Ahmedabad Travel Festivals

Kankaria – a beloved landmark of Ahmedabad

May 3, 2020

After the incorporation, India’s largest bank – the State Bank of India hired the designers at the National Institute of Designing at Ahmedabad to design an emblem. the designers came up with a beautiful emblem, which is still used as the bank’s identity. it resembles a key-hole, but it’s not that. In fact, it is the designer’s tribute to the city’s most famous and beloved landmark – the beautiful Kankaria Lake.

Ahmedabad has quite a few large water-bodies, but none has gained fame, glory, and love like Kankaria has. It has been existing for nearly a millennium and has been known with different names. Once upon a time it was named Hauj-E-Qutb, there are some indications to suggest that it was also known as the Karna-Sagar lake prior to that. However, the popular name has always been Kankaria.

It was a favourite leisure place for the rulers for a royal summer cottage on the center island known as Nagina-Wadi, for leisurely sailing, or fishing, and also hunting in the forests around the lake. Since the advent of modern times, it became a popular tourist sight.

Zoo

For over half a century Kankaria has also been inseparably associated with the famous Kankaria Zoo established by a great zoologist Mr. Ruben David. Its official name was Shreemati Kamala Nehru Zoological Park but being on the banks of Kankaria Lake, it was popular as Kankaria Zoo, which was spread over 31 acres of land. In the close proximity a science and natural history education center for children was also established which was called Bal-Vatika.

The zoo has been home to a large variety of animals, birds, and reptiles species. One can spot wild animals like lions, tigers, elephant, snakes, anaconda; albino animals (i.e. animals with white skin, white hair, and pink eyes) like rhesus monkey, spotted deer, chinkara, etc; and some rare species like pythons, bearcats and wild assess.

But as the lake and the zoo were falling right on millions of people’s daily commuting routes, it seemed as if both were losing their charm. so the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) took initiative and in recent years, the lake-side was reconstructed and reworked; of course with the help of the state government. The Lake Front turned into a glorious destination, and it’s being maintained rather well. Since then the place has been bustling with people.

Now it offers a wide array of entertainment options for people of all age groups and with different interests. With a myriad of activities to choose from, this place will need a whole day to enjoy it wholeheartedly.

Balloon Safari

The Balloon Safari is a great attraction of the lakefront as it draws crowd to experience a tethered helium balloon ride. The balloon elevates to a height of 350 feet making it the highest viewpoint of the city enabling the feel of an adrenaline rush when high up in the sky. From the gondola, one can behold the breathtaking view of the city and the lakefront. The ride is accompanied by an audio tour for informational purposes. We can give a magical touch to our evening, by customizing our experience like cake cutting high up from the ground and make it a memorable occasion.       

Not far from the balloon Safari premises there is a great number of great restaurants and food stalls serving lip-smacking and finger-licking good food.

The Kids’ City

The best place for your kids to have an educative and exciting time is Kids City. It is a miniature city with roads, vehicles, and buildings. Here the kids can experience the functions of different institutions such as a courtroom, prison, police station, city governance, telecom, science centre, print media, dental and medical hospital, bank, fire station, radio station, theatre, heritage gallery, IT centre, ice-cream factory, Janamarg – BRTS, medical emergency services – the 108, and an NCC camp.

Also, they can have a one-to-one interaction with the Chief Minister of Gujarat through augmented reality in a TV studio setting. In addition to this, kids can learn the true value of money and the art of balanced spending with the help of VirMos (the Kids’ City’s own currency).

Boating

Either you want to sit back and enjoy a cruising boat ride in the calm waters of the lake or feel the thrill of speed boats skimming through the lake, the various options of boat rides have got you covered. They offer various water sports and rides like high-speed boats, cruise boats, pedal boats, and more.             

Adventure Park

Another thrilling activity is the Tree Walk which is an adventure set on a treetop. The challenge has different levels of difficulty to choose from – single loop, full loop, or double loop.

Train Ride

There is a miniature train which goes around the lake. It is called the Atal Express. It’s truly a fun-filled time when we get to pass from the fronts of all the Kankaria attractions waving at other happy Kankaria visitors.

