A hare chasing a dog? Ahmadshah could not believe his eyes! So inspired was he by this display of courage and spirit that he decided to found a city on the very soil which fostered these qualities. And thus, the legend says, Ahmedabad was born!
Ahmedabad, the biggest commercial centres of Gujarat and one of the mega cities of India, was founded in 1411 A.D. by king Ahmadshah on the banks of the river Sabarmati. Earlier known as the Manchester of East, the city continues to be a leading centre of textile industry and trade and commerce even today.
Ahmadabad has always been a merchant town as it was the nerve centre of Gujarati communities, which were predominantly involved in trade and commerce. Being situated in a geographical situation of a threshold region on the shores of Arabian Sea, the region was a gateway to hinterlands and also a connection for the north and eastern regions outwards across the seas. In both cases the communities in Gujarat acted as agents for trade and commerce and thereby developing intense acumen in their economic stature. At one time even Moghuls considered the business acumen and wisdom of Gujarati Nobility as outstanding and appointed them as advisors for their own interests in these matters. For this reason the aspect of Ahmadabad history concerns with the merchant communities and their dominance in the region as controllers of regional economy. Whatever were the leanings of the rulers of the region; they never displeased these communities, nor ever disturbed their trading activities, as ultimately their well being supported the state’s economy and in turn helped the prosperity of the region and the ruler too. Its community and guild based settlement patterns have survived in an unbroken manner along with the succession of its trading communities and this has also been the reason for the survival of its age-old settlement patterns “pols” and havelis
Ahmadabad thus has an unbroken history of civic life and a rare tradition of settlement architecture, which was both characterized by the life styles of these communities and also reflecting the taste of the merchant nobility in terms of their preference for composite building crafts resulting from indigenous techniques and traditions. Such examples combining utility and artistic beauty of crafts are rarely found in settlements elsewhere. The city is one of the richest examples, having evolved over centuries of continuing traditions of multi dimensional civic life and pluralistic cultural co-existence between communities of different cultural identities. The inner city today is therefore a great cultural heritage required to be preserved. The merchant nobility (the ‘shreshthee’) and their civic institutions have always attracted new traditions and progressive inputs from external inspirations and this trend continued with city’s growth and the continuing patronage. In modern times too, Ahmadabad has been a city with artistic talents coming from within the country and from the west. Artists from well-known Tagore family have contributed in institution building and so have British, American and French Architects. Their visionary works have placed Ahmadabad on the world map of modern architecture and Design, the kind of position very few cities in the world enjoy.
The city is also famous for Gandhiji’s legacy as it is here that the great Mahatma Gandhi developed his ideas and principles at his home
(Gandhi Ashram) that played a major role in achieving the independence.