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| The City | History


The History of Ahmedabad begins in the eleventh century with King Karandev - 1, the Solanki Ruler. He waged a war against the Bhil King Ashapall or Ashaval, and after his victory established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati. The Solanki rule lasted until the thirteenth century, when Gujarat came under the control of the Vaghela dynasty of Dwarka. Gujarat was conquered by the Sultanate of Delhi at the end of the thirteenth century.

Ahmedabad was built in an open and spacious plain in the immediate vicinity of Ashaval to the east of Sabarmati. It then comprised of a smaller area now known as the Bhadra Fort or the citadel of Bhadra. In 1487, Mahmud Begada, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, fortified the city with an outer wall 10 km (6 miles) in circumference and consisting of twelve gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements. The City was planned according to the ancient Indo-Aryan tradition of a royal capital with main roads, thoroughfares and subsidiary roads.

Under the fostering care of the sultans of Gujarat, the city of Ahmedabad went on expanding in every direction by the addition of new localities and suburbs on both the sides of river, and gradually developed into a well built city, with well-laid-out residential and marketing areas and beautified by palaces, mansions, mausoleums and mosques of reservoirs (lakes) and gardens erected by the noblemen of the sultans and wealthy merchants of the capital.

The city enjoyed the position of royal capital for a period of about 162 years: 1411-1573 A.D. till the independent Sultanate of Gujarat came to an end under the reign of Murzaffar-III. Conditions of the province were chaotic during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar III. Akbar, the great Mughul Emperor, conquered the province in 1573. Though Ahmedabad lost its importance as the capital of Gujarat during the Moghul reign, it retained its importance as one of the thriving centers of trade in the country and chief city of Gujarat.

The Mughal rulers who followed Aurangzeb were weak and the Mughul Viceroys (Subas) were busy fighting amongst themselves and with the Marathas. This resulted in disorder in the country, and from 1737 to 1753, there was a joint rule of the Mughal Viceroy and the Peshwa over Ahmedabad. In 1753 the combined armies of Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaeakwad overtook the citadel and brought an end of Mughal rule at Ahmedabad.

During the Maratha regime, Ahmedabad was for all intents and purposes divided into two halves, one into the hands of Peshwas and the other into the hands of Gaekwads, the jurisdiction exercised by the Peshwa being greater.The condition of Ahmedabad, during the 64-year-long Maratha rule went from bad to worse owing to the constant struggle between the Peshwas and the Gaekwads and the retrograde and oppressive policy pursued during this period. During this period of decline and insecurity that characterized 64 years of Maratha rule, suburbs were deserted, places and mansions were in ruinous state, roads in hopeless state of disrepair, and the fortwall that enclosed the city had fallen off at many places.

It was in 1818, when the British East India Company took over the city as a part of the conquest of India that the city ushered into the era of orderly development and progress. A military cantonment was established in 1824. A Municipal Committee was formed in 1834 and regular Municipal administration introduced in 1858. In 1864, a railway link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (then Bombay) was established by the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway (BB&CI), making Ahmedabad an important junction in the traffic and trade between northern and southern India. Large number of people migrated from rural areas to work in textile mills, establishing a robust industry. Thus, in view of such welfare activities and amenities provided in the public interest, the spirit of Ahmedabad, which was lying dormant in the preceding century, was now awakened and expressed itself in all walks of life.

After a lapse of another century, destiny chose Ahmedabad to play an outstanding role in the country's struggle for freedom. The Indian independence movement developed strong roots in the city when, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi established two ashrams, the Kochrab Ashram near Paldi in 1915 and the Satyagraha Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati in 1917 that would become centers of intense nationalist activities. Ahmedabad became the capital of the new state of Gujarat after the bifurcation of the State of Bombay on 1 May 1960.

Today Ahmedabad is a unique city, for it blends harmoniously an ancient heritage with a vibrant present. What is remarkable about Ahmedabad is the harmony between art and industry, between a reverence to the past and a vision for the future.

A Chronology of Events

15th Century
16th Century
17th Century
18th Century
19th Century
20th Century
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