Kem Cho, Majama from Gujarat! Time for some Jalebi, Gathiya and Fafda! As Gujaratis growing up in the UK, visiting Gujarat for the first time was an exciting experience. It’s pretty much how we imagined it and more….
As soon as we left the airport, we were welcomed by vans graffitied with “Patel” or “Jai Sri Krishna” on the back, adverts for a pure vegetarian version of Dominoes pizza and Paan houses scattered across every road.
In true Amarni Travels style, in just 24 hours this is what we got up to…!
7:30am – 9:30am: Heritage Walk
More than 600 years old, Ahmedabad is India’s first UNESCO world heritage city, and so we decided to do a walking tour to explore the rustic beauty of the old city. In a 2km radius we covered some of the most beautiful Hindu, Muslim and Jain monuments as well the old-school residential neighboorboods known as ‘Pols’. In true Gujarati businessman style, we saw many of these areas selling study books, calculators and stationary stalls!
9:30am – 10:00am: Jelebi Gathiya
Turns out Ahmedabad was quite the foodie city, and with so much Gujarati food to try in such little time we had to start early! We headed to Chandra Villas, one of the city’s oldest restaurants for breakfast.
10:00am – 12:00: Ghandi Ashram
This historic and tranquil Ashram in the banks of the Sabarmati river is a must visit! It’s amazing to actually walk the grounds where Mahatma Gandhi lived and started his Dandi march, as well as learn about Gandhi’s life and values during his time there.
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Sardar Patel National Memorial
We couldn’t help feeling pride at how central Gujaratis were to the independence movement in India. Sardar Vallaibhai Patel was not too far behind Gandhi, and is known mainly for being the man who united the princely states of India to form the country we know today. Everything in Ahmedabad is named after him, from the airport to the stadium, so we had to pay this museum a visit and learn more.
1:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch
The food in Ahmedabad was surprisingly amazing, and that wasn’t just limited to Gujarati food. We checked one of the city’s newest restaurants Esplendido Cafe, where we tried one of the best Paneer Pizzas we have ever had! Good vibes, decor, food and service – highly recommend!
The alternative option which we had the previous day was Sante Spa Cuisine which had zen vibes and healthy alternative dishes – also brilliant!
2:00pm – 2:30pm: Indian Ice cream
Quick dessert stop to the recommended Shankar Ice-Cream for some unconventional flavours – we opted for a flavour called ‘Indian Fusion’ which was amazing!
2:30pm – 4:00pm: Adalaj Stepwell
Perhaps the most beautiful piece of architecture in the city. Legend has it that the stepwell was built by Queen Rani Roopba for her late husband to finish off his work. Amar is waiting for Shalini to build her a well… watch this space!
4:00pm – 6:00pm: Kankaria Lake
Lake Kankaria comes alive at night with bright lights, a funfair and a great atmosphere with lots of families out and about enjoying the city. The food at the lake is great as well – we tried the bhel and some sweetcorn. No regrets!
6:00pm – 8:00pm: Dinner
We just had to try an authentic Gujarati thali when in Ahmedabad, and what an experience. They just keep piling your plate with every Gujju food ever invented from rotli, shak, dhokla, khadi, Dal, Kachori and so much more! Felt like we were back in North London..!
8:00pm – 10:00pm: Kabaddi
After hanging out with the UP Yoddha Kabaddi team on the flight en route to Ahmedabad, they invited us to come watch our first Kabaddi game. What a fantastic experience – great game, great crowds and great stereotypical chants (Kemcho! Majama!)! It was great being in Gujarat when the Gujarat Giants won… woooo go Gujarat!!
10:00pm – 11:30pm: Manek Chawk Night Market
This late night food paradise is absolutely buzzing, and the smell of every possible masala you can dream off hits you as soon as you walk in! The small lane is filled with the perfect combination of food and foodies, and we just couldn’t resist – our first Indian Street Food experience! We tried the best paper dosa and Pau bhaji we have ever tasted!!!
11:30pm- 12:00am: Fire Paan
We couldn’t leave Gujarat without trying Paan, which can be found on nearly every street corner. We went to the highly recommend Q Paan, where we tried our first ever fire Paan, where they light the betel leaf before it goes in the mouth to give a kind of rustic taste – please bring that to London!!
P.s. Thanks to Bhumik and his wife for all the recommendations!