Manekbaba, as he was fondly called, was an enlightened soul whose life straddled the 13th and 14th centuries.
The residents of Ashavalli and Karnavati (as the area was called before the advent of Ahmedshah Badshah) held him great reverence.
When Ahmedshah was out hunting close to Ashavalli, he saw a hare chasing a dog. He was deeply impressed – he thought , ‘if hare of this place is this brave, the people would also be as brave, if not more!’ He therefore decided to found a new city – Ahmedabad, at the site.
In creating the new city, the Badshah ordered a fort wall to be built. Work began in earnest and during the day, the walls would collapse. It is said that when guru Maneknathji wove a mat during the day the fort would soar up to the sky but at night, he pulled the strands of the mat apart and the fort walls would come tumbling down. After a few days of this , the Badshah sought the advice of a Sufi Saint, at Sarkhej. The Sufi Saint advised the Badshah to seek the blessings of Guru Maneknathji.
The Badshah sought the blessings of Guru Maneknathji and asked his help setting up the city, Guru Maneknathji told Ahmedshah your intensions are noble and you may even manage to build a city but since the place and time of the foundation is not correct, the city will never prosper and grow. Thus under the guidance of Guru Maneknathji, Mohamed Khattu redesigned the layout of Ahmedabad city and built the fort walls anew. The bastion from where the fort walls anew was named Manek Burj as a permanent tribute to visionary saint Maneknathji.
The little island that Guru Maneknathji resided on (now called Manek Chowk) was formed by a rivulet of the Sabarmati River that ran under what is today Fernandez bridge. The rivulet was called the Manek River.
It is said that shortly after Ahmedabad City was built, Guru Maneknathji took ‘Jeevti Samadhi” on the island. “Jeevti Samadhi” is the practice of voluntarily burying yourself alive and was practiced by those who had achieved “Siddhi” or enlightenment in their lifetime. However, being the enlightened soul that he was, Guru Maneknathji is said to have resurrected at many different places around the country. To this day, the temples mark the auspicious spots where he gave ‘Darshan”. The hills at the village Lotol near Daanta and the Bahratri Village near Thasra bear testimony to this. And the faithful continue to visit these shrines to seek his blessings as part of the pilgrimage to the holiest of holy places.
The Samadhi sthal of Maneknathji at Manek chowk continues to draw the faithful who gave always believed that he is the patron saint of prosperity. The fact that the Soni bazaar of Ahmedabad originated at Manek Chowk around Guru Maneknathji’s Samadhi is no accident. And neither is the fact that the oldest stock exchange in the country was located within the flourishing Manek Chowk. Actually, Manek Chowk has always been the business hub of the city – the major grain market, vegetable market, cloth market, metals market, stationary market, wholesale markets, etc are all located around it!.
Mahant Ghanshyamnathji, the 12th generation of Guru Maneknathji’s gaadi, continues the century’s old, unbroken tradition of poojan at the Samadhi every day, On every Monday, as also an auspicious occasions there is special poojan. On Dussera, fresh pennants are raised on the samadhis as well as the Burj.
With the blessings of Guru Maneknathji Ahmedabad continues to be the hub of business, cultural heritage, communal harmony, bonding and prosperity.