Post Diwali weekend we headed to Ahmedabad for a quick delivery of our new car. Looking for things to do, we called the Government sponsored Heritage Walk but like most of the city and market they were closed for 5 day traditional shutdown after Diwali. Coming from Bombay, Ahmedabad is a simpler and smaller city with lots of time on your hand. That's when we got in touch with House of MG which runs its own Heritage Walks for morning and night. We had to reach at 730 AM sharp in the morning and register ourselves at their reception.
Like all ancient cities, Ahmedabad has an old city and a new city and a river dividing the two eras. We started our Heritage Walk at Mangaldas Ni Haveli in the area of Pols in old city. Pols are traditional multistoried housing colonies where large Gujrati joint families lived and carried on their business and traditions generation after generation. Our guide took us through the details of lives in the Pols, the arcades and intricate wooden facades and motifs and the tradition of building Chabootra (Birdhouses) across Ahmedabad.
After we explored the maze of Pols and Khanchas (smaller Pols), we passed the Khetrapal Jain Shrine and the old Ahmedabad Stock Exchange building at Manek Chowk. There is a bustling Zaveri Bazaar (Jeweler’s market) around it and we found one person filtering some waste from the drainage. Our guide told us that this man was trying to find the Gold pieces which are lost with other waste, and he sells them back to the jewelers to earn commission. We saw a piece of gold which he had managed to recover from the drains. I must say a very strange Job Description and I wonder how every industry has its quaint people and odd jobs at the background.
From there we crossed theBadshah no Haziro, (King’s Tomb) and Rani no Haziro (Queen’s Mausoleum) which now runs a market. Then we turned towards,Juma Masjid nestled in the middle of the commercial market yet looking pristine and peaceful in the morning light. Later we passed the Teen Darwaja (the royal entrance) made in yellow sandstone and near it was the landmark woodenChabootra adding to the old city charm and preparing for a city to rise. The walk climaxed with Sidi Sayed’s Mosque famous for its latticework (Jali) windows and stone carvings on the walls. There was a small water tank at the exit where pigeons fluttered around before heading for their daily chores like us and all the others.