Located on the Sabarmati River, Ahmadabad was founded in 1411/814 AH by the Muslim Sultan Ahmad Shah, the ruler of Gujarat. Newly proclaimed, the ruler felt vulnerable in the capital of Anahilvada-Patan, and moved his court to Ashaval, a Hindu settlement that supported him, and which he renamed Ahmadabad, after himself.
The new capital of Gujarat developed rapidly with the palace as the nucleus, encircled by a commercial districts. The Bhadra Fort represents the footprint of the original city. The nobility settled outside the city limit, forming their individual settlements. These settlements, known as puras, were named after their respective founders with the suffix of 'ganj' attached, like Nurganj or Muradganj.
Ahmadabad became a part of the Mughal Empire in 1572/980 AH under Emperor Akbar. In 1817/1232 AH, the British took over and the East India Company made it the military and administrative center of Gujarat. No longer the capital of Gujarat in post-Independence India, Ahmadabad is still a principal city with a thriving cotton industry earning it the title of 'Textile City'. Architecturally, the city boasts some of the most interesting examples of fifteenth century Gujarati style. The Jami Masjid and the Mausoleum of Ahmad Shah are an adaptation of indigenous Hindu and Jain architecture; the Siddi Saiyad's Mosque is famous for its exquisite yellow stone latticework, the Rani Sipri's mosque is an elegant dedication to Sultan Mahmud Begara's Hindu wife.
Modern Ahmadabad is spreading west of the Sabarmati River. This portion of the city plays host to the work of two famous architects, Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Sanskar Kendra, Mill Owners' Association building and the private residences of Sarabhai and Shodhan were designed by Le Corbusier, while the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) by Louis Kahn is one of the top college for business studies.
Davies, Philip. The Penguin Guide to the Monuments of India - Volume 2: Islamic, Rajput, European. London: The Penguin Group, 1989.
R.N. Mehta and Rasesh Jamindar. "Urban Context." In Ahmadabad, edited by George Michell and Snehal Shah, 1. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1998.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: India London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2002.
The roza (rawza) of Dada Harir or Bai Harir is a mosque-tomb complex in the Asarwa neighborhood of Ahmedabad, just north of the Delhi Gate and old city center. The complex includes a mosque and tomb (described here), as well as a stepwell (vav), for which it is most famous. The well is dated to ca. 1500/906 AH while the style of the mosque, reminiscent of the nearby Miyan Khan Chishti Masjid, suggests that it was built in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth/late ninth or early tenth century AH.
The mosque is a shallow rectangular building enclosed by walls on the north, south, and west (qibla) sides, while the east side serves as the main facade. The east facade is dominated by a grand archway framed by two ornately decorated minarets that take the form of engaged octagonal columns rising to the height of the facade and ending in a bracketed cornice. Flanking the minarets on either side are first a smaller archway and window, and then a triple-archway.
The interior comprises five domed bays running parallel to the qibla that correspond to the division of the facade described above. The central dome is larger than the two flanking it on either side, and rises above the rest over a clerestory level. These domed bays are separated from one another by two pairs of pillars that also serve as supports to the dome. In the qibla wall behind each domed bay is a mihrab flanked by two windows. The side walls of the prayer hall are equipped with doors.
The tomb of Dada Harir is a separate building situated at the north end of the mosque. It takes the form of a domed square pavilion featuring a central, enclosed dome chamber bounded by an veranda-ambulatory one bay deep. The columns supporting the veranda are ornately carved with brackets at the top, and the corner bays are surmounted by small domes. The central chamber on which the dome rests rises much higher than the surrounding veranda.
Burgess, James. The Muhammadan Architecture of Ahmadabad. Part II, 7-9. London: W. Griggs and Sons, 1905.
Dada Harir Mosque and Tomb
Dada Harir Masjid
late 15th-early 16th/late 9th-early 10th century AH