnu). The wooden carvings depicting everything, from auspicious symbols, mythical animals, and religious icons to episodes from the mutiny of 1857, are a highlight.

Other temples worth visiting include the Jagannath Temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath (a form of Lord Vishnu) and the Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Tirthdham, which is the replica of the original Vaishno Devi temple in Katra, Jammu Kashmir.

07 of 19

Catch a Glimpse into Life and Times of Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram

Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad
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To learn about Mahatma Gandhi, one of India’s most iconic and respected historical figures, the Sabarmati Ashram, on the west bank of the Sabarmati River, is the perfect educational tool. It was from here that Gandhi led his movement for India’s independence through non-violence. Aside from the sparsely furnished living quarters, the ashram has a museum filled with written documents, photographs, and artifacts that give visitors a window into the life and teachings of Gandhi. There’s a library and a curio shop too, where you can buy authentic Khadi items, key chains, miniature charkhas (traditional spinning wheels), and books on and by Gandhi. On Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday), special events and cultural performances are held here.

08 of 19

Get Educated at a Museum

Ahmedabad is steeped in history and culture, and the museums in the city are fitting tributes to the rich heritage. Visit the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum to see thousands of years’ worth of Indian sculptures, manuscripts, miniature paintings, coins, and more, or the Calico Museum of Textiles to understand the rich textile history of the Indian subcontinent. The latter can be visited with a guided tour only. There are two tours every day, six days a week, and it’s best to book well ahead of time since spots are limited.

Then there’s the charming Patang Kite Museum, paying homage to Gujarat’s lavish tradition of kite making and flying. It is housed within the Sanskar Kendra, a museum that focuses on the history, art, craft, and architecture of Ahmedabad.

If you’re into cars, then Auto World Vintage Car Museum is a must-visit. It houses a mind-blowing collection of automotive vehicles—from the early models of Rolls Royce, Mercedes, and Cadillacs to classic motorcycles and cars of the erstwhile royal families.

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09 of 19

Detach Yourself from the Density of the City at Kankaria Lake

Statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel symbol of 'Statue of Unity' at Kankaria Lake is the second largest lake of Ahmedabad
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The 15th-century Kankaria Lake is an enormously beautiful artificial body of water with a lot to offer when it comes to sights, activities, and experiences. Recreational activities at the lake such as boating, toy train ride, and tethered balloon rides are available to visitors, while the surroundings include a zoo, a children’s park called Balvatika, a miniature kids City, an amusement park, a natural history museum, and a garden called "One Tree Hill" that contains imposing Dutch tombs from the colonial era. There’s also an artificial island named Nagina Wadi in the middle of the lake, accessible via a walkway. Have a picnic there and enjoy the peaceful lakeside atmosphere. There are food carts nearby if you need to refuel. You can spend the whole day here with your family; be mindful of crowds during national holidays and weekends. Don’t miss the evening sound and light show. The lake is closed on Monday.

If you’re around in December, make sure to attend Kankaria Lake Carnival. It’s a seven-day cultural festival that includes folk dances, music, activities for kids, and more.

10 of 19

Eat a Meal to Remember

Mirzapur Rd, opposite City College, Old City, Lal Darwaja, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001, India
Phone +91 79 2550 5033

The New Lucky Restaurant, to the north of Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, is a graveyard restaurant, which is a bit of an unusual choice for a restaurant. It’s erected atop a Muslim cemetery, and you eat your meal amidst the real graves, which according to the owner, Krishnan Kutti, brings good luck. Whether that’s true or not, both locals and tourists come here for its unique setting and delicious food. Do try its bun maska (soft bread with butter) and tea. The restaurant also has a painting gifted by the renowned artist M.F. Hussain himself.

Fancy a rural setting for your meal? Head to Rajwadu or Vishalla; both are styled as a local village and serve authentic Gujarati fare. The latter also houses a museum of ancient utensils called Vechaar, which is worth checking out.

