Ahmedabad(1411-1800) / The Growth of Ahmedabad Before The Construction of Railway

Ahmedabad(1411-1800) / The Growth of Ahmedabad Before The Construction of Railway
Sketch maps of the development of Ahmedabad © 1988, George Michell and Snehal Shah

The Growth of the City after Establishment

The city of Ahmedabad was established in A.D. 1411 by the Sultan Ahmad Shah, as a new royal residential settlement. As a royal capital, The city extends with the royal palace as its nucleus. As first laid out, Ahmadabad has extended up to the Jami’ Masjid (a mosque built by Ahmad Shah in 1424) and present day Ratan Pol to the northeast. The Sultan has built several market zones around the Jami’ Masjid and the royal enclosures.  Later, numerous amirs settled in the neighbourhood. Beyond the confines of the city, they developed their own suburban settlements, which were called Puras. Thus, the city of Ahmedabad had expanded. These Puras built around the royal centre had the urban character of satellite cities. They grew, decayed and regenerated independently.

From Fifteenth Century to Sixteenth Century

In the middle of the fifteenth century, it was believed that Ahmedabad had absorbed the old parts of Ashaval on the east and south, and had expanded towards the north. By the mid 1520s, a dense population had occupied the area within the semi-circle area around the royal centre. Due to political instability, the city had stopped growing during the period about 1535.

The fortification walls were built possibly in 1582 after the attack on the city by Akbar’s armies. Although there are several interpretations of the construction of the walls, it is clear that the outline of the fort wall was constructed only after the reconquest of Akbar’s armies. The wall firmly limited the periphery of the main city, and the urban pattern of Ahmedabad was firmly established afterwards. As a result of the fortification, the road system has developed rapidly, and the different Puras and internal urban areas continued to develop independently.

From Seventeenth Century to Eighteenth Century

In seventeenth century, due to relative political stability, the city had prosperity growth. However, in the eighteenth century, there was a decline in the local authority. Many suburbs and inner parts of the city were abandoned and ruined, and the city did not further expand.

Conclusion

It can be seen That the growth of Ahmedabad before the construction of railway is mainly base on royal expansion, conquer and the establishment of Puras by amirs. 

 

Sketch maps of the development of Ahmedabad © 1988, George Michell and Snehal Shah
Sketch maps of the development of Ahmedabad © 1988, George Michell and Snehal Shah
Growth Diagram of Ahmedabad © 1988, George Michell and Snehal Shah
Growth Diagram of Ahmedabad © 1988, George Michell and Snehal Shah

Reference:

G. Michell, S. Shah Ed. (2003) Ahmadabad. Mumbai: Marg Publications.

2 Comments on “Ahmedabad(1411-1800) / The Growth of Ahmedabad Before The Construction of Railway

  1. The growth diagram and maps from Michell and Shah are super interesting. This broad scan across many centuries can serve as the background of an understanding of the railway infrastructure. It would be wonderful to see if these earlier plans had any impact on the way the railway was planned. It would be ideal if the focus is simply on the railway planning process, and the supporting factors or predisposition of the city fabric in receiving such an intervention. Was there a great deal of urban renewal, or destruction of existing fabric? Were other sectors sacrificed in the making of this infrastructure system? How did the people receive this during the planning process? What were the hidden costs and benefits of such an implementation?

    • As the railway is planned outside of the old city of Ahmedabad (at the east of the city wall), the old fabrics probably has not much impact on the planning of the railway. From our study, it seems that the railway was not seriously planned with the consideration of the urban transformation, but only with the concern of linking other cities in order to boost the economic benefits to the government. The one side influence is it enhanced the improvement of the overall city network(further study in Ahmedabad/Construction of infrastructure and corresponding change in old fabrics after railway), On the other side, as the city is cut into east and west section, human segregation problems existed, which can be further read in the narrative: Ahmedabad/ Slum and Underdog: the Hidden Face of Urban Transformation

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