New Delhi, Oct 26: In one of its first major initiatives in art and cultural philanthropy, the Axis Bank Foundation (ABF) under its Axis Cares program has tied up with Sahapedia, the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, to support a series of nationwide Heritage Walks — a project aimed at helping people gain deeper understanding of the material, cultural and built heritage of their cities and towns.
ABF will support around 200 fully guided walking tours organized by Sahapedia over a period of one year, nearly half of which will be planned and curated exclusively for people with disabilities and underprivileged children.
Heritage Walk is a continuing project of Sahapedia, which organizes around eight to ten such tours every month in different locations. The walks are led by curators who are not just well-versed with the history, culture, monuments, alleys and byways of their cities, but are adept at engaging conversations and story-telling.
Registrations for these events are limited but free, and a typical walk involves a light itinerary, a gentle stroll introducing participants to lesser known sights and sounds of the area, interesting stories and tidbits of information, chats with locals, sampling of local produce and so on. The walks are often theme-based and may cover anything from art and architecture, to food and nature.
With the support of ABF, Sahapedia is hoping to reach around 15,000 participants covering 20 cities in one year’s time.
“Heritage Walks are a novel concept for us and ABF is committed to support socially relevant endeavors, and this is certainly an activity that merits support,” said Mr. Jacob Ninan, CEO. “An awareness of history and heritage of a city is not just important for visitors, but for residents too that they may appreciate and conserve it better” he said.
“Support for disadvantaged groups is at the core of ABF’s philosophy, and so we are particularly happy that Sahapedia is curating some of these walks for people with disabilities and for children from less privileged backgrounds,” added Mr. Ninan.
Sahapedia’s Executive Director Sudha Gopalakrishnan said their Heritage Walks are inclusive by design. “We curate tailor-made programmes for two reasons — firstly to make such activities accessible for people who are often left out from cultural engagements for no fault of their own, and secondly to make institutions aware of the issues these groups face so they can alter the heritage spaces to make them more inclusive.”
The activities will range from walks through museums, and historically significant monuments and markets, to explorations of natural landscapes and areas known for their cuisine. They will be themed and curated for specific groups such as students, travelers, women, children, corporate teams and so on.
About Axis Bank Foundation
ABF is a Trust set up by the Axis Bank to channel its Corporate Social Responsibility. While the focus area for ABF is “Sustainable Livelihoods”, it also enables employees of Axis Bank to donate to causes they wish to support under a Personal Social Responsibility platform – “Axis Cares”. Under Axis Cares, ABF has been aiding exemplary projects across other domains - Child Needs You, A Hand for the Elderly, Nurture Nature, Wildlife and Us, Sports for Everyone and Preserve Heritage , Conserve India.
A non-profit organization, Sahapedia manages www.sahapedia.org, a web-based open resource on the arts, cultures and histories of India. It contains multimedia modules made up of articles, interviews, photographs, performance videos, maps, walkthroughs and bibliographies on various subjects that assimilate the history and culture of the nation.
Sahapedia, which has access to a large talent pool of academicians and researchers, also undertakes large-scale cultural documentation and conservation projects. Some of these projects include a 12-volume book series on the Rashtrapati Bhavan, digital cultural mapping of Fort Kochi city, and an ongoing Museum Mapping project that aims to bring nearly 1,000 museums across India on a single digital platform. Besides these Sahapedia also organizes heritage walks, baithaks (talks) and workshops for art and culture enthusiasts
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