When my husband said we are taking kids to Ahmedabad on a surprise holiday, I was shocked. I know the city is well-connected, is an industrial hub and then there is the Sabarmati river. “But are they enough to go there on a holiday? What are the other places to visit in Ahmedabad?” I asked my husband. He just smiled in response. Only after visiting the place did I understand the meaning behind that smile.
Ahmedabad, the erstwhile capital of Gujarat state in India, may not be a tourist spot, but has several places to keep children happy and bubbling with excitement. A survey commissioned by the Times of India(1) has voted Ahmedabad as the best city to live in India. MomJunction tells you about the most important places to visit in this city.
Famous Places To Visit In Ahmedabad:
1. Jama Masjid:
You can consider it as a smaller cousin of Jama Masjid in Delhi; however, it does not take away the brilliance of this wonderfully built mosque. Built in 1424, it was considered as the most beautiful and imposing architecture at the time, it was constructed, and it remains one of the best to places to visit in Ahmedabad. The best time to visit Jama Masjid with the kids is the early hours of the morning when the bright reflection of the sun falls on the gigantic open courtyard.
Jama Masjid is an imposing monument, with its massive arched gateways and 300 pillars supporting the 15 domes of the monument. The man who commissioned the building of the Mosque, Sultan Ahmed Shah, was a progressive leader who also founded Ahmedabad and hence you will also find a special chamber dedicated to the ladies. Graves of Sultan Ahmed Shah, his son and grandson lie to the next of the mosque in a complex. You can also take your kids to visit Rani Sipri’s Mosque, which is just a short walk from the Jama Masjid.
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2. Sabarmati Ashram:
One of the most famous places in Ahmedabad, and even India. Modern Indian history is incomplete without mentioning the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. That is why; whosoever comes to Ahmedabad, always visits Sabarmati Ashram, the tranquil and spiritual abode of the great Mahatma. It is probably top of the list among ‘Ahmedabad tourist places’. It is also one of the most visited tourist spots in the city and indeed a must visit if you want your kids to learn something about our history and legendary people. It is the place from where many freedom movements were initiated and was supposed to be the home to many freedom fighters during those days.
The ‘Mahatma Gandhi Museum’ displays various letters, photographs and articles related to Gandhiji and the freedom struggle of India and are worth a visit with your kids. Make sure that you have done some homework in this regard because anxious kids are bound to ask you so many questions during your visit to this museum that they will expect you to answer. It is advisable to take a guide for a complete tour of the Sabarmati Ashram who will take you to the ‘Hriday Kunj’, the library bookshop and the walk on the banks of river Sabarmati that also offers all kinds of water rides and activities.
3. Sabarmati Riverfront:
Once you are at Sabarmati Ashram, your kids will probably force you to visit the Sabarmati riverfront, and you should give in to their demands. The riverfront is a few of the worth-visiting places in Ahmedabad. Ideal for a lazy evening stroll, you can visit the place anytime. With paved embankment on both the sides of the river, the Riverfront project is to be built in two phases and will have skyscrapers on either side of the town just like Singapore.
It is one of the most ambitious and progressive projects of India and with its breezy and cool atmosphere, you will find it to be just perfect for unwinding and enjoying a break.
4. Exquisite Architecture of Sidi Saiyyed Mosque:
For architect lovers this is one of the most prominent tourist attraction and an Amazing historical place in Ahmadabad to visit! At the first sight, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque looks like just another mosque located in the midst of a busy traffic junction. A closer observation offers a glimpse of some of the most brilliant artworks. The jail windows adorning the rear and side walls of the mosque resemble the interwoven trees of palm also a rare combination of classical and Muslim art. The latticework exhibiting trees with lofty branches hanging and the detailed floral carvings in the background leaves you mesmerized.
The overall architectural beauty and craftsmanship denote a high level of artistic vision, and that is why the IIM Ahmedabad illumines decided to use this as the logo of the IIM Ahmedabad institution from this architecture. If you want to introduce your kids to the brilliance and exceptional talent of the Indian artisans.
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5. Heritage Walk:
How long it has been since you have walked with your kids hand in hand and had a quiet but interesting tour of a place. Well, if you have been missing those tender moments, Heritage Walk will certainly make you aware of what you have been yearning for. The luxury of walking with your kids works as a therapy and helps to improve your bonding. Old Ahmedabad’s narrow lanes with famous Ahmedabadi Pols, temples and houses more than 300 years old unravels before you the lifestyle of people almost three centuries back.
The Heritage Walk is highly enlightening for both you and your kids who can learn a lot about the Indian culture, way of life and art. The Walk starts from the Kalupur Swaminarayan Temple at 8 am sharp, and the final destination is Jama Masjid. Popularly known as the ‘Mandir se masjid tak’, the Heritage walk is an effort to conserve the precious heritage of old Ahmedabad. Constructed by the Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad, one of the major attractions along the walk is a 400-year-old Jain Temple that was built underground to preserve it from destruction at the hands of the generals of the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb.
6. City Museum:
The City Museum is located at the Sanskar Kendra or Paldi’s museum building in the southwestern area of the city, which is one of the affluent areas of Ahmedabad. Designed by the architect Le Corbusier, the museum depicts culture, architecture, history and art of the city.
