While planning a holiday, most people choose destinations that are highly popular. Then they often complain about these so called “touristy” hotspots – too crowded, too expensive, etc. etc. Well, if Ahmedabad is next on your vacation list, then you needn’t worry about any of the above. Not very well-known as the Mecca of tourists, Ahmedabad can still be called untouched and natural.
A bustling business district, Ahmedabad was once the capital of the state of Gujarat. Close to five million people reside in this commercial hub; it is the sixth largest city in India. Despite being contemporary in many ways, Ahmedabad is still considered a culturally rich and grounded place. Family values and tradition are held in high regard in this fancy yet traditional city.
People from all over India visit Ahmedabad for several reasons. Some plan a business-only trip, while others come to meet relatives and friends. Apart from tourists and business crowd, Ahmedabad witnesses a huge student population year after year. Home to the world famous Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad is one of the most coveted destinations in Asia for a post graduate course. And it is no joke getting into any of these institutes; students slog every year for the entrance test, in the hope of getting admission in IIM – A. Alas, most of them are disappointed!
Let us move from the serious academic discussion to something more light-hearted fun. Ahmedabad is most famous for its annual Kite Flying Festival held on 14th January every year. Also known as Makar Sankrati, this event is celebrated to mark the end of winter, as the sun moves into the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the bright blue sky is decorated with kites of all colors, sizes and patters. Everyone from housewives to grandpas, embrace their inner child on this joyous day and fly kites all day long. Relatives and friends from neighboring areas get together and rejoice by participating in the banter and gorging on delicious sweets.
Other Hindu festivities like Rakshabandhan, celebrated by brothers and sisters wherein the brother promises to protect the sister, and the sister expresses her gratitude to her doting brother are also celebrated in full gusto out here. Ganesh Utsav, one of the favorite festivals celebrated across India, is another time when the city of Ahmedabad paints the town red without inhibitions. On the final day of the visarjan, thousands of locals and devotees head towards Sabarmati river and Kankaria lake, to bid farwell to their favorite God.
Simplicity, ethnic rituals and family time, these are few of the things you can expect from this warm city. It is rare to find a destination that offers the unique fusion of traditionalism and modernism. That’s Ahmedabad for you!