An Overview of Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is the largest city and former capital of the state of Gujarat. It is the fifth largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area of India. In 2010, Forbes magazine rated Ahmedabad as the fastest-growing city in India, and third in the world after two Chinese cities — Chengdu and Chongqing. In December 2011, a leading market research firm IMRB declared Ahmedabad as the best mega-city to live in (compared to India’s other mega-cities). Ahmedabad is located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, 32 km from the state capital Gandhinagar.

Ahmedabad was founded on February 26, 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate, and was named after him. Under British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernized and expanded. Though incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during British rule, Ahmedabad remained the most important city in the Gujarat region. The city established itself as the home of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname the “Manchester of the East.” The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century. It was the centre of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote workers’ rights, civil rights, and political independence. Since the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad had become a bustling metropolis with classical and colonial European styled buildings, lining the city’s thoroughfares. The city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase.

The gross domestic product of Ahmedabad metro was estimated at $16 billion in 2010. The city is the largest supplier of denim and one of the largest exporters of Gemstone and Jewellery in India. A majority of the working-age citizens of Ahmedabad are traders and business people. This has led to the creation of major mercantile corporations and Artisan guilds that are a key influence on the economic life of Gujarat. The city’s educational and industrial institutions have attracted students and young skilled workers from the rest of India.

Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city’s Jain and Hindu communities. The first all-vegetarian Pizza Hut in the world opened in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is only city where Marriott group hotel has exclusive veg restaurant in the world. Before the McDonald’s restaurant opened in Ahmedabad, the company called Gujarati journalists to Mumbai and convinced them that McDonald would use separate kitchen for veg and non-veg food in its Gujarat outlets.

Religion in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad has a literacy rate of 79.89%, which is the second highest in Gujarat (after Gandhinagar with 87.11%); 87.81% of the men and 71.12% of the women are literate. Approximately 440,000 people live in slums within the city. Ahmedabad is home to a large population of Vanias (i.e., traders), belonging to the Vaishnava sect of Hinduism and the sects of Jainism. Most of the residents of Ahmedabad are native Gujaratis. Over 12% of the population is Muslim, numbering over 600,000 in the 2001 census (source).
There is no particular religion followed by Ahmedabadis. Many religions coexist in Ahmedabad, thereby indicating the strong unity in diversity. Religions are different, but the basic teachings are the same. Hinduism is the main religion of Ahmedabad; however, other religions that are prevalent include Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Zorastrianism and Christianity (source).

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