Sahapedia’s ongoing India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF) 2019, in partnership with UNESCO, will be organising a free guided tour to explore the Art Deco buildings of Mumbai, home to one of its largest centres in the world.
On February 24, walk leader Nityaa Iyer, conservation architect at the Art Deco Mumbai Trust, will be leading the heritage tour, covering the city’s first set of Art Deco buildings at the Oval Maidan. These buildings were built in the 1930s, and were recently inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“I believe that community engagement plays a significant role in preserving built cultural heritage. The walk will delve into the nuances of architecture, design and history of the Art Deco buildings,” said Iyer, whose organisation’s main aim is raising awareness and appreciation along with documenting Mumbai’s rich Deco heritage.The guided tour will begin at 8 am. 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.
In a separate guided tour, Neethu Mathew and Urvashi Chudawala will be conducting a walk on the heritage beyond the walls of the Bombay Fort. By the end of the 19th century, the walls of the Bombay Fort were pulled down and bridges were constructed to link the islands. This planned move transformedthe city’s future.
“It has been well observed that what was built within the fort stands even today. Ranging from offices and institutions to beautiful open spaces and avenues, the British headquarters established a Victorian lifestyle within the fort walls. As we cover a trail in the vicinity of this mini-Britain, we will alternate between listening to stories and imagining the high walls, gates and moats that once existed, and observing the architectural marvels of the colonial era,” said Mathew, an architect and urban designer. The guided tour will begin at 4 pm on February 24.
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 over 110 events including heritage walks, Baithaks, workshops, Instameets and programmes curated for differently-abled and children from underprivileged background. 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