Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – India chapter Gujarat has to say about the House of MG Walks:
“The House of MG heritage hotel offers two excellent guided walking tours. The Breakfast Walk (7:30-9:30am), offered October to March, covers the old city’s highlights and ends at the hotel where breakfast is served. The Heritage Night Walk (night walk 9:30-11pm), offered year-round, gives a glimpse of some of Ahmedabad’s historic neighbourhoods at night, including the markets of Manek Chowk.
The Siddi Sayed Mosque
One of Ahmedabad’s most stunning buildings, this mosque is famed for its exquisite jail windows, spider-like fine, two of them depicting the intricate intertwining branches of the ‘tree of life’. Built in the year the Mughals conquered Gujarat (1573), by an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) in the Gujarati army, it was once part of the old citadel wall.
Built immediately after the founding of Ahmedabad in 1411, Bhadra Fort houses government offices and a Kali temple. Its mighty gate formed the eastern entrance of the Ahmedabad citadel, which stretched west to the river. From the roof, you can see the formidable structure and views of surrounding streets.
Between the fort and the Teen Darwaja (triple Gateway) to its east, was the Maidan Shahi (Royal Square), now a seething marketplace, where royal processions and polo games took place.
The Jama Masjid
Built by Ahmed Shah in 1423, the Jama Masjid ranks as one of India’s most beautiful mosques. Demolished Hindu and Jain temples provided the building materials, and the mosque displays some architectural fusion with these religions, notably in the lotus-like carving of some domes, which are supported by the prayer hall’s 260 columns. The two ‘shaking’ minarets lost half their height in the great earthquake in 1819, their lower portions still flank the prayer hall’s central portico.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
Anil wasn’t interested in taking part in the second walking tour of the old part of Ahmedabad. He was happy to stay in the comfy House of MG while we walked through the hot, dusty streets and visited the few relics of Ahmedabad’s past. Donna, Duncan and I decided that we could do the walk on our own, using the brochure provided by the hotel.
The Breakfast Walking Tour route started just outside of the front gate of the House of MG and eventually met up with the route that we walked when we did the Evening Heritage Walk with a guide when we were in Ahmedabad at the beginning of our stay in Gujarat.
This was Donna and Duncan’s first real opportunity to visit a typical inner city market so I wanted to give them time to soak in all the sights and sounds, though it was old hat for me and I just decided to act as the tour guide and point out things I thought they might miss along the way. For instance, I noticed the red ‘tika’ blessing marks decorating the one side of the Teen Darwaja (Triple Gate), something they might have missed seeing if they had been on their own.
When we got near to the end of the walking route, we decided to turn back without seeing the last three sites – the Ahmed Shah Badshah’s Tomb, the old Stock Exchange Building and the Hanuman Temple. We had seen the tomb on the night walk, and the Hanuman Temple was a little far off with the heat building up by that time in the late morning.
By the time we turned around, I was finding the noise of the traffic, the bustle of the busy market and the heavy pollution in the air getting to me. My head was starting to throb, and fortunately, Donna and Duncan are relatively experienced travellers and I knew that they would like the opportunity to poke around the market area at their own pace, and that they would be able to find their way back to the hotel without any difficulty.
I returned to the hotel and spent a little time taking photos of the beautiful interiors and having a little quiet time sitting beside the beautiful indoor swimming pool. When Donna and I compared photos we’d taken that day, we both had a laugh that we’d each taken a photo of the sheep and the bench. By the time they passed by him, he was no longer actually sitting on the bench, but was posing beside it. He was still cute enough that Donna was moved to capture the scene to add to her photo memories of the morning walk.