Ahmedabad was recently declared as India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO. This declaration lies in hand with the process initiated by the now Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2010 gave the city a massive image-over. This announcement was tweeted by Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations cultural agency, United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Ahmedabad checks almost all the criteria required for it to be given this title. These criterias include ‘bearing testimony to a cultural tradition or civilisation which is living or has disappeared,’ ‘representing a masterpiece of human creative genius,’ and ‘exhibiting an important interchange of human values over a span of time, or within a cultural area of the world.
The origin of the city dates back to over 600 years ago and today, it stands out as an instance where the old and new prosper together, along with balance between industrial and heritage growth.
Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat has much more to offer that proves that the majestic city rightfully deserves the new tag.
1. UN has the major objective of sustainable development which Ahmedabad as a city embodies by preserving its ancient heritage and culture as well as advancing in its industrial development. And for this very sole reason, it was chosen to be India’s first smart city.
2. Ahmedabad is in rich in its architectural monuments and building that displays the harmonization of both the Hindu and Islamic heritage. Due to its changing monarchic successions in the past, the city exhibits evidence of skilled craftsmen of Hindu, Muslim and Jain culture. The city houses historic monuments like the 15th century Bhadra Fort, Jhulta Minar or the swaying minaret as it’s otherwise known, and the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque which introduced the world to the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.
3. Ahmedabad or Amdavad as it’s known to the locals is a walled city of India. A 10 km walled palisade with 12 gates was erected by Mahmud Begada, the grandson of the city’s founder. The remains of the wall can be still seen along the river Sabarmati along with other gates such as the Delhi Gate, Teen Darwaza, etc.
4. Mahatma Gandhi, the Nation’s Father started his struggle for freedom from this city. The city is famously known for the Gandhi Ashram on the western banks of Sabarmati River which was the living quarters of Gandhiji in the past. The Ashram also houses some of his personal belongings along with his spinning wheel. <
5. The city is a blossoming center of trade. During the establishment of the city, its ruler, Ahmed Shah invited all the merchants, weavers, etc from all over the country and near-by countries to set up shops and sell their products.
6. A pol is a residential settlement with its own urban structure, with close packed houses in the old parts of town. Every pol will have its won building of worship of the faith that is followed by the respective pol. These pols in Ahmedabad symbolise the consistent union of tradition with the modern times. They are the backbone and heart of the city.