4 January: Excursion to the Shaking Minarets and Kankaria Lake
The Gujurat branch organized local excursions Monday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. These voluntary trips (which cost 50 rupees each, approximately $1) allowed participants a chance to see the highlights of Ahmedabad tourism while participating fully in the IB meeting. I really appreciate the time and effort they put into planning these trips: not only did they hire a bus to take us from place to place, but local volunteers were our docents and took the time to do test drives beforehand to ensure the traffic would allow us to get from place to place in the allotted time frame.
When we registered, we received a WILPF India IB meeting tote bag, a notepad holder created by SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association), a pad of paper, a recycled pen, and detailed information on the morning outings.
Here is the description of the Shaking Minarets: "It is believed that the mosque was constructed by Sidi Bashir, a slave of Sultan Shah. The mosque was completed in 1452.
There are two minarets in the mosque, each of which is three stories tall with carved balconies. The Shaking Minarets of Sidi Bashir's Mosque remains a mystery till today. Shake one minaret and the other resonates in harmony while the interconnecting terrace stands still. The actual cuase of this is unknown. This phenomenon was first observed in the 19th century by Monier M Williams, a British Sanskrit scholar."
We received a tour of the mosque from its care-taker, who told us the job has been in his family for generations. I really appreciated the time he took to show us the architectural details. Also, as the week went on, I would learn to appreciate the fact that he was such a gracious host to a group of women, since many mosques do not allow women inside.
After leaving the mosque, we were taken to Kankaria Lake: "Kankaria is a polygonal artificial lake. It is the biggest lake of the city of Ahmedabad, Gujurat. It has an approximate circumference of 1.4 miles (2.3 km). Built by Sultan Kutubuddin in 15th century A.D> This bewitching lake has intricate sluice gates and 34 sides which were completed in 1451. Its ancient name is Haui-E-Kutub. It also consists of a water purfication system but that is lost with time. At one point of the circular lake, there opens a walkway which later merges into a garden called Nagina Wadi (means jewel garden in Urdu) that is located in the center of the lake.
Mughal Emperor Jahangir and his Empress wife Noor Jahan frequently visited the lake. It now stands as a local picnic spot and a space for joggers."
After taking a group photo at the lake, we returned to the campus of Gandhi University for breakfast, the morning seminar, and the beginning of the board meeting.