A tangled mass of factories, mosques, temples and skyscrapers, Gujarat’s commercial hub, Ahmedabad (pronounced “Amdavad”), sprawls along the banks of the River Sabarmati, about 90km from its mouth in the Bay of Cambay. With an extended population of more than 7.2 million, it is the state’s largest city (and was the capital until it was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970) and India’s sixth largest – and a metropolis of appalling pollution, dreadful congestion and outbreaks of communal violence.

However, its mix of medieval and modern makes Ahmedabad a compelling place to explore – a wander through the bazaars of the old city is particularly rewarding. The city is packed with diverse architectural styles throughout, with more than fifty mosques and tombs, plus Hindu and Jain temples and grand step-wells (vavs). The Calico Museum of Textiles is one of the world’s finest, while Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram is a must-see for anyone with an interest in the Mahatma.

In 2002, a controversial canal project diverted water from the River Narmada into the Sabarmati, which previously had virtually dried up outside the monsoon. This has given the city a cooler feel, but Ahmedabad, which has been plagued by high carbon monoxide levels in the past, has a long way to go before it can breathe easily.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Modernity is seeping into Old Delhi, a walled district that has long harboured the Indian capital’s traditional ways of life. But what does this mean for long…

11 Dec 2017 • Jack Palfrey local_activity Special feature
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right