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Ahmedabad becomes India’s first World Heritage city

In June, members of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO had visited Ahmedabad and had informed the Central govt that it has deferred Ahmedabad’s world heritage city nomination. The WHC had stated that it was not satisfied with the documentation related to the “outstanding universal values” for Ahmedabad’s walled city.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: July 9, 2017 9:01 am
Ahmedabad World Heritage, World Heritage city, Unesco world heritage city Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad and World, Ahemedabad World Map, Indian express, india news 600 odd ‘pols’ or neighbourhoods with clusters of old havelis form the walled city’s living heritage. Javed Raja

The 606-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad, which was founded by emperor Ahmed Shah, has become India’s first World Heritage City. The World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO announced it on Twitter on Saturday after a meeting in Krakwo, Poland. “Thrilled to announce! Ahmedabad has just been declared India’s first #WorldHeritage city by @UNESCO,” tweeted Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to UNESCO.

“For over 600 years, Ahmedabad has stood for peace, as a landmark city where Mahatma Gandhi began India’s freedom struggle. It has stood for unity with its elegant carvings in its Hindu and Jain temples as well as standing as one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art. And beyond this, it epitomizes the United Nation’s objective of sustainable development as it accelerates in its development,” she said during Ahmedabad’s inscription.

Spread over 5.43 sq km, the walled city of Ahmedabad was preferred over Mumbai and Delhi during the nominations last year. With a population of 3.75 to 4 lakh, the city’s living heritage being the 600 odd ‘pols’ or neighbourhoods with clusters of centuries-old residences.

Ahmedabad’s nomination was supported by several countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Cuba and Poland. “The entire credit for this goes to the citizens of the city. It took us 20 years, and now I think the work has just started. We have become a national example and we have to make sure we stand by it. The government will also benefit from this and the old city will get better. People will now show interest in preserving their properties in the old city,” said Debashish Nayak, director of the Centre for Heritage Management at Ahmedabad University, who had launched the first heritage walk in the walled city.

“It started as a small step in 1996 when we started the heritage cell. Since then we have people dedicated to heritage management… We will now have to ensure that we perfectly maintain the 2,600 odd heritage sites in the city,” Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad Mukesh Kumar said.

In June this year, members of the WHC had visited Ahmedabad and had informed the Central government that it has deferred Ahmedabad’s world heritage city nomination. In a detailed note, the WHC had stated that it was not satisfied with the documentation related to the “outstanding universal values” for Ahmedabad’s walled city, referring to the city’s urban fabric, spaces, and buildings.

Welcoming the decision, architect and conservation specialist Rajdeep Routh said: “We have to make sure that we do not take this tag for granted. We have to set an example for the rest of the country as professionals, citizens and stakeholders. This status would also mean a sharp rise in property prices in the old city. I have observed the rise in price in the last five years, but now it will start shooting up.”

Jigna Desai, assistant professor at Cept University credited the status to Rabindra Vasavada, a retired professor of Cept University, who and his team took six years to put together the dossier for the walled city. Builder-turned-conservation expert Rajiv Patel, who has restored three havelis in the walled city, said, “This will give a boost to tourism. All the missing policies will fall in place to ensure that properties are restored and taken care of… We will have demarked areas in the city and problems like traffic will have to be resolved.”


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  1. T
    Tulika Saha
    Aug 6, 2017 at 6:52 am
    Congratulations to Nayak, Routh and all others who have pushed this through! It is no mean achievement. My heart fills with pride whenever I catch a glimpse of the city I grew up in and love. Now, more than ever, every Indian will be proud of its glorious past and vibrant present. From 'pol' to mall, the city has progressed, never losing sight of its roots as it modernizes and urbanizes its streets with a rising skyline and numerous conveniences.
    1. D
      Dibyendu Dey
      Jul 12, 2017 at 11:37 am
      It is really enjoyable that Ahmedabad city has been declared as World Heritage city by UNESCO.I was there in the city more than 7 years, i love the architecture and culture of Ahmedabad.
      1. S
        Samiul Hassan Quadri, Bikaner
        Jul 11, 2017 at 12:30 am
        Ahmedabad is one of the loveliest cities of the pre-Mughal India that boasts of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and its own unique style with indigenous Jain features. Sultan Ahmed Shah I (AD 1411-43), the illustrious ruler of Gujarat, founded this lovely city named after him in 1413, and shifted his capital fron Patan to it. A prolific builder, the Sultan adorned the city with numerous stately edifices. Ahmedabad's architectural marvals such as the Jama Masjid, Teen Darwaza, Ahmed Shah's tomb and many other magnificent buildings are among the finest exaples of the Indo-Islamic architecture of pre-Mughal India. Ahmedabad is a witness to India's national movement, as Mahatma Gandhi chose a place in its vicinity for his celebrated Dandi March. It is really pleasing to know that this city, with its rich history and composite culture, has got the distinction of being India's first World Heritage City. It will surely attract flocks of tourists to Gujarat.
        1. G
          Jul 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm
          Prayaga is the older name of Allahabad, not ahmedabad :) Ahmedabad was called "Ashaval" and "karnavati".
          1. R
            Jul 9, 2017 at 2:09 pm
            first change the city name, Hindus donot have to chant the cruel ,evil persons name, every day , its original name was Prayaga before Islamic conqueest
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