Ahmadabad-Ashram & Architecture
"Our 1st visit"
Even after 2 visits to this city, I cannot make up my mind about it. Ir was so very different from any other place we had been to. The first visit: We stopped here on our way to Rajasthan, wanting to visit the Gandhi Ashram & Museum on the West bank of Sabarmarti River. Our arrival,by train from Mumbai, was uneventful, but once we hit the streets in the taxi.....well, I was terrified.The traffic is crazy....the noise, dust and huge crowds were overwhelming. We were not unused to this....but it was the worst we had yet seen. And the taxi driver would not slow down, even after my plea to "go slow, go slow please!" So, shaken, dirty & tired, we arrived at our accomodation, just opposite the Gandhi Ashram. It was 7am in the morning. We checked in,had breakfast and a much needed sleep.
Having had a lifelong interest in the great man, it was amazing to visit this Ashram & museum. It is set in a peaceful grove on the banks of the river, and has been so well preserved that if Gandhi himself had appeared, I would not have been surpised. We saw his room, with his spinning wheel, bed & sandals...where he ate & where he slept ( he stayed here mainly from 1939 onwards) And this is the place that he set out from on his famous Salt March. This place was not a dissappointment.It was awesome.
The next day we tried to do a walk around, but , and I may be wrong, I don't think that this city is a good place for walking. Somehow, the people seemed tense, and even slightly hostile. I know about the riots that they have had in Gujerat....there is much anger still around. Very few people could or would speak English. We saw maybe 1 handful of foreign tourists. There are many fine old buildings.....many are Muslim, and even some designed by Le Corbusier Museum is one)
Unfortunately, we were caught up in a fracas between two religious groups outside a mosque, and that was frightening. I had had enough.
"We Revisit Ahmadabad"
On our 2nd visit there, 18 months later, (we decided that we should try again to understand the city) it went a lot better. We took a trip out to see the Sun Temple at Modera, which also has a magnificent step-well (baori).and also visited the Law Garden Night Markets ,where beautiful mirror-worked clothing can be bought. Also bags, and appliqued cushion covers. That was a good evening. I had thought that maybe I had been mistaken about the atmosphere of the city on our first visit..........but it felt the same. Which is sad, because we love meeting people, talking to people, and finding out about their lives too.This had never been a problem for us before,in India. Again, there were VERY few tourists around. So, as I said, this city puzzles me..... it has so much potential, and certainly seems to have a good infastructure, for tourism. Maybe they just need to smile more?
We both have a keen interest in architecture,- there are a couple of famous buildings in Ahmedabad(Le Corbusier & Louis Kahn) and we went to find them They are beautifully designed and built, and the grounds were well tended , but heavily guarded.