Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Ahmedabad: India’s first World Heritage City

It is proud moment for every Indian that UNESCO has declared Ahmedabad as World Heritage City. Of course, Ahmedabad was in the race for the prestigious title along with Delhi and Mumbai. There are many who are not aware about the various heritage places in Ahmedabad. The names of various places monuments are found only in tourism maps and websites. Ahmedabad rose in stature and soon began to be called the “Garden city of Hindustan”. It flourished during the steady reign of the Sultans. The merchant class grew in affluence, and peace and stability began to attract a great number of people from surrounding areas. It is now the largest city in Gujarat and the seventh largest city in India. One would be surprised to know that Manek Chowk, named after Maneknath became the marketing complex of the new city. Kalupur, named after Begda’s minister Abba Haji Kalu, consists of a mixed population of Jains and Muslims. Usmanpura was a prosperous suburb during the Badshah period, specializing in the trade of ghee and local medicines. The era of the Sultans in Gujarat has often been called the “Golden age of Ahmedabad”. Architecture has found its glory in Ahmedabad. Today, the masjid of Siddi Sayed and the design of  “Jalis” has become the main advertising logos of the city.

Our heritage is all that has been passed to us by previous generations. Cultural heritage is a legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society – man-made heritage. It is disheartening to note that some people, are forgetting that they are doing an irreparable damage to invaluable archaeological masterpieces by inscribing their initials, names, love messages on these national treasures. We must learn to value our inheritance for reasons beyond their mere utility and their functional use. This is because each heritage is unique and exceptional; it is the responsibility of the current generation to preserve it. The conservation and protection of these monuments cannot be neglected any further.

Cities like Ahmedabad have emerged as the prime engines of the Indian economic growth and generators of national wealth. Ahmedabad is the best of India’s mega-cities and is the commercial capital of Gujarat. The city has progressed steadily over the years due to uninterrupted and stable power supply, adequate water supply, wide and maintained roads, friendly and traditional, yet progressive people, good educational and health care facilities etc. People still reside in heritage buildings in the old city that has become hosts for some of the most modern management schools.

Ahmedabad residents are known for their cooperative attitude, entrepreneurship and aspiration for values. Graced by rich heritage and culture Ahmedabad offers values to the tradition and diversity. One would have observed that the Amdavadis are very fun loving and has a lot of respect for the traditions and customs of their community. It would be no exaggeration to say that in the whole world there exists no town so grand and beautiful like Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad after 600 years now makes its presence on the international map. It is now regarded as a national pilgrimage, a symbol of non-violence and peace. One thing is certain that if the world today recognises Mahatma Gandhi as the apostle of peace, Ahmedabad had a major role in the making of the Mahatma. In the last 600 years, Ahmedabad has seen unpredictable changes and has developed into a mega-city which is at heart of Gujarat state’s development.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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