In the Old City of Ahmedabad
Getting up in the early hours before dawn, I made my way to the Swaminaryan Temple, deep in the Old City. A beautifully colourful Hindu temple, it was to be the start of my exploration of the most fascinating part of Ahmedabad.
As I wandered through narrow streets, I entered into traditional gated communities, called "pols". These narrow streets would culminate in a small plaza or square, centred around a large, ornamental bird feeder, called a "chabutro". The buildings here are often wood and delicately carved, though in varying states of decay. Scattered throughout are small mosques and temples, both Hindu and Jain, carved from stone and marble.
I entered one Jain temple, taking care to remove my shoes beforehand, and climbed down into its underground sanctuary. In the absolute quiet underground, I came face to face with a stunning carved marble deity.
Perhaps because of the early hour, I found the streets for once calm and quiet, a real change from the noise and confusion I've been becoming accustomed to. Slowly the streets came to life as vendors set up their produce for sale.