Designed in the Modernist style, it was earlier a part of the Cultural Center of Ahmedabad, which houses a pavilion and different areas depicting different subjects such as natural history, anthropology, monumental sculptures, archeology, depots, workshops and folklore performances in the open. It also had a theater known as miracle box.
7. The Kite Museum:
The Kite Museum is also a part of the City Museum. Ahmedabad and the whole of Gujarat is known for its fetish for kites. Therefore, you should not be surprised when you find out a complete complex donated for just kites. The galore of kite varieties in the museum will surely leave you enchanted and inspired. The entire museum dedicated to the kites displays some of the rarest kinds of kites in the world, and it is first of its kind of Museum in India.
A brainchild of Mr. Bhanu Shah, an avid collector of kites, who donated his collection to the Kite Museum, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation arranged a permanent place in the cellar of the Sanskar Kendra to ensure that the collection gets wide appreciation and is preserved properly. Apart from some of the rarest kites from the collection of Mr. Shah, the museum also houses some huge kites measuring around 22 by 16 feet. Some of the kites depict the mirror work, garba dance and traditional folk sequences, which is indeed very artistic.
You will also see few miniature Radha-Krishna paintings in the museum. The kids will love to explore this part of the Sanskar Kendra where you will also find kites made from a variety of materials including paper, cotton, nylon, and polyethene. The museum also exhibits a colorful hexagonal Japanese kite-Rokoku. Another major highlight is a 400-meter kite made from different paper pieces.
8. Kankaria Lake:
Kankaria is the largest lake with beautiful gates and an island garden; this beauty makes it an ideal tourist place in Ahmedabad to visit with families and kids. Constructed by the Sultan Qutb-ud-Din in 1451, the polygonal lake has a circumference of around a mile. With 34 sides and 1.25 km circuit, the lake is considered a historical monument in Gujarat. It has steps that lead down to the water with the eastern side offering an elaborately carved inlet and three circular openings. The highlight of the Kankaria Lake is an artificial island having a pavilion known as Naginavadi.
The pathway around the Lake is one of the best places to walk around in the city, and the sides are lined up with food stalls and stages offering informal entertainment. If your kids have been missing the glitter and sensation while visiting the historical places, the light and water show at the Lake are sure to enchant them to the hilt. The best time to visit is evening hours when the lights around dance in the water giving it a divine appearance. Kankaria Lake offers a wide range of entertainment for the kids, including zoo, toy train, natural history museum, an open theater and ‘Bal Vatika’ a special garden for the children.
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9. Law Garden Night Market:
Ahmedabad comes alive at night, and if you want your kids to know the true nightlife of Ahmedabad, the Law Garden Market is the place to visit. It is among the few places places to visit in Ahmedabad, which encapsulates the spirit of the city. It is a fun place, where you will find loads of ethnic stuff, including Kurtis, ghagra-cholis, decorated sari blouses with mirror work, traditional long skirts, costume jewelry, embroidered wall hangings and much more. Herein you will find various textiles decorated with intricate embroidery and mirror works and the street is one of the busiest in the city.
Apart from the ensembles and clothes, a major attraction is the street food. The Maska Paav and lehsun chatni and other Gujarati delectables are a treat to both adults and kids. You can also find some Kachchh and Saurashtra glittering wares lined up along the streets.
This evening market jam packed with stalls, selling all varieties of ethnic and traditional things will make you go mad; very famous attraction! If you want to experience the authenticity then never miss this place to visit in Ahmedabad when you are there!
10. Manek Chowk:
Every city has its hotspot, and one of best places in Ahmedabad is Manek Chowk. Located in the central square of The Pols, the oldest district of Ahmedabad, it is the liveliest market in the city where you will find all traditional food items, spices, fruits and kitchen and steel utensils. It is also an ideal place to purchase bright Indian fabrics.
The Central Plaza in the vicinity houses some of the well-known gold and silver shops that display modern and traditionally designed jewelry ideal for wedding and formal occasions. Come night and you will find the whole street crowded as it is transformed into a mini street restaurant. The chairs, vendor booths and tables spring up during the evening hours in the busy street to serve the hungry fabric mill workers. Kids will love some of the most sumptuous treats such as the cheese sandwiches, cheese and chocolate pizza and pineapple and chocolate sandwiches. Mind you, the place peps up around 10’0 clock in the night so make sure that your kids have slept enough in the morning so that they can enjoy the treats on this street until the wee hours.
11. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Smarak Bhavan:
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Smarak Bhavan was established in 1978 and includes interactive exhibits, artifacts belonging to Sardar Patel. The museum is among the best places in Ahmedabad. It houses two multimedia halls that highlight various aspects of the life and work of Sardar Patel. Information is available in three languages, including Hindi, Gujarat, English so that everyone can understand the depth of his work and important milestones in his life in detail.
