Dating back to the eleventh century, Ahmedabad is located on the banks of the River Sabarmati. One of the fastest-growing cities in the world, this thriving metropolis is variously known as Amdavad, Ahmadabad and Ahemdavad. There is never a dull moment in India’s fifth-largest city. Foodies will enjoy trying out the city’s many restaurants, food markets and night-time food stalls and the tempting array of dishes (often vegetarian) on offer. Ahmedabad has large populations of Hindus, Muslims and Jains, and their cultures are well known, with their religious festivals and cuisine dominating the city's culture. Cricket is the city’s favorite sport and sports fans will enjoy visiting the 54,000-seater Sardar Patel Stadium. The downsides? Excessive traffic and pollution can make this a challenging place to live – at one stage, Ahmedabad held the unenviable mantle of the most polluted city in India. Bear in mind, however, that in 2012 The Times of India selected Ahmedabad as the best city in which to live in India, and come here with an open mind – and you are bound to want to stay. What is special or unique about your city? Ahmedabad is the administrative headquarters of the district and because it is home to the Gujarat High Court, it is the judicial capital of Gujarat. With a total population of over 12 million, it is the seventh largest metropolitan area of India. Though incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during British rule, Ahmedabad remained one of the most important cities in the Gujarat region and became integral to the developing textile industry, earning itself the nickname “Manchester of the East”. The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century and the center of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote farmers' and workers' rights, and civil rights apart from political independence. What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city? The first impression newcomers typically notice is the vibrant energy that the city exudes. Ahmedabad is divided by the Sabarmati into two physically distinct eastern and western regions. The eastern bank of the river houses the old city, which includes the central town of Bhadra. This part of Ahmedabad is characterized by packed bazaars, the pol system of close clustered buildings, and numerous places of worship. It houses the main railway station, the General Post Office, and few buildings of the Muzaffarid and British eras. The colonial period saw the expansion of the city to the western side of Sabarmati, facilitated by the construction of Ellis Bridge in 1875 and later the relatively modern Nehru Bridge. The western part of the city houses educational institutions, modern buildings, residential areas, shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts centered on roads such as Ashram Road, C. G. Road and Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway. Are these impressions likely to change? Unlikely, as most expatriates that have been lucky enough to experience Ahmedabad report fond memories that will last a lifetime. What is the local language? Being very cosmopolitan, there is no single local language, but Gujarathi is the official language of the state. English is the business language, widely spoken and understood. Hindi and Urdu are also widely spoken. Here are some Hindi words and phrases that may be fun to learn as well as help you whilst you are here: English Hindi English Hindi Hello Namaste How much? Kitna? Goodbye Namaste/tata What time is it? Kitna baja hai? Yes Haan ji Food Khana No Nahin Water Paani Right Daayen Thank you Shukriya / dhanyavaad Left Baayen Please Kripaya How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language? As mentioned above, English is very well understood and one can easily get on with life without knowing any of the local languages. What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city? Predominantly, Hinduism is followed, so respecting this culture and not offending their sentiments will be appreciated. For example, you should remember to wash hands after touching footwear. No footwear is allowed at places of worship. Most locals would like you to keep your shoes out of the house entirely, especially in the kitchen. The following are some other tips on how to avoid offending the residents of Ahmedabad: Status is often determined by a person's age, university education and profession. Government employment is considered more prestigious than private business. It is acceptable for men and woman to wear pants. However, on more formal occasions the pants should be "dressy." Shorts are acceptable for men only when jogging. It is preferable that women who jog wear track pants, but that is not mandatory. If you host a meal, keep in mind that Indians have a variety of dietary restrictions. Generally, Hindus do not eat beef, Muslims do not eat pork and many Indians are strict vegetarians. There is no firm rule for this. Some do eat beef. Gujarat state is a declared dry state; hence consumption of alcohol is banned. If you're invited to dine at somebody's house, a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates is the common gift to bring. It is typical for guests to arrive late regardless of what the invitation says. It is impolite to help yourself with second servings. Wait to be asked and for someone else to serve you. When visiting holy sites, no matter what condition they are in, be respectful. Smoking and drinking are prohibited, always speak in soft tones and some sites do not allow non-believers to enter. Indians of all ethnic groups disapprove of public displays of affection between men and women and most Hindus avoid public contact between men and women. Standing tall with your hands on your hips is perceived as aggressive. Pointing with your finger is considered rude. Whistling in public is unacceptable. Never point your feet at another person as feet are considered unclean. To tip an Auto Rickshaw (Three Wheeler) driver, simply round off the fare. How might the local weather affect my daily life? The weather is generally humid except for the months of December, January and beginning of February. The months of April and May are hot and very humid. Rainy season in the months of June, July and August can be a test of patience as the roads are invariably jammed and commuting time can be extensive. Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people? People are quite friendly, although more so to expats because of a sense of curiosity. Locals frequently go all out to help.