By Prakhar Patidar
Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat, is the only other heritage city of India apart from Jaipur to grab a spot on the UNESCO list of world heritage. It was the first city of India to be included in the list. Set on both sides of the Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat.
Ahmedabad is a beautiful cocktail of ancient architecture and masterful urban planning. On the eastern side of the river is the old town that boasts mosques and buildings that were built hundreds of years ago. The neighborhood is marked by pols that signify the ancient system of community-based housing. In the olden times, the city was also guarded by a wall on all sides with 12 points of entry. Today, only these gates remain standing. The foundation of the city was laid in the 11th century by the Solanki dynasty.
Till 1411, the city was ruled by king Karandev I, the Solanki ruler, and was called Karnavati. After it was conquered by Sultan Ahmad Shah, the name was changed to Ahmedabad. It is under Ahmad Shah's rule Ahmedabad adopted a unique artistic style that took inspiration from earlier Indian traditions of art and that of Persian architecture.
The result of this was the development of a unique Indo-Saracenic style that is evident in the architecture from that era. The city expanded and enjoyed the status of being the royal capital for 162 years till the Independent Sultanate of Gujarat was sustained. There was a decline in the city's prosperity under the Mughal rule due to weak kingship. In the 18th century, the city came under the wing of the Maratha kingdom, ruled under the joint jurisdiction of the Peshwas and the Gaekwads.
On the western side is the urban part of the city speedily moving towards metropolitan developments. Because of a highly active port and flourishing textile industry, Ahmedabad also earned the title of 'Manchester of East. During the freedom struggle, the city attained newfound importance as the center point of all Gandhian activities.
Karnavati later named Ahmedabad, has seen the rise and fall of various democracies and has been the heart of India's freedom struggle. From this rich history, the city has weaved for itself a beautiful cultural fabric that vouches for Ahmedabad's heritage status.
Keywords: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, history, heritage cities