Ahmedabad is the largest city and former capital of Gujarat. It is the administrative headquarters of the Ahmedabad district and the seat of the Gujarat High Court. With a population of more than 6.3 million and an extended population of 7.2 million, it is the sixth largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area of India. Ahmedabad is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, 30 km (19 mi) from the state capital Gandhinagar.
Ahmedabad has emerged as an important economic and industrial hub in India. It is the second largest producer of cotton in India, and its stock exchange is the country’s second oldest. Cricket is a popular sport in Ahmedabad, which houses the 54,000-seat Sardar Patel Stadium. The effects of liberalisation of the Indian economy have energized the city’s economy towards tertiary sector activities like commerce, communication and construction. Ahmedabad’s increasing population has resulted in an increase in the construction and housing industries resulting in recent development of skyscrapers.
In 2010, it was ranked third in Forbes’s list of fastest growing cities of the decade. In 2012, The Times of India chose Ahmedabad as the best city to live in in India. As of 2014, Ahmedabad’s estimated gross domestic product was $119 billion.
Ahmedabad has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission
The area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashaval (or Ashapalli). At that time, Karandev I, the Solanki ruler of Anhilwara (modern Patan), waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval, and established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati. Solanki rule lasted until the 13th century, when Gujarat came under the control of the Vaghela dynasty of Dholka. Gujarat subsequently came under the control of the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century. However, by the earlier 15th century, the local governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar established his independence from the Delhi Sultanate and crowned himself Sultan of Gujarat as Muzaffar Shah I, thereby founding the Muzaffarid dynasty. This area finally came under the control of his grandson Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D. who while at the banks of Sabarmati liked the forested area for a new capital city and laid the foundation of a new walled city near Karnavati and named it Ahmedabad after the four saints in the area by the name Ahmed. According to other sources, he named it after himself. Ahmed Shah I laid the foundation of the city on 26 February 1411 (at 1.20 pm, Thursday, the second day of Dhu al-Qi’dah, Hijri year 813) at Manek Burj. He chose it as the new capital on 4 March 1411.
Ahmedabad lies at 23.03°N 72.58°E in western India at 53 metres (174 ft) above sea level on the banks of the Sabarmati river, in north-central Gujarat. It covers an area of 464 km2 (179 sq mi). The Sabarmati frequently dried up in the summer, leaving only a small stream of water, and the city is in a sandy and dry area. However with the execution of the Sabarmati River Front Project and Embankment, the waters from the Narmada river have been diverted to the Sabarmati to keep the river flowing throughout the year, thereby eliminating Ahmedabad’s water problems. The steady expansion of the Rann of Kutch threatened to increase desertification around the city area and much of the state; however, the Narmada Canal network is expected to alleviate this problem. Except for the small hills of Thaltej-Jodhpur Tekra, the city is almost flat. Three lakes lie within the city’s limits—Kankaria, Vastrapur and Chandola. Kankaria, in the neighbourhood of Maninagar, is an artificial lake developed by the Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, in 1451.
Ahmedabad has a hot, semi-arid climate, with marginally less rain than required for a tropical savanna climate. There are three main seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Aside from the monsoon season, the climate is extremely dry. The weather is hot from March to June; the average summer maximum is 40 °C (104 °F), and the average minimum is 27 °C (81 °F). From November to February, the average maximum temperature is 30 °C (86 °F), the average minimum is 15 °C (59 °F), and the climate is extremely dry. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill in January. The southwest monsoon brings a humid climate from mid-June to mid-September. The average annual rainfall is about 800 millimetres (31 in), but infrequent heavy torrential rains cause local rivers to flood and it is not uncommon for droughts to occur when the monsoon does not extend as far west as usual. The highest temperature in the city was recorded on May 18 and 19, 2016 which was 50 °C (122 °F).
Ahmedabad observes a wide range of festivals. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan, an annual kite-flying day on 14 and 15 January. Nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba, the most popular folk dance of Gujarat, at venues across the city. The festival of lights, Deepavali, is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, decorating the floors with rangoli, and the lighting of firecrackers. The annual Rath Yatra procession on the Ashadh-sud-bij date of the Hindu calendar at the Jagannath Temple and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are important events.
One of the most popular forms of meal in Ahmedabad is a typical Gujarati thali which was first served commercially by Chandvilas Hotel in 1900. It consists of roti (Chapati), dal, rice and shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes with curry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted papads. Beverages include buttermilk and tea; sweet dishes include laddoo, mango, and vedhmi. Dhoklas, theplas and dhebras are also very popular dishes in Ahmedabad.
There are many restaurants, which serve a wide array of Indian and international cuisines. Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city’s Jain and Hindu communities. The first all-vegetarian Pizza Hut in the world opened in Ahmedabad. KFC has a separate staff uniform for serving vegetarian items and prepares vegetarian food in a separate kitchen, as does McDonald’s. Ahmedabad has a quite a few restaurants serving typical Mughlai non-vegetarian food in older areas like Bhatiyar Gali, Kalupur and Jamalpur.
Manek Chowk is an open square near the centre of the city that functions as a vegetable market in the morning and a jewellery market in the afternoon. However, it is better known for its food stalls in the evening, which sell local street food. It is named after the Hindu saint Baba Maneknath. Parts of Ahmedabad are known for their folk art. The artisans of Rangeela pol make tie-dyed bandhinis, while the cobbler shops of Madhupura sell traditional mojdi (also known as mojri) footwear. Idols of Ganesha and other religious icons are made in huge numbers in the Gulbai Tekra area. The shops at the Law Garden sell mirror work handicraft.
Ahmedabad is one of six operating divisions in the Western Railway zone. Railway lines connect the city to towns in Gujarat and major Indian cities. Ahmedabad railway station, locally known as Kalupur station is the main terminus with 11 others.
The mass-transit metro system, MEGA for the cities of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar is under construction since March 2015. The North-South and East-West corridors are expected to complete by 2019.
National Highway 8, linking Delhi to Mumbai, passes though Ahmedabad and connects it with Gandhinagar, Delhi and Mumbai. The National Highway 8C also links Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar. It is connected to Vadodara through National Expressway 1, a 94 km (58 mi) long expressway with two exits. This expressway is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project.
In 2001, Ahmedabad was ranked as the most polluted city in India, out of 85 cities, by the Central Pollution Control Board. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board gave auto rickshaw drivers an incentive of ?10,000 to convert all 37,733 auto rickshaws in Ahmedabad to cleaner burning compressed natural gas to reduce pollution. As a result, in 2008, Ahmedabad was ranked as 50th most polluted city in India.
Janmarg is a bus rapid transit system in the city. It is operated by Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited, a subsidiary of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and others.It was inaugurated in October 2009. The network expanded to 89 kilometres (55 mi) by December 2015 with daily ridership of 1,32,000 passengers. The Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS), maintained by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, runs the public bus service in the city. At present, AMTS has more than 750 buses serving the city.