Most of our wish list remains incomplete without travel planning. We desire to travel to several places and wish to visit them at least once in our lifetime. Although almost all Indian towns have a unique history and distinct architectural sites, the old city of Ahmedabad stands out.
In 2017, the historic city of Ahmedabad made headlines as it was the first-ever Indian city to get the title of UNESCO World Heritage City. Ahmedabad, one of the largest cities of India and the former capital of Gujarat, is known for its world-famous cotton textiles, a wide variety of mouth-watering snacks, diamond cutting, and much more.
If you are a history buff with a strong desire to connect with the past, we have for you a list of some of the most famous sites and landmarks that will take you back to the glorious times of the Gujarat Sultanate.
1. BHADRA FORT
Bhadra Tower at Bhadra Fort Ahmedabad by Saket Lakhia
The centerpiece of Ahmedabad’s walled city is the magnificent Bhadra Fort, which was built as a royal complex in 1411 AD. Built by Sultan Ahmad Shah, the founder of Ahmedabad, the fort housed many royal palaces, mosques, and a public square within its premises. Thus, Bhadra Fort was essentially used as a royal court during the Sultan’s reign. Most of the citadel is designed in Indo-Saracenic styles that is evident from the fine latticework on the intricately carved arches and windows. Carvings of some Islamic inscriptions can also be seen on the arches of the red-stone fort. In the 19th century, a splendid and quite expensive tower clock was installed by the British East India Company and is now a distinguishable feature of the fort.
Today, the fort is one of the most renowned tourist places in Ahmedabad that narrates the story of the city’s glorious past. It is also an important venue for national events such as Republic Day and Independence Day.
2. TEEN DARWAZA
Teen Darwaza by Aviral Mediratta
Teen Darwaza is a major historical landmark in the city. The structure was built in 1415 by Ahmed Shah that acted as the eastern gateway to the Bhadra Fort. It has three arches, hence its name (teen= three, darwaza=entrance). In the hustle and bustle of the city, Teen Darwaza might go unappreciated, but it is associated with legendary historical events.
For instance, it is believed that one night, Goddess Laxmi appeared at the gate of Bhadra Fort to leave the city. Realising that the departure of the Goddess of wealth would also take away the prosperity of the citizens, watchman Siddique Kotwal requested her to not leave the fort until he took the permission of Sultan Ahmad Shah. He went to the king and beheaded himself to keep the Goddess in the walled city. Hence, a lamp in one of the holes in Teen Darwaza is continuously lit for more than six hundred years as a dedication to Goddess Laxmi. Interestingly, it is a Muslim family that ensures it does not extinguish.
Another historical event that Teen Darwaza stands as a testimony to is an inscription decreed by Chimnaji Raghunath, a Maratha governor, in 1812. This inscription in the Devanagari script declared women’s equal right to inherit ancestral property. You can still see the farman intact on one of the pillars of Teen Darwaza. The history and architecture of the entrance gateway are so iconic that the Gujarat government decided to make it the logo of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
3. JAMI MASJID
Jami Masjid by Govind Krishnan
The colossal Jami Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India, built by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1424. Located in the old walled city, this gorgeous mosque stands right outside Bhadra Fort and was constructed to serve as a private shrine to the Sultans. Built in yellow sandstone, this mosque is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The Masjid is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles, having over 260 columns in the main prayer hall, covered by 15 domes. It is believed that the mosque was constructed using the leftover stones from demolished Jain and Hindu temples.
4. JHULTA MINAR
Sidi Bashir Mosque Jhulta Minar
A trip to the historical places in Ahmedabad is incomplete without a visit to Jhulta Minar or Shaking Minarets, an intriguing architectural wonder. They have a striking Islamic architecture fused with Rajputana style that makes them stand out and leave the visitors in awe. However, the most unique feature of these minarets is that if you shake either one of them by a little force, the other one will start vibrating in just a few seconds, but the passage connecting these two minarets remains unaffected. Many experts have tried to unravel the mystery behind the unrelated movements of the minarets, but all in vain.
The 500-year-old structure located was initially a part of the Sidi Bashir Mosque, which was later torn down during a Gujarat Sultanate war. Today, only the minarets and the central gateway exist. Another site in Ahmedabad called the Raj Bibi Mosque also had shaking minarets that were quite similar to those at the Sidi Bashir Mosque. However, one of the minarets was dismantled by the British to understand the science behind it, but sadly it could not be put back together.
5. SIDI SAIYYED MOSQUE
The famous jaali from the Sidi Saiyyed mosque in Ahmedabad by Raveesh Vyas
Walking through the city, one comes across Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, also known as the Sidi Saiyyed Ni Jali, a historical mosque renowned for its stunning architectural beauty. It was constructed in 1573 by Sidi Saiyyid, a respected noble of the Gujarat Sultanate. A unique feature of this religious center is that it has 10 intricately-carved windows adorned with stone latticework on the rear arches and sides. The latticework window carved in the shape of intertwined trees and foliage with a palm motif has been the unofficial symbol of the city and the inspiration for the logo of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
6. RANI NO HAJIRO
Rani No Hajiro
Rani no Hajiro or Mughalai Bibi’s Tomb was built in the 15th century by Sultan Ahmed Shah and served as the last resting place for queens of his empire. Around the Manek Chowk area, a lofty gateway welcomes visitors to this vault of graves. Unlike the other tomb complexes in the city, here, the graves are placed in an open courtyard covered in rich brocade works. The walls surrounding these graves from the outside are magnificently carved out of stones. Moreover, these mausoleums have intricate carvings that are a fusion of Jain, Islamic, and Hindu architectural styles. It is believed that the uncharacteristic construction of an open-air design of the courtyard was built according to the desire of Ahmad Shah’s queen.
7. BADSHAH NO HAJIRO
King Ahmed Shah's Tomb (Badshah no hajiro) by Saket Lakhia
Ahmed Shah’s Tomb, also known as Badshah no Hajiro or Raja no Hajiro, is a medieval mosque. Built in 1446, this tomb is among the popular tourist spots of the city due to its exquisite architecture. The mosque is located outside the eastern gate of Jama Masjid and its architecture is in the shape of a square with porticos around it. The windows are perforated, and the carvings on them are fascinating. Ahmed Shah’s son and grandson were also laid to rest at this place. However, women are denied entry in the mosque, and even men are instructed to cover their heads before they enter the tomb.
Pratha Content Writing Intern