Soaking in the grandeur

Travel tales

Soaking in the grandeur

Travelling to a new city for the first time can be an exciting experience indeed. I was really eager to explore and make the most of my trip when I happened to visit Ahmedabad in January this year.  I stayed at my friend’s place and had a good time there.

Ahmedabad has a rich history and heritage. It was ruled by the Mughals, the Marathas and the British. It is the land of the freedom movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.

The Sabarmati Ashram was the first place that I visited. It is situated in the suburbs on the banks of River Sabarmati. I enjoyed the pleasant morning breeze and the tranquil atmosphere of the place. Mahatma Gandhi lived here with his wife Kasturba for 12 years. The Dandi March began from this place heralding the beginning of the Indian freedom movement.

The place also has a well-designed museum which history lovers can enjoy. Designed by Charles Correa, the museum houses lifesized paintings, photo enlargements and letters that depict the events which took place during Gandhiji’s lifetime. Hriday Kunj, the abode of Gandhi, has his personal relics.

A few kilometres away from the city is an architectural marvel in a small place called Adalaj. It is a beautiful, intricately carved stepwell belonging to the 15th century. One has to see this exquisitely crafted stepwell to admire the engineering prowess of the bygone era. Travelling a few kilometres on the same route, I visited the famous Akshardham, a beautiful Hindu temple with a sprawling, well- maintained garden. This place is not to be missed, especially by those with a spiritual inclination.

Since I am a nature lover, I decided to visit the famous bird sanctuary, Nal Sarovar. It is about 60 kilometres from Ahmedabad near Sanand village. We started before dawn so that we could get to see the migratory birds. There was chaos at the ticket office. One has to bargain with the local fishermen before hopping onto a boat.

As the sun rose, the magic of mother nature unfolded in front of us. The sky was like a beautiful painting with several shades and colours. The lake came alive with thousands of birds floating and flying across. We were absolutely mesmerised by the beauty of nature. Having recognised a few birds and capturing them on our camera, we headed for a rustic breakfast of ‘roti’, ‘subzi’ and ‘chai’ which was prepared fresh on the firewood while we were seated on a straw mat.

On the last day of my stay, I decided to visit the old city the charm of which never fades. After a quick visit to the Kankaria Lake, we headed towards the old city. At a little distance beyond the Raipur gate, a beautifully carved monument drew my attention. Sensing my excitement, my driver took a turn and stopped in front of it. I had not heard about this place before. I was so smitten by its beauty that I started taking pictures from the street itself.

A gentleman on the street told me that I could step in as well. It was an intricately and exquisitely carved tomb and mosque in stone. The words engraved on the wall read ‘Rani Sipri’s mosque and tomb’. It was built by Rani Sipri or Asni in 1514 AD. She was one of the Hindu queens of Nasir-ud-din Mohammed Shah. The mosque is aptly called Masjid-e-Nagina (jewel of a mosque) for its small size and beauty.

Later during the day, I took a look at the pretty Syed Siddiqui’s mosque as our car passed by it. We travelled further along the busy Bhadra gate and ended the tour with the blessings of the goddess at Kali Mandir. Like there are many unsung heroes amongst us, there are unappreciated monuments in India. ‘Rani Sipri’s mosque and tomb’ is one such.

 

How to get there
I took a SpiceJet flight to Ahmedabad. The round trip cost for one person was  9,000.



(The author can be contacted at sudhab67@gmail.com)

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