11 of 19

Admire the Carvings on Step Wells

India, Gujarat, Ahmedabad, Dada Harir Vav stepwell
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Step wells are known as vavs in Gujarat, and there are more than 100 of these. While most are dilapidated, some—such as the little-known Dada Harir Vav to the east of the Ahmedabad Old City in Asarwa and the popular Adalaj Ni Vav located about 12 miles north of Ahmedabad in the Gandhinagar district of Gujarat—are better-preserved and worth visiting.

The 520-year-old Dada Harir Vav has a spiral stairway that leads down five levels, past beautifully carved pillars and arches. There are Sanskrit and Arabic scripts carved on the walls, and the step well looks particularly arresting in the late morning when the carving-covered tiers are bathed in sunlight. At the rear of the step well lies a 16th-century Dai Halima Mosque that stands out with its latticed screens. On the other hand, the five-story step Adalaj Ni Vav is known for its Indo-Islamic architecture. The walls are decorated with carvings of deities, ornamental motifs, elephants, musicians and dancers, as well as scenes from mythology and daily life. 

12 of 19

Shop to Your Heart’s Content

Colorful handicrafts for sale in Law Garden. Ahmedabad
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Netaji Rd, Maharashtra Society, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380009, India

Ahmedabad is home to many colorful markets, and you should definitely aim to visit a few. Law Garden Night Market is one of the city’s oldest markets, where vendors stock up on ethnic outfits, handbags, antique jewelry, and home decor items prepared by the skilled artisans in the villages of Gujarat. It’s open daily from 7 p.m. until midnight. Make sure you arrive hungry because it’s nearly impossible to resist the smell of street food like ragda pattice (mashed potato patties with white peas curry) or pani puri (bite-sized fried balls stuffed with potato and tamarind water).

Less than two miles away is Dhalgarwad. This is the place to buy traditional and hand-made fabrics, including prints and weaves from Patan, Jaipur, and several parts of South India.

The 125-year-old Chopda Bazaar of Fernandes Bridge in Old City is one of the best-known places for those with a passion for first editions and rare books. Thousands of new and secondhand books and novels across all genres (including academic books) are piled up for sale.

So, hone your haggling skills and dive in.

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13 of 19

Sleep in a Heritage Hotel

House of MG

Courtesy of House of MG

Immerse yourself in Ahmedabad’s rich cultural heritage by staying in a heritage hotel. There are plenty to choose from. If you want to be in the thick of the action, book a suite at the House of MG, a 20th-century haveli (mansion) turned boutique hotel, or check into the 19th-century Divans Bungalow. The former is celebrated for the authentic experiences it provides to its guests, which include several walking tours. To feel like a local, stay at 150-year-old French Haveli located in the heart of one of the Old City’s pols.

14 of 19

Catch a Flick on the Outdoor Big Screen

Looking for a fun night out? Go to Sunset Drive-In Cinema located on the Drive-In Road. It has been around since the 1970s, making it the oldest drive-in cinema in India, and it also boasts the title of “largest open-air screen in Asia”—so you know it’s going to be a great experience. It features a huge screen with a Dolby surround sound system and a 665-car capacity. They play movies most days of the week, and there are two shows a day, at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Visitors can watch the film from the shaded seating area outside or the comfort of their vehicle. Plus, there’s a food court, and a huge garden, making it a fun place for the whole family.

15 of 19

Check Out an Underground Art Gallery

Amdavad ni Gufa, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
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Amdavad ni Gufa, University Area, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380009

Located within the ground of CEPT University, Amdavad ni Gufa is a work of art in itself, thanks to its Modern Blobitecture style. It’s basically an art gallery that is situated below the ground. For its design, architect Balkrishna Doshi drew inspiration from the Ajanta and Ellora caves. Inside, it’s a cavern-like space filled with artworks by the legendary Indian artist M. F. Hussain. Much of the works have been painted on the walls and ceilings just like cave paintings. It’s open daily, except Mondays and public holidays, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Go for the art and architecture, but stay for a light meal since the above-ground Zen Cafe is excellent.

