In an attempt to unravel the unexplored story of Chandigarh city’s first chief architect, Sahapedia, under the ongoing India Heritage Walk Festival(IHWF) 2019, will be organising a heritage walk at Pierre Jeanneret’s house, which has now been converted into a museum.
The Swiss architect, who was instrumental in the design and development of Chandigarh, stayed there from 1951 to 1965, and designed most of the government housing infrastructure, schools, colleges and shopping centres, along with the famous Gandhi Bhawan and Panjab University. He also supervised the implementation of his cousin Le Corbusier’s designs of structures like the Capitol Complex, the Museum and Art Gallery, College of Art, City Centre, and others.
During his stay in Chandigarh, the architect lived in a self-designed house in Sector 5, now an important landmark in the city. Such was Jeanneret’s love for the city that,according to his will, his ashes were immersed in the Sukhna Lake of Chandigarh after he died in 1967.
The guided tour, titled “The Creation of History – A Museum Walk at Maison Pierre Jeanneret”, will beled by Dr Avita Khawas, an ardent heritage enthusiast and a keen researcher with deep knowledge of heritage, culture and traditions of India. The walk will be held on February 10, from 10 am to 12 noon.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.
Other walks in Chandigarh include “Sensual to Spiritual – Women in Indian Art” by painter, photographer and amateur poet Jyoti J. Khemka. As part of this walk, she will facilitate an exploration of ways in which the body has been depicted in Indian art, with a focus on women in ancient culture. The walk will be held at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh.The tour, on February 17, will begin at 10:30 am.
On February 24, Khemka will be leading another heritage walk through the journey of the evolution of the Earth at the Natural History Museum, Chandigarh. The subject of the tour will be the origins of the planet, life through 14 huge cycloramas, the Big Bang, rise of Homo sapiens and evolution of the modern man. The 90-minute free tour will begin at 10:30 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