THE CITYThe city since its founding in A.D.1411 by Ahmed Shah, has been among the most important regions in the Indian-subcontinent that generated and sustained the notions of architectural creations till date. A plethora of step-wells, temples, palaces, mosques, mausoleum and institutions, the architecture has always remained an amalgamated of the deep rooted traditional values with the aspirations of changed times.
Miniature of map of Ahmedabad
HERITAGE AS AN ARCHITECTURAL EXPRESSION
Ahmedabad, once the capital and still the premier city of Gujarat, is an old walled town on the east bank of Sabrmati river, which has throughout the centuries enjoyed the reputation of being one of the fairest cities in the whole of India. The advent of industrialization, with mill and factory chimneys belching smoke, the streets filled with motor transport, and urban sprawl and overcrowding have somewhat diminished Ahmedabad’s glories. Ahmed Shah founded his new capital to the north of the old Hindu settlement of Ashaval, covered an area of 500 hectares.
The city of Ahmedabad is designed in a scientific manner. City mainly has zig zag lanes. People were proud to own havelis in walled city. Inside pol houses ,air was trapped in such a way, that the hot air rises up through courtyards and cold air moves inside through narrow streets into the tunnel like entrances in residences.
City has been selected by UNESCO for world heritage site, it is the first city in the country now government invites experts for transformation and improvement. Walled city fabric is densely populated, which is climate responsive also.
Cluster of houses,protected by gates. It has five elements — 1. Gate 2. Chabutara 3. Community well 4. Worshiping place 5. Signage board courtyrds are the lungs of the community ,all common activities happens here. Otla is another feature which is common.It is a raised platform on either sides of the staircase at entrance, which is used for activities like morning discussions, exchange of views with neighbors at tea time. Micro lanes, gates are used to protect the attacks of the communities.Doors to protect pols were huge with spikes to protect it from elephants. • inscriptions at the entrance of the residences.
In a temple the sequence of gopurams, series of ascending steps and and platforms, rising volumes of domes and shikhara, increasing degree of enclosure and the transition from the semiopen, multi directional pavilions to the urn-directional dark sanctum enclosed by solid walls, all heighten the progression from the spiritual as one progresses from the gopurams to garbhagriha.
The oldest mosque , built in 1414, in the southwest corner of the citadel, probably a private mosque.Then smaller mosques of HAibit Khan, shakar Khan, Sayyid Alam etc were built. The Jami mosque was completed in 1420. The harmony of solids and voids.The vast paved courtyard of 75m by 66m. North, east and south boundaries are colonnades alongthe stonewall, with a long ablution tank in the middle. The west side is filled with the prayer hall.
The stepwell, or a well with an underground flight of steps leading down to the level of water ,developed early in western Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujrat, with their sandy soil and scarce rainfall.Measuring more than sixty five meters or two hundred (220 ft) in length ,largest among the gujrat and it has almost 500 divine figures and an almost equal number of apsaras and other semi divine figures, surpasses all other examples in all western India. Adalaj stepwells built in 1499 A.D by Rudabai wife of Virsima Vaghela, is an interesting fusion of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles peculiar to the sultanate regime in Gujarat which came to be identified as Indo- Saracenic architecture. These cool platforms become resting spaces for the travelers.
By: Ar. Sakshi Saxena
Faculty: Interior Architecture Design
IVS School of Design