Udaipur is familiar to the world as a beautiful city of lakes and palaces, but not many might know it rests today on the remains of an ancient and advanced Bronze Age settlement that may have been equally stunning to behold.
The royal city’s links to Ahar-Banas, a culture contemporaneous with the Indus Valley Civilisation, and other nuggets of history will be explored in the Ahar Udaipur Heritage Walk being organised as part of the nationwide India Heritage Walk Festival this month.
IHWF 2018 is an initiative of Sahapedia, 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 walk in Udaipur on Saturday, February 10, is in partnership with the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF) and will be centered on Ahar, among the largest rural Bronze Age sites of Ahar-Banas Culture of South Rajasthan, represented by various stone structures, hearths, copper and bronze objects.
The participants will later tour the Royal Cenotaphs (Mahasatya Ji), the GangaudbhavKund, the 10th century BhaktimatiMeera Temple, the Ahar Jain Temple, and a temple of Shantinatha. The MMCF, which is actively working to protect and promote crafts and folk art of Ahar, will also lead the tour to traditional musical instrument shops where the walkers can meet traditional tie-and-die craftsmen who are keeping the past alive through their music.
Details about the walks and other programmes of IHWF 2018, map routes and registration information are available on http://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.’
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, Glocal Convenor, 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 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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