Traversing the old city

A walk down the old city to discover the fascinating monuments that have been built in various places

WORDS: TEAM URBAN VAASTU

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The 600-year-old city of Ahmedabad is known to carry some of the finest Indian-Islamic monuments, alongside Hindu and Jain temples. To experience this magnificent history to the fullest one should sign-up for the Heritage Walk of the ‘Walled City.’
The Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad was launched by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in association with CRUTA Foundation, an NGO, during the World Heritage Week in November 1997.

The purpose of the walk is to unveil the unique architectural tradition.
It takes you through a quick walk of the old city and the numerous ‘pols,’ and self-contained neighbourhoods. Some of these ‘pols’ are virtually small villages, traversed by narrow lanes, usually terminating in squares (Chowks) comprising ‘community wells’ and ‘Chabutro’ (for feeding birds).

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Swaminarayan temple, Kalupur
Swaminarayan is the first temple of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, a Hindu sect. The gateway of the temple blends the local, regional and British styles of architecture, with the costumes reflecting Marathi and Rajasthani folk cultures. The statues of women wearing the frilled blouses and petticoats, carrying their children on their waists depict traditional Gujarati women.

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Kavi Dalpatram chowk
At the Kavi Dalpatram chowk is a sculpture of the Gujarati poet after whom the square is named. Being a reproduction façade, it marks the spot where his house stood during the 19th century. A well preserved 100-year-old Chabutra, with a granary cleverly built on the base attracts the descendants of the pigeons the poet perhaps fed. The statue is made of bronze and weighs 120 kg.

Calico Dome
A geodesic dome, it was inspired by the Buckminster Fuller, and was set up in 1962. After a collapse about four years ago, it is now being reconstructed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

Kuvavala Khancha
An intersection with adjacent walls near Shantinathji ni Pol, it features four homes opposite each other carrying elements of Persian, Mughal, Maratha and European architecture reflecting the respective time periods with the emblems of the earlier owners above the door.

Rani No Haziro
Built in the 15th century, it is close to Ahmed Shah’s tomb. Its walls are fitted with carved stone screens.

Badshah no Hajiro
Also known as Ahmad Shah’s Tomb, it is near the Jama Mosque and Manek Chowk. It features a large centre dome and four chambers with a small dome on top. Jallis, or carved stone screen, light up the chambers.

Jama Mosque
Built in 1424 with yellow standstone, it features three entrances. The prayer hall occupies the fourth side. The central domes are carved like lotus flowers, closely related to the domes of Jain Temples.

Kala Ramji mandir
A 350-year-old temple at Haji Patel ni Pol, it is a Grade-1 heritage temple of Lord Rama. The idol is in sitting posture and made of black marble stone, a rarity. It is a “Haveli Mandir” with one part being a temple while the rest is used for residential purposes.

Jagvallabh Mandir at Nisha Pol
The Jagballav Mandir in the Nisha pol is almost four centuries old. The rose woodcarvings inside are beautiful and the vegetable colours used are still resplendent. The idol here is the 6 foot Jain Tirthankar Jagvallabh Sahastrafana Parshwanath.

Zaveri Vad
This place is a personification of the rich legacy of Jain conviction and dedication. It is named after the Seth Shantidas Zaveri who was mistreated by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. The idol of first Jain Tirthankar Lord Rishabhnath here is 6 ft high.

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