Ahmedabad has a glorious past; the city is drenched in an influential history. From indigenous textile arts to beautiful places to visit and explore the city has a lot to offer. Ahmedabad, also known as ‘Amdavad’ (in Gujarati) is the largest city of Gujarat. It was also the former capital city of the Gujarat state.
The exotic city has emerged as a significant spot for various economic and industrial works. Recently selected for being developed as a ‘Smart City’, Ahmedabad was chosen as the best city to live in India by Times of India in the year 2012. It is also the second largest producer of cotton in India.
The history of Ahmedabad goes back to the 11th century when the suburban area around Ahmedabad was known as ‘Ashaval’ or ‘Ashapalli’. The city was ruled by various rulers of that era. One of the rulers named ‘Karna’ from the ‘Chaulakya Dynasty’ annexed the city and the outskirts and then developed a city named ‘Karnavati’ on the banks of the river ‘Sabarmati’. After being ruled by the Chaulakya Dynasty rulers the city went into the hands of the ‘Vaghela Dynasty’.
How Ahmedabad Got Its Name:
In the 14th century, the state of Gujarat came under the rule of the ‘Delhi Sultanate’. The area of Karnavati finally came under the rule of ‘Sultan Ahmed Shah’ who was the grandson of the self-proclaimed Sultan of Gujarat, Muzaffar Shah I. Ahmed Shah liked the area around Karnavati and laid the foundation of a new city as his capital and named it ‘AHEMDABAD’, after his own name. It is also said, that he named the city after the four saints of that area named Ahmed.
The Reign of The Mughals:
It was only till 1573 that the Muzafferid Dynasty (dynasty of Muzaffar Shah I) had control over the city; Gujarat was then conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the Empire’s affluent hubs of trade, mainly in textiles, which were exported as far as Europe. The famous Mughal Emperor Shahjahan spent a lot of time in this city; he also sponsored the construction of Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibagh. Ahmedabad remained the provincial headquarters of the Mughals until 1758 when they surrendered the city to the Marathas.
The Onset of The British Empire:
The British East India Company took over the city in 1818 from the Marathas after the Third Anglo-Maratha War; during the rule of the British, the city became one of the most important cities in the Gujarat Region. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established by Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway. Because of the same, over time, Ahmedabad became the home of a fast growing textile industry, which earned the city its nickname “Manchester of the East”.
Indian Independence Movements too grew its roots in the city. Two ashrams were established by Mahatma Gandhi namely, the Kochrab Ashram and the Sabarmati Ashram (formerly known as Satyagraha Ashram). In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi initiated the Salt Satyagraha from Ahmedabad from his ashram. Following independence and the partition of India in 1947; the city suffered disfigurement by the severe communal riots that broke out between two prominent groups, Hindus and Muslims, in 1947.
Ahmedabad had become a metropolis by the year 1960 marked by a population of around half a million. The city witnessed classical and colonial European style of buildings, newer buildings were being made and it was during this period that Ahmedabad was chosen as the capital of the state of Gujarat on 1st May 1960. By now the city was a hub of chemical Industry, Textile Industry and a centre for higher education in science and technology.
The capital then shifted from Ahmedabad to the newly built and well-planned city of Gandhinagar. This started the declination period for the city marked by the lack of development. The city suffered major setbacks from the year 2001 earthquakes followed by Gujrat riots in the year 2002. 2008 Ahmedabad bombings killed several innocent people.
Modern Day Status:
In the present scenario, with the Indian Institute of Management being the best in the country for top-ranked education, the city is preferred by many. Ahmedabad is the fifth largest city and the seventh largest metropolitan area in India. According to the reports of 2003, Ahmedabad has the lowest crime rate of the 35 Indian cities with a population of more than one million. In addition to this, it is also the hub of the textile industry in India and has supplied all over the country as well as overseas.
It is indeed a very beautiful city lined with newly built buildings and advanced infrastructure and growing economy. The city has a very exquisite history which makes the city one of the best to live in India.