As per the first census (AD 1824) recorded by the British, the population of Ahmedabad comprised of 96% Jains, 2% Hindus, 1% Muslims and 1% other faiths. In the past, the Jains were the largest trading community and even held ministerial positions, but the rulers were mostly Islamic! Rulers changed with time, but Ahmedabad continued to be a peaceful and flourishing city, luring many to it.
The walk starts at the mesmerising underground space of the over 400-year-old Jagvallabh Derasar. With the art and architecture of some of these centuries-old Jain temples and pols as reference points, this walk reflects on the Maratha and the British rule in Ahmedabad, but mainly highlights the brilliant relationship of the Jain Shresthis with the Mughals, from Akbar to Aurangzeb and Murad—the highest highs to the lowest lows and the equanimity and wisdom with which these delicate relationships were handled.
The walk, thus, also pays an ode to the farsightedeness, virtuous and philanthropic activities of many—form Mantri Udayan Mehta to Nagarsheth Shantidas Zaveri, Harkunwar Shethani, Kasturbhai Lalbhai, etc.—whose contributions to the city’s prosperity and peace have been enormous.
This guided tour is free.