Ahmedabad (population 3.5 - 4 million) is the biggest city in Gujarat and well connected with all India's major cities, both by air and by train. It is the former capital of Gujarat - the current state capital, Gandhinagar, is about 25 kms away.
Delhi-Ahmedabad: Distance by train 930 kms (takes 14 to 19 hours depending on the train)
Mumbai-Ahmedabad: Distance by train – 500 kms (8-10 hours)
There are also direct trains and flights to Ahmedabad from Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Pune.
Railway tickets can be booked up to 90 days in advance. Most trains have Sleeper Class berths, as well as AC (Air-Conditioned) 3 tier and 2 AC tier berths. Some trains also have 1st AC, and AC Chair Car coaches (seats, not sleeper berths). To book a railway ticket register at: http://irctc.co.in/ and then book using a Credit Card, or for Mumbai-Ahmedabad and back you can join the WRI group bookings (see registration form).
Air bookings can be made at any of the following websites:
Three-wheeler auto rickshaws are available from both the railway station and the city airport. The city airport is about 15 kms from the conference venue. The approximate rickshaw fares (in September and subject to change in January) are Rs. 100-150 (from airport), and Rs. 50 (railway station). Even though auto rickshaws have a meter, be prepared to haggle.
http://www.mapmyindia.com is a good site to locate places, distances, directions etc.
The Indian currency is Rupees & Paise. Conversion rates (as of Sept 2009) are:
- 1 US$ = Rs. 47.96
- 1 Euro = Rs. 70.85
- 1 Pound (GBP) = Rs.77.68
Major banks, etc, accept debit cards and traveller's checks. Cash machines (ATMs) are common, usually with a Rs 20,000 withdrawal limit per day.
Venue - Gujarat Vidyapith
Gujarat Vidyapith is a recognised University founded by Gandhiji in 1920. It currently offers Graduate, Post Graduate, M. Phil and Doctoral courses in Social Work, Education, Economics, Hindi, Peace Research and Gandhian thought. The University campus is at a prime location in the heart of Ahmedabad city, hence food, medicine, transport and internet access will be available.
Participants will be lodged mostly in twin or multiple-sharing rooms or with University staff (on request).
The University campus is a no-smoking, no-alcohol zone, and we urge all participants to respect that while on the grounds. For practical reasons, it is best not to expose your flesh to the sun and mosquitoes, but also out of cultural sensitivity, please don't display your thighs or breasts. Anyone wishing to buy khadi clothes will find a store opposite the University entrance. It is not culturally offensive to greet an old friend with a hug or kiss, but please no snogging in public. Certain Indian participants attending the conference are controversial figures in Ahmedabad and we don't want to give their critics other excuses for taking offence or paying unwanted attention to this event.
- Consult a doctor for advice about vaccinations and anti-malaria pills - ideally three months before leaving.
- Buy water in bottles unless you have a special filter or water purifying tablets.
- Food: Avoid raw fruit and veg, unless you can peal it, and especially if it's cut. When eating outside the conference, avoid food that has been standing for hours in the heat.
At a stone's throw from the venue of the conference is Gandhi's famous Sabarmati Ashram. There is also his first ashram at Kochrab, also in the city. Ahmedabad has famous temples and mosques, some ancient structures, the old walled city and modern tourist places and educational institutions such as the National Institute of Design, the Indian Institute of Management, shopping malls and cinemas.
Visa requirements depend on which country's passport you have. Indian embassies and consulates are listed here: http://meaindia.nic.in/onmouse/mission.htm
Formal letters of invitation to individual participants will be sent on request.