3D sound is the best highlight of the museum apart from other special effect mediums such as laser show that depicts the ancient and medieval history of India. The narration is concentrated upon Mother India and includes a detailed story of the Vedic period, the Mughal era, foreign invasion, the British domination and freedom struggle. If you are in Ahmedabad with your kids, you should certainly take them to visit the museum and make them view this laser show. It is a unique way of retelling the history of the country and one the kids would always remember. The show makes use of an innovative blend of the 3D building mapping projection technique, sound and light effects and laser projection. Effective voice narration enhances the impact further.
12. Dada Hari Ni Vav:
Since old times, Gujarat has faced water paucity due to which you will find elaborate measures been taken by the people of those times to preserve water to ensure adequate water supply during drought. Dada Hari Ni Vav is a well with 120 steps and one of the places of interest in Ahmedabad. Vavs or the step wells are built around the well, and one can reach the bottom of the well by descending through these steps. Located at Asarva and built around 1499 AD, the well is a proof of the intelligence and architectural knowledge of ancient Indians. The well is around 500 years old and was built by a woman during the reign of Sultan Mehmud Begda for providing cool water to the travelers and a place to relax.
The well is named as Dada Hari as it is placed next to the tomb of Dada Hari and is an exclusive heritage monument. If you want your kids to know the life and work culture of your ancestors, you should bring them to this seven-storey step-well near Ahmedabad, which displays a superfine blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. It is a great treat for the young learners with its decorated arches, ornate columns and Sanskrit and Arabic scriptures engraved on the 500- year -old walls of the octagonal shaped well.
13. Lal Darwaja:
Lal Darwaja is among one of the many shopping places in Ahmedabad. Also known as, the Gateway to Ahmedabad, the place has many shops on the streets that offer a wide range of decorative items, Gujarati traditional clothes and street foods at cheaper rates. Here you can buy toys and fancy things for your kids. But, beware of the shopkeepers who can ask for hefty prices. Always bargain before making the purchase. Usually, you can expect a product of Rs.500 to be offered at Rs.200 after a bit of bargaining.
Make sure that you are not duped as Lal Darwaja is also known for duplicate products. Also, safeguard your cash and pockets as the incidences of petty thefts are quite high in these areas.
14. Vastrapur Lake:
Situated in the western area of Ahmedabad, Vastrapur Lake is like a jewel in the crown of Ahmedabad. The Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad renovated it in 2002 to enhance its attraction and make it one of the prime tourist spots of the city. The lake is quite popular among the regular walkers of the city and offers excellent facilities.
Many people visit the lake every weekend. The entertainment quotient is added to the children’s park and open-air theater. Many cultural events take place on the lush green lawns in the surroundings of the Vastrapur Lake. When the Narmada River is flooded, it is allowed to flow into the lake. You can take a stroll in the pretty gardens around the lake, the kids can find enchantment in exploring the wide variety of flora, and fauna scattered around the garden with the creative stonework art peeping in between.
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15. Lalabhai Dalpatbhai Museum:
The Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum offers a great display of Indian sculptures, drawings, paintings, manuscripts, miniature paintings, woodworks, bronzes, coins and bead works. The museum has a vast collection of unique sculpture as all types of regional styles belonging to the entire subcontinent of India are exhibited here.
Some of the most outstanding artifacts include the largest Buddha head from the fifth century in stucco from Gandhara, a cult image of Lord Rama belonging to the Gupta times from Deogarh, MP, a bronze image of Lord Adinath, a rare Matrika Indrani figure from Shamlaji, Gujarat and many more. Take a guide to tour the complete museum as it has so much information to offer. With the kids along, you will be able to introduce them to some of the fascinating exhibits of art and culture and also generate interest in them about the various art forms currently prevalent.
Special Kids Entertainment Zones in Ahmedabad:
There are many more museums in Ahmedabad and other places of interest in Ahmedabad. However, if you are traveling with very young kids, the following places may be worth a visit!
1. Shreyas Museum:
The museum has two sections; one is entirely dedicated to Folk Art whereas the other one houses wide range of toys. With the wide range of foliage, dense trees and peacocks dancing around, the kids will simply love this place.
2. Children Traffic Park:
Learning while playing is the best way to teach children and this traffic park offers just the right opportunity. Created by the AMC, a nice park educates the children about the traffic rules and safety. The kids are allowed to bicycle along the park to understand the driving and navigation in the traffic.
3. Vechaar, Vishalla Restaurant:
The restaurant theme is about the old age vessels and the way our ancestors used them. Here the kids can enjoy some of the authentic Gujarati dishes.
4. Auto World Museum:
If your kids love playing with car toys, then this is the place where you can take them. The museum offers something of joy to everyone and has a display of a full range of well-kept vintage cars. The kids can touch, feel and open the cars and can enjoy the sensational experience of being with one of the oldest cars in the world. Moreover, the museum also offers a vintage car ride.
5. Kids City At Kankaria:
The Kankaria Kids City is a great learning center for kids above five years of age and provides hands-on experience for the kids in various disciplines.
All these and more such as the Science City or the Laser Water Show make a visit to Ahmedabad with the kids a fun-filled and unforgettable experience. We hope you liked our list of places to visit in Ahmedabad. If you know of any more places to visit near Ahmedabad, or you think we could add some more destinations to our list, tell us below. Leave a comment here.