Pune, once a small settlement along the banks of Mutha river, rose to power in the 18th century. Though the city flourished under the Peshwas, the foundation of Pune can be traced back to a much earlier period.
While major parts of the city were built and rebuilt over time, a few remains from its rich historic past are a reminder of the city’s glorious cultural heritage. Sourabh Marathe, who has been conducting heritage walks in the city for the last few years, would be leading a heritage trail in the second edition of the India Heritage Walk festival (IHWF), taking residents through the historic remnants of Pune city.All bookings for the festival are powered by Odigos, a product by the Bird Group, is an online marketplace that connects tourists to certified guides in India. Odigos app provides a seamless way for travellers and locals alike to understand and explore the iconic sites of our country.
The walk leader, a conservation architect and Indologist by profession, will begin the free guided tour with Shaniwar Wada, a historic fortification in Pune and a symbol of the Maratha empire. The walk,scheduled for February 09, will explore the historic core of Pune, and help participants understand the area’s historical evolution and transformation..
In a separate walk, Swapna Joshi, who has a background in conservation, archaeology and heritage, will be exploring ‘wada’, which means ‘residential house’—part of the idiosyncratic architectural heritage denoting centuries of the history, culture and traditions of Pune.
“We appreciate the beauty of the wada, but aren’t we curious about the nitty-gritties of its very construction? How enlightening would it be to experience the aesthetics and technicalities of a structure that was built in the present day but continues to be a carrier of history?” said Joshi, who will conduct her walk, “History through Time and Space – Ensemble of Sarkarwada’, on February 16.
The free guided tour will involve exploration of Pune’s Sarkarwada in Ambegaon, part of the Shivasrushti project being built by the Shiv Chhatrapati Pratisthan. The walk should be experienced live on-site, through archival photos, videos and artistic impressions, Joshi added. The 90-minute tour will begin at 9 am.
The IHWF, which received the prestigious PATA Gold Award 2018 for its maiden edition organised last year, is a one-of-its-kind month-long festival covering 37 cities, with nearly 100 heritage walks and outreach events. The February 02-28 festival is being supported by NMDC, a state-run mineral producer and explorer. The events’ bookings are facilitated by Odigos, an app that makes travel and discovery easier in India.
Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, said: “We want to democratise access to local history and culture. One might be living in the same neighbourhood for years, but there is a big chance that an important landmark, tucked away in a back alley, has been missed and forgotten. The IHWF is that opportunity to discover the hidden gems linked to the history of a place, town or city.”
Junhi Han, Head and Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi office, said, “The IHWF programme addresses knowledge of local architectural heritage, sustainable tourism, with a special focus on gender-related issues and accessibility in cultural heritage facilitating more inclusive and better outreach. The festival is expected to involve, engage and sensitize more people, in particular the youth, about their cultural heritage.”
Details about the walks, registration and other programmes of IHWF 2019 are available on https://www.odigosguides.com/India-heritage-walk-festival
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