5 Mesmerising marvels of Gandhinagar
Where the modern meets the timeless, sprawled over the west bank of the river Sabarmati, lies Gandhinagar, the beautiful capital city of Gujarat. Historical architecture, nature parks, modern business centres, religious locales and traditional craft, the city offers a little bit of everything for everyone.
Here is a peek into 5 attractions which showcase this diversity in Gandhinagar:
The Adalaj Stepwell or Vav, was built in 1498 by Rana Veer Singh and his queen Rani Roopba, to access groundwater during times of water shortage. The stepwell is a massive five storey structure, replete with carved pillars, beams and arches, right from the lowest floor to the top, where it opens up to the sky. As one descends down the stairs, the temperature becomes cool nearer the water, leaving one calm and relaxed. Drawing from Solanki and Islamic styles, the architecture of the stepwell is sheer poetry etched in sandstone. If your soul hungers for the haunting vibe of ancient times, the Adalaj Stepwell will grip you in mysterious rapture.
The Craftsman Village in Pethapur, 7 km from Gandhinagar, is home to many skilled craftsmen, hence the name bestowed on it. If you are a handicraft enthusiast, you will be thrilled to find here an abundance of bandhini sarees, terracotta jewellery and artefacts, woven baskets, and traditional applique and mirror work on fabric.
However, this village is primarily famous for the wooden blocks made here for block printing on textiles. It’s a visual treat to watch the artisans patiently chisel intricate motifs on blocks of seasoned teakwood, with handcrafted tools. Some of the senior craftsmen might regale you with the story of how Pethapur became the hub for the wooden block industry.
Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park is where you should visit if the pre-historic enamours you. Indroda holds the distinction of being the only dinosaur museum in India and has been created by the Geological Survey of India. It displays fossilised remains and petrified eggs of dinosaurs, which have been sourced from Raiyoli, Balasinor, Gujarat, the 3rd largest dinosaur fossil excavation site and 2nd-largest hatchery in the world. Huge life-like models of dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Megalosaurus, Titanosaurus, and others dot the park, with complete details of their uniqueness.
Mahakali Vad is a 500 year old banyan tree in Kantharpur, near Gandhinagar. It is one of the widest trees in Gujarat occupying over half an acre in ground space. This banyan tree is spreading about 5 metres each year, courtesy the farmers from the surrounding villages who have donated their land to accommodate its growth. A Mahakali temple is enshrined right in the middle of this gigantic tree, making it a popular religious site amongst locals and tourists alike. The site is under development currently and the area surrounding it will soon have landscaped gardens, meditation zones and exhibition centres.
Dandi Kutir, is a grand monument museum, built in honour of M.K. Gandhi’s legacy. The gigantic conical structure, sitting at the centre of a huge campus, is inspired by the mound of salt Gandhi made by evaporating sea water at Dandi, in defiance of British salt laws. The highlight of the museum is the extensive use of LED screens, 3D mapping, holograms, and other audio visual aids to present Gandhi’s biography, providing an authentically rich experience to visitors.
The state-of-the-art Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre, managed by The Leela Gandhinagar, is connected to Dandi Kutir via a footbridge. The Leela, towering over the newly modernised Gandhinagar railway station, is a perfect statement of the ethos that exemplifies the city. The hotel, a contemporary architectural wonder in itself, draws heavily from the ethnic artworks of Gandhinagar for its décor, offering its guests an ambience wherein heritage is merged beautifully with innovation.