Walking Through the Forgotten City of Old Agra
Agra, Feb 8: A slice of the history of Agra, the abode of resplendent Taj, will be plucked from oblivion as residents of this medieval city are taken on a tour to stimulate their memory of some famous but forgotten landmarks in an upcoming curated walk series as part of the ongoing India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF).
Agra is among 20 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2018 organised jointly by Sahapedia (sahapedia.org), an 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.
The three-hour twin walk on February 11 and 24 will take the residents on a tour of the historic Kala Mahal area through the Officer Street (Haakiman Street), the Shahi Jama Masjid and several other temples and mosques in Old Agra, the forgotten capital city of the Mughals now mostly confined to books and archives.
Both the walks will be led by Agra localite Tahir Ahmed Qureshi, an enthusiastic traveller, storyteller, film-maker and writer with a specific interest in history, food and people. An avid cat lover, he is currently engaged in an endeavour of setting up a collaborative studio-residence space for artists in Agra, and building a community of people who share dreams, needs and vision about their city.
Mr Qureshi will make the walk interesting by narrating the history of the past, present and future of Agra in a story-telling manner. Those joining the walk can also interact with locals, and talk about major art and political figures of the city. The walk will end with a traditional breakfast at the walk leader's ancestral home.
Details about the walks and other programmes of IHWF 2018, map routes and registration information are available on http://www.indiaheritagewalkfestival.com
According to Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, ‘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.’
Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK and Chairman, YES Global Institute, says ‘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 wholehearted participation and involvement of local communities and citizens, have the potential to instill immense national pride and further the agenda of heritage development.’
Preeti Sinha, Global Convenor, YES BANK and Senior President, YES Global Institute, adds, ‘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 is a touchstone for conscious thinking towards formulating historically-sensitive policy and decision making.’
IHWF 2018, covering 20 cities and towns around the country, features walks to historical monuments and shrines, well-known landscapes, places known for art and culture, cuisine and flourishing trade.
There is 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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