One of the oldest gardens in the city of Ahmedabad, Law Garden gets its name from the famous IM Nanavati Law College just opposite it.
I have grown up running on the pathways of Law Garden, gossiping with friends on the benches scattered across its length and breadth, and eaten countless packets of popcorn and ice creams sitting on its various lawns. Law Garden, hence, has a special place in my heart, though it has nothing on the majestic gardens of Delhi or Bangalore, for that matter, in terms of size. It is neat and well-maintained by Torrent Power, frequented by joggers and walkers every morning and evening. I used to find excuses to visit Law Garden then, and still rush to visit it whenever I am in Ahmedabad.
There are a lot of people who call Law Garden Love Garden, thanks to the number of lovey-dovey couples that you will find scattered across it at all times of day. I still cannot control the giggles when I think of Amma trying to get auto rickshaw drivers to take her to ‘Law Garden’, not ‘Love Garden’. It used to be a debate, going on all the time. 🙂
By night, the bylanes around one part of the garden transform into one of the most happening markets in the city. The streets literally come alive, as hundreds of vendors set up their stalls and locals and travellers alike descend to shop for this and that. Files with beautiful Gujarati embroidery, pillow covers, bedspreads, salwar suits and dress materials, sarees, skirts, chaniya cholis and lehengas, stoles, shawls, wall hangings, necklaces and earrings, hairpins and rubber bands, wooden artefacts, keychains, pants and leggings, purses and cloth bags, T-shirts and kurtis – these are among the things you can shop for at the evening market here.
The market is a riot of colour all evenings, a photographer’s delight, especially before Navratri, when the loveliest of chaniya cholis and accessories are up for sale.
I still have with me the kurtis, tops, bags and files that I have purchased at this market over the years, and they are still serving me well.
‘Bargain, bargain, bargain’ is the mantra that you must keep in mind while shopping here, though. Do not get shell-shocked by the sky-high prices that the vendors quote for that beautiful table cloth or that gorgeous hand-embroidered shawl. They are quite used to bargaining with buyers, and will not even flinch when you mention a price that is 1/3 of the price that was originally quoted. If you have good enough haggling skills (I don’t – I admit!), you will end up with a decent bargain after about 15-20 minutes of verbal back-and-forth.
Along another part of the garden’s periphery, there is another street that comes alive with hundreds of stalls selling a variety of food stuff, every evening. If you visit the garden by day, you will find no sign at all of this food street, popularly called ‘Khau Gali’ or ‘Khaudhra Gali’. Come 6 PM, though, and chairs and tables, dishes and glasses, cutlery and table mats, pots and pans, umbrellas and makeshift stalls appear magically, and the area is converted.
By 9 PM, you will hardly find place to sit here, especially during the weekends. No wonder, I say, when the most delicious of grub is available here, in a mind-boggling variety. Chinese, South Indian, Mexican, Italian, Gujarati, North Indian, Tandoori – take your pick, whatever your taste buds fancy for the day! Once you enter the lane, though, be prepared to be lunged at by the waiters from various stalls, thrusting their menu cards at you, wanting you to dine ‘only the best food’ at their place.
Pav bhaji and pulao at Honest, Chinese food at Ajay Intercontinental, the Gujarati-styled pizza at Jasuben’s Old Pizza, and kulfi at Asharfi’s are some personal favourites and recommendations. Must try, whenever you are in this part of town! And, oh, the chana chor garam, hajma hajam, mini samosas, dalwadas, and varieties of sweet corn that you can buy off any of the many push carts here totally deserve a mention here, as well.
The story behind Old Pizza is quite inspiring too! Do give it a read.
If street food is not your preferred choice of dinner, you can choose to eat at one of the several great eateries surrounding Law Garden. Some must-visits are Swati Snacks for Gujarati and Parsi delicacies, Freezeland for its range of sandwiches and pav bhaji, Jay Bhavani for its yummylicious vada pavs and dabelis.
For the fitness-conscious people who walk or jog in Law Garden, there are various healthy breakfast options available in the mornings. From aloo poha to idli to upma to bittergourd, carrot and gooseberry juice, you have a wide choice.
For children, apart from the play area inside Law Garden, there are horse rides available in the midst of all the hullabaloo of the market.
Great food, great shopping, loads of colour and life – Law Garden has all that one needs to make a fun evening. You will visit the next time you are in Ahmedabad, won’t you? And you will tell me all about it, yeah?