When backpacking in India, I decided to visit the country’s strictest “dry province”, that is to say, “alcohol free province”, the north western province of Gujarat which borders Pakistan. My reasons for visiting Gujarat dated back to a Michael Palin documentary where I remember Palin had to fill in a certificate or document to collect alcohol. But also because Gujarat, is Gandhi Land. Mahatma Gandhi was born in the town of Porbandar in the west of Gujarat State. I based myself at the Hotel Formule 1 in Ahmedabad. But before that, I applied online for the alcohol permit.
I remembered how cool it was to drink alcohol in Iraq, to get a permit to bring alcohol into Brunei and to have a few sneaky beers while backpacking in Bahrain. So a night on the rip in Ahmedabad beckoned, with a difference.
Michael Palin-esque, I got the train from Mumbai into the Gujarat Province and I ended up in the city of Ahmedabad, the former capital of this province and a city which has a total of eleven places where foreigners can buy alcohol.
Alcohol Laws in Gujarat, India
Gujarat is the strictest of Provinces for alcohol in India. It is still the only Indian state with a death penalty for makers and sellers of homemade liquor. This legislation is titled the Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2009. Scary stuff – yes a death penalty for makers and sellers of alcohol, ouch.
There are other parts of India that also ban alcohol, but Gujarat remains the strictest beast. Nagaland and parts of Manipur as well as in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep also ban alcohol, but not with a death penalty. The State of Kerala has been implementing prohibition in a phased manner since 2014. Bihar has announced a ban on alcohol sale starting 1 April 2016. All other Indian states and union territories permit the sale of alcohol and it’s widely available in New Delhi and Mumbai, and especially in “Hippy Goa bruv”.
How to Apply for a Permit to Drink Alcohol in Gujarat Province?
You can now apply for your permit to drink alcohol in Gujarat Province online, just go to this link and follow my guide. You will need to fill in all the forms and frustratingly upload four images, all of which must be resized to be less than 200KB. This took me ages to re-size the images.
The four images you need are:
1.An image of your face – i.e. a passport photo.
2.An image of your passport’s photo page – take a photo of it.
3.An image of your train, bus or flight ticket into Gujarat Province. I came by train, so used my train ticket – take a photo of it.
4.An image of a receipt that proves you are staying in a hotel. Ask your hotel for this – there are no real hostels in Ahmedabad. I will try to mention in another article sometime, that booking a hotel in Ahmedabad is not an easy thing and thanks to being a travel blogger, this was made easier for me by my welcome at the Hotel Formule 1 in Ahmedabad. You don’t need an image of your Indian visa which I found odd.
Once you have all that uploaded on the website, submit your form online and they will immediately issue you with a permit which still says “pending”. This is because you need to print out this form and take it to a licensed venue to get your actual stamped permit. The officials working there need to confirm it all anyway, this is just an online document. You are told:
- Permit approval is subjected to physical verification of required documents.
- Please carry your permit at the authorized wine shop To See the List of Permit Centres of Gujarat. Click Here
- Designated authorities will sign and stamp your permit after physical verification of your uploaded documents.
- Official Timings are: 12:00PM to 8:00PM.
Where can you buy Alcohol in Ahmedabad?
As of March 2016, there were only 9 outlets in Ahmedabad which sell alcohol to permit holders. They are:
1 Cama Hotels Ltd. Khanpur Road, Ahmedabad Ahmedabad
2 Hotel Inder Residency Behind Madhuvan Tower, Madalpur, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad Ahmedabad
3 Rivera Hotel’s Pvt. Ltd. Bhavan’s College Road, Khanpur, Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad
4 Hotel President C. G. Road, Opp. Muni. Market, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad
5 Royal Menor Hotel’s Ind. Ltd. Airport Char Rasta, Hansol, Ahmedabd Ahmedabad
6 St Laurn Hotel’s Ltd 15-Ashram Road,Juna wadaj,Ahmedabad Ahmedabad
7 The Grand Bhagawati sakhej-Gandhinagar Road, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad Ahmedabad
8 PACIFICA HOTELS (AHMEDABAD PROJECT) PVT. LTD., Courtyard By Marriott, 86/2/6, Ramdevnagar Cross Road, Near Satellite Police Station, Ahmedabad
9 THE METROPOLE HOTEL (Unit of Majestic Projects Pvt. Ltd.) NEAR RTO CIRCLE, SUBHASH BRIDGE CORNER,AHMEDABAD Ahmedabad.
I got mine in the Grand Bhagwati Hotel, Ahmedabad.
So that’s it – You Can Now Buy Alcohol in Gujarat State?
No. Definitely not! This turned out to be harder than I expected. Despite filling in the online permit and having this document, I still had to go to the hotel to get my actual permit. The strange thing is, I may as well not have bothered doing this online application! However I thought I’d write the post for you all so you can see how to apply for the permit online. When you get to a Licensed Venue, you have to basically start the application from scratch anyway! But don’t sweat, you’ll get your permit no problem, just head to this article on how to get your alcohol permit at the Grand Bhagwati Hotel in Ahmedabad!