Ahmedabad, Feb 2: India’s first designated World Heritage City has since antiquity been a melting pot of diverse cultures and faiths. Ahmedabad residents are now getting out to find out what makes their city so unique, to hear the stories of its peoples, the histories behind its monuments and impact its traditions have had on the country and the world.
The former capital of Gujarat is one of the 20 locations hosting the month-long, multi-city India Heritage Walk Festival 2018 organised jointly by Sahapedia, the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, and YES Culture, the cultural division of YES Global Institute, a practising think tank of YES BANK, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns.
In Ahmedabad the festival will kick-off on Saturday, February 3 with a walk that explores the unique symbolism, art, architecture and associated history of some of the sacred places within the city and their respective communities.
Titled ‘Walking the Sacred Route @ World Heritage City of Ahmedabad’, the tour will be led by Meghna Sheth Gandhi and will allow the participants a glimpse into the basic ideologies and belief systems of these faiths.
Meghna, the founder of H2 Oasis - the History & Heritage Oasis, will lead another walk, ‘The Jains & the Mughals: A Symphony That Continued!’ on Saturday, 17 February.
It will reflect on the Maratha and the British rule in Ahmedabad, but mainly highlight the brilliant relationship of the Jain Shresthis with the Mughals — from Akbar to Aurangzeb and Murad.
The walk is a tribute to the farsightedness, virtuous and philanthropic activities of many who have contributed to the city’s peace and prosperity — from Mantri Udayan Mehta to Nagarsheth Shantidas Zaveri, Harkunwar Shethani and Kasturbhai Lalbhai.
The second of the three walks in Ahmedabad on Saturday, February 10 will explore the traditions of a region that has provided the world with some of the finest threads and most sought-after textiles.
‘Of Rich Textiles and Historic Lineages: A Textile Trail in Ahmedabad’ will be led by Ms. Hetal Srivastav, a graduate from NIFT Gandhinagar who belongs to a family of weavers herself and has been guiding trails for travel group Breakaway that specializes in off-the-map art and culture tours.
The walk will introduce participants to traditional Indian embroidery techniques like Aahir embroidery and Rabari embroidery, and then transport them back in history to Gandhiji’s time to observe how khadi cotton was spun and the impact it had on the Indian freedom movement.
The walkers will have a chance to interact, observe and learn the art of spinning from a master weaver whose father taught Gandhiji how to make his own clothes on the spinning wheel.
Details of the walk including registration information and map routes are available on www.indiaheritagewalkfestival.com
Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, says, “The India Heritage Walk Festival 2018 is a celebration of all that Sahapedia stands for. In an attempt to create authentic, credible, and exhaustive content on our rich heritage and culture, we are developing a network of cultural practitioners across the country. This festival is a part of this pan-India movement, making heritage spaces more popular, more accessible, and more experiential. This is exactly why the festival tries to involve people from various walks of life with a range of thematic experiences covered through the walks, and caters to as many people as possible.”
“India is blessed with a rich heritage and cultural history, which is abundantly manifested in monuments and architectural sites across our country. Civil society participation in our Nation’s heritage, aided by activities such as heritage walks, is integral to the preservation and conservation of these sites. Such heritage tourism initiatives, with the whole hearted participation and involvement of local communities and citizens, has the potential to instill immense national pride and further the agenda of heritage development,”says Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK and Chairman, YES Global Institute.
Preeti Sinha, Global Convenor, YES BANK and Senior President, YES Global Institute, says,“The understanding of heritage in 21st century India has expanded from the protection of historic buildings and monuments to focus on more general understanding of the wider context and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural forms. Through active engagement with built, natural and living heritage through the design of walks, talks, and digital media such as films and social forums, the festival will be a touchstone for conscious thinking towards formulating historically-sensitive policy and decision making.”
IHWF 2018, covering 20 cities and towns around the country, will feature walks to historical monuments and shrines, well-known landscapes, places known for art and culture, cuisine and, flourishing trade.
There will be an online film festival of documentaries based on cultural themes and lecture series curated as 'baithaks' and Instameets as part of nearly 70 events scheduled throughout the month.
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