16 of 19

Stroll Along the Sabarmati Riverfront

An evening at the Sabarmati riverfront/Ahmedabad/India
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Sabarmati Riverfront Walkway East, 2HFG+9MJ, Lal Darwaja, Old City, Lal Darwaja, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001, India
Phone +91 79 2658 0430

The Sabarmati Riverfront is a waterfront promenade along the banks of the namesake river. Visitors can jog, stroll or cycle along this 7-mile stretch and enjoy people-watching and river views along the way. Plus, there are food kiosks, parks and gardens, and markets to explore nearby. The sunset or a night view at the riverfront presents fascinating photo opportunities. For the full experience, take a boat ride along the west bank of the river.

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17 of 19

Attend a Festival

People enjoying Kite flying on Uttrayan (Makar Sankranti), Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
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For an added dose of local culture, visit Ahmedabad during a festival. The International Kite Festival in mid-January is one of the biggest events in Gujarat. It is part of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti (harvest festival) and is held at the Sabarmati Riverfront. There are kite flying and painting competitions, kite-making workshops, and aerial acrobats. This popular festival attracts kite flyers from across the world.

Other festivals worth traveling to Ahmedabad for are the 13-day long Saptak Annual Festival of Music in January and the nine-day Sharad Navratri in late September or early October. The latter is a celebration of the nine forms of goddess Durga, while the former is a celebration of Indian classical and folk music.

18 of 19

Visit the Acropolis of Ahmedabad

India, Gujarat, Ahmedabad, Sarkhej Roza tomb
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Post Jeevraj Park, Sarkhej Makarba Rd, Makarba, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380051, India

Four miles southwest of Ahmedabad, in Makarba village, is Sarkhej Roza, a vast sprawl of time-scarred monuments dating to the mid-15th century. It is popularly known as the ‘Acropolis of Ahmedabad,’ and one of the remarkable features is its architecture, a magnificent blend of Islamic, Hindu, Jain, and Persian influences.

Must-sees include the shrine of the Sufi mystic Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh (Ahmad Shah I’s spiritual advisor) that features a huge central dome, the Jama Masjid located beside the shrine, and the royal tombs of the kings and queens of Gujarat Sultanate, with their walls adorned with intricately carved jalis. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and admission is free. Get here by auto rickshaw from the Old City center.

19 of 19

Take a Day Trip

White throated Kingfisher perched on top of a small stump looking for a prey while the sun shines bright on it at Nalsarovar bird sanctuary, Gujarat
Shweta Shah / Getty Images

While Ahmedabad has a great deal to keep visitors captivated, taking a day trip outside the city will add some variety to your travels. For a peaceful spiritual encounter, visit Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, less than 40 minutes from Ahmedabad. It’s a vast temple complex that belongs to the Hindu Swaminarayan group. The highlight is its five exhibition halls that feature high-tech multimedia displays on the 18th-century mystic Swaminarayan’s life and teachings and the Hindu epics.

Fascinated about dinosaurs? Make way to the dinosaur and fossil section of Indroda Nature Park in Gandhinagar, less than 35 minutes north of Ahmedabad. It’s filled with dinosaur remains.

The Thol Bird Sanctuary, less than one hour from Ahmedabad, and the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, about one hour and 35 minutes southwest of Ahmedabad, are ideal for bird-watching. More than 150 types of birds can be seen at Thol, while the latter is home to more than 250 species of migratory birds. Combine the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary with a visit to Lothal (25 miles south), one of Gujarat's most extensively excavated Indus Valley Civilization sites. There’s a museum at the site filled with items from that period. It’s open daily except for Fridays. Find more day trip options in our pick of the top attractions and places to visit in Gujarat.

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Top 19 Things to Do in Ahmedabad, Gujarat