The historic city of Ahmedabad, in the north western state of Gujarat, is renowned for its stunning mix of Hindu and Islamic architecture, multi-faith religious festivals and excellent Gujarati cuisine that is sold by street vendors as well as fine dining establishments. India's fifth largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area, once known as "the Manchester of India" due to its thriving cotton industry, is enjoying a period of economic and industrial growth that looks to continue into the future. The River Sabarmati, crossed by nine bridges, separates the eastern and western regions of the city as well as providing the main source of water in this hot and semi-arid environment.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.
Travellers flying to Ahmedabad will arrive at the Sadar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport, the eighth busiest airport in India during 2014, named after one of the Republic of India's leading statesman who was an important figure in the nation's struggle for independence. Two of the airport's four terminals cater to passengers, with one terminal reserved for domestic flights and the other serving international flights. A bus service, operated by the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service, and a taxi service provide a transport link between the airport and the city. Air Arabia offers cheap flights to Ahmedabad for travellers that intend on visiting the city without spending too much money before arrival.
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The beautiful Akshardham Temple was built in 1992 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj to celebrate the bicentenary of Lord Swaminarayan. The temple complex, occupying a space of 23 acres, includes a garden, three exhibition halls and the temple monument that contains the Murti of Lord Swaminarayan. The monument which forms the main temple building, standing 108 feet tall, 240 feet long and 131 feet wide, is constructed from over 6000 tons of pink sandstone and features domes, pillars and window grills. The Murti, or embodiment of the Divine Spirit, takes the form of a 7 foot gold-plated statue weighing over a ton, depicting the seated Lord Swaminarayan flanked to his left and right by disciples.
Sabarmati Ashram, the building complex and farmstead that Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi once called home, has been designated a national monument by the Indian government since the 1960s. The Indian civil rights and independence leader lived here during the 1930 Dandi March, or Salt Satyagraha, which was an important event in the lead-up to full self-government for India. There are several buildings at this site, located on the River Sabarmati, including the Nandini guest house, the Vinoba Kutir cottage, the open-air prayer ground known as Upasana Mandir and the Magan Niwas hut where Gandhi's cousin, the Ashram manager, lived.
Sidi Saiyyed Mosque.
The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque was built in 1573, the Gujarat Sultanate's final year, and was only in a partial state of completion by the time of the Mughal invasion. This spectacular mosque, in the city's Lal Dawaja quarter, is famous for its intricate wall and window carvings, often depicting botanical scenes, with the most recognizable of the ten carved windows being the Sidi Saiyyed Jali which has become a symbol of Ahmedabad. The yellow sandstone building, built to a rectangular design, features impressive arches, an interior with roof-supporting pillars as well as a courtyard complete with central water feature.