Wanderlusters and those who crave a quieter experience over frenzied Mumbai or Delhi arrive at the dusty doorstep of the former capital to discover a dynamic compact city where family life provides the foundation.
People who pass through this part of vegetarian-dominant India discover cultural traditions are the norm, so besides encountering many meatless dishes, good luck finding liquor in Gujarat. Residents here abstain from drinking spirits or alcohol of any kind. The dry state, however, recently loosened this strict liquor law for its foreign visitors. The Hindustan Times reports 52 hotels now have liquor licenses for guests, who need to present a valid photo ID and arrival ticket for boozy purchases.
Nicknamed “Manchester of the East” for its booming textile business located along the Sabarmati River, this city also claims fame as the birthplace of its favorite son, the Gujarati-born Mahatma Gandhi, and the Indian Independence Movement. In 1930 Gandhi staged the spectacular nonviolent Salt March from his ashram in Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi.
For sightseeing, enroll in a guided city tour and use the services of a professional tour operator. Rhumit Meta, founder of New York-headquartered Immersion Journeys, develops custom tours of Gujarat for luxury and academic clients. “Ahmedabad, and Gujarat in general, is not on your regular tourist track, so you need someone who can do a deep dive into textiles and heritage,” he says.
A good neighborhood sampler starts at a restored historic property, once the home of a wealthy textile merchant, called The House of MG. As in the sleeper film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, find endearing customer service with an Old World charm. Located in the old town, the property marks the start of most heritage walks. You’ll make a mental note of the fabulous dinner options at the boutique hotel’s rooftop resto, Agashiye, featuring fine Gujarati Thali cuisine. Guests dine beneath the stars at this lofty perch served by attentive dhoti- and kurta-clad waiters.
The first stop: Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, built in 1573. Tourists visit the landmark to view the city’s unofficial symbol, the beautifully carved Tree of Life jali (latticework). Afterward, take a short walk south along Bhadra Road to the Bhadra Fort. Inside the walled city of Old Ahmedabad looms this 600-year-old fort, showing vestiges of the early Mughal period. Next door see the Bhadrakali Mandir, a colorful Hindu temple devoted to the goddess Bhadrakali Mata. Now walk a few blocks east to the Jama Masjid, revered as the city’s finest mosque, built in 1423 by Sultan Ahmed Shah, the city’s founder.
Meanwhile, around the Old City, life teems with the energy of commerce as waves of humanity funnel through the narrow pols (streets) into blazing bazaars bursting in color while beasts of burden slumber in traffic, oblivious to the mayhem. Time stands still.
For the last leg in this neighborhood odyssey, cross the river and visit Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, where the spiritual and political leader stayed and preached his nonviolent ideology. Located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, inspired by the man himself, the ashram, now a museum, is a peaceful enclave.
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.