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Palace Stroll in Orchha on February 10

In Nation
February 07, 2019

The second edition of Sahapedia’s India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF), will organise the first guided tour of the majestic 16th-century Orchha Fort, which is home to many ancient monuments such as forts, palaces, temples and other structures.

This heritage stroll, to be led by travel and tourism student Saloni Sharma, will begin at the ticket counter of the fort, from where participants will proceed to the first palace in the complex, the Raja Mahal. A fine example of multi-storied architecture, the palace also houses miniature paintings.

On the way to the crown of the Orchha Fort, participants will stop over at the Sheesh Mahal for a panoramic view of Orchha city. The walk will then head towards Jehangir Mahal and Rai Parveen Mahal.

“As we reach the end of the walk at Rani Mahal, now called Raja Ram Mandir, we will come across the city’s culture, food and souvenir shops,” said Sharma, whose interests in art and culture include gastronomy tourism and wildlife. The free guided tour will be held on February 10, from 10 am to 12 noon.

The Orchha walk is part of IHWF 2019’s month-long, multi-city event that is divided into different zones, including the central, north, south, west and east. 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.

Within the central region, apart from Orchha, Sahapedia has organised heritage walks in Raipur and Gwalior, also for the first time.

On February 17, tourism expert Chandra Shekhar Barua will lead participants through the splendour and vibrancy of Gwalior and its ruins. The ancient capital of Gwalior is steeped in the glory of its past, ruled by many Rajput clans, who left their imprints in the form of palaces, temples, and monuments.

Legend has it that a chieftain called Suraj Senwas once stricken by a deadly disease. He was cured by a hermit saint, Gwalipa, and in gratitude named the city after the saint.. The free guided tour will begin at 7 am.

In Raipur, Dron Patel, one of Chhattisgarh Tourism’s certified heritage tour guides, conducted a walk on February 03, titled“Raipur Heritage Walk – Going Back to the Colonial Era”. The walk covered monuments such as St. Paul’s Church, Babar Bungalow and Freemason’s Lodge, apart from focusing on the history behind these colonial structures.

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