The picturesque Kashmir Valley may be buffeted by a prolonged phase of unrest and turbulence, but a walk through the mystical lanes of the old part of Srinagar City reveals the diverse social and cultural spaces along with a variety of exquisite architectural traditions and the oldest monument of Kashmir.
A free guided walk, slated for February 10, will take the visitors to places centred around Jamia Masjid, highlighting the architectural and cultural traditions of Kashmir linked with various Sufi orders that were established in the city. Dating back to the 15th century, Jamia Masjidis the principal mosque in Srinagar City.It encloses a historic market that remains a major social and cultural hub of Srinagar and an emblem of the city’s robust eclectic traditions.
The walk, conducted as part of the second edition of India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF),will start from Mazar-e-Shuhada, the royal cemetery of the Shahmiri Sultan of Kashmir who ruled the region from the 14th to the early 16th century. It also contains the mausoleum of Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin’s mother, Dumath, which is the oldest historical monument of Kashmir.
With its typical construction style, it bears huge significance and exemplifies the architectural evolution of the 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 two-and-a-half-hour-walk (10 am-12.30 pm) will also include a visit to the shrine of Peer Haji Shab; the cenotaph of Sultan Qutb-ud-din; ruins of the tomb of Malik Jalal-ud-din Thakur (a courtier of King Zain-ul-Abideen); the shrine of Naqshband Sahib (an earlier madrasa and palace of Sultan Hassan Shah), while winding through areas depicting the culture and typical lifestyle of the people living in the Shehar-e-Khaas, the old city of Srinagar.
Taha Mughal, an architect associated with INTACH (Kashmir Chapter), will lead the walk, vividly recounting to refresh the memory of its residents about the historical and contemporary evolution of the city in the backdrop of its rich cultural treasures. INTACH Kashmir Chapter is the partner for this walk.
Srinagar is among 37 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2019 organised jointly by Sahapedia (sahapedia.org), the online resource on Indian arts and culture, and UNESCO, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns.
The IHWF, which received the prestigious PATA Gold Award 2018 for its maiden edition organised lastyear, 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 democratize access to local history and culture. One might be living in the same neighbourhood for years, but there is abig chance that an important landmark, tucked away in a back alley, has been missed and forgotten. TheIHWF 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 IHWFprogramme addresses knowledge of local architectural heritage, sustainable tourism, with a special focuson 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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