There is no shortage of activities here. The Natural History Museum, an Aquarium, Vertical Swings, Bubble Ride, and many more. You can hire a multi-rider bicycle and go round the lake with your loved one. That’s such a bonding experience, which we have to go through to know how it feels like.

Nagina Wadi

Nagina Wadi is an island having a small palace with a garden situated in the centre of the lake. It was historically used by the rulers as a summer getaway. Its architecture is traditionally beautiful and noteworthy. The garden can be accessed through a straight, concrete, tree-lined walkway. Explore this beautiful island whilst enjoying the scrumptious food and refreshing beverages from the various stalls present here.

Butterfly Park

Butterfly Park is the perfect place to satisfy the fascination of these beautiful creatures and feel exhilarated by witnessing vibrant colours all around. Also, such parks help incite a sense of responsibility and compassion in people towards these creatures and the environment.

Kankaria is a great colony for the swarming birds, which live here in millions. Their flocks are giant when they fly in the evening sky in swarms. It’s a mesmerizing display. If you love watching birds fly in swarms, this is the place to visit in the evening. At dawn or dusk, the melodious sound of their chirping creates a pleasant clamour. People also come here to enjoy the beautiful sky and melodious voice of birds chirping at dawn and dusk, unwind themselves and feel at peace.

Another subject of interest if you are interested in natural life are bats. The upside-down living creature is lovely mammals who help control the insect population in air. there are large colonies of them around Kankaria.

And for those who are interested to learn about evolution in fish, an interesting phenomenon has occurred in Kankaria. A normal cat-fish don’t come on the shore voluntarily. but Kankaria cat-fish has evolved to jump on shore to grab a piece of food thrown by humans.  They have evolved to perform such a daring act which is not common for a typical catfish. It’s such an exciting experience seeing them jumping out of the water, grabbing food, and struggling their way back to the water. An absolutely enchanting event worth observing. Just how quickly can a specie evolve to develop a characteristic unheard before!

Kankaria Carnival

The AMC organizes the Kankaria Carnival – a week-long festival celebrated usually from the 25th of December to the 1st of January, every year. During the festival, several cultural and social programs, art events, games, and competitions are organized.

The Kankaria Lake is in every sense a true representation of a rejuvenated pedestrianized urban space, which offers the visitors best in class nature, leisure, and adventure activities; while ensuring utmost safety and security to all.                                                                       

There was also a time when its glory seemed fading away but that’s where the AMC and the state Government deserve to be congratulated, that the did bring it back. Not only that, but they also transformed such a historical landmark into a vibrant urban destination of all seasons.

Before it was considered a tourist place but now it is a favourite urban destination as a local hot spot for jogging, walking, exercising, doing yoga, informal meet and greets, picnics, and small gatherings. The lakefront atmosphere has an infectious vibe with people milling around chatting animatedly, participating in the activities, and enjoying to their fullest. The lakefront also fulfills the aim of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to “elevate services to international class and transcend into the modern lifestyle.”

It will be almost improbable that we may find an urban citizen of Gujarat who has not visited Kankaria in one’s childhood. Kankaria has enjoyed being mentioned in many folk songs of Gujarat and has also been a popular location for filming. And, as the Gujarati saying goes “Aa nai joyu toh shu joyu,” meaning that when in Ahmedabad, your trip isn’t really complete unless you pay a visit to Kankaria. So, mark your calendars and book a spot in your itineraries for a day at Kankaria- the best landmark of Ahmedabad.

If you are interested to visit other similar places, we recommend visiting the Sabarmati Riverfront and take Heritage Walk to experience the glorious past of Ahmedabad. The same way Kankaria lake-front was transformed, the banks of the river Sabarmati were transformed to serve multiple purposes. That has provided two new roads to the city, many new parks, some adventure activities, and a new home to migratory birds visiting the Ahmedabad area.

To learn more about interesting attractions for your next vacation or “holistay”, please check out our website today.

Do you have a favorite travel destination in Gujarat? What are some of your favorite places to visit? We’d love for you to share your comments below!