Ahmedabad becomes India’s first UNESCO heritage city

Krakow (Poland): The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently includes Ahmebadad, a 600-year-old city, in World Heritage List. Ahmedabad becomes the first city in India and third in Asia to be inscribed in the World Heritage List. During the 41st Session of World Heritage Committee, 21 new sites have been inscribed, 18 cultural and three natural. After the inscription, the total number of sites on the World Heritage list became 1073. India has overall 36 World Heritage inscription with 28 cultural, seven natural and one mixed. India stands second largest in the number after China in terms of the number of world heritage properties in Asia-Pacific.

The walled city of Ahmedabad, on the eastern bank of Sabarmati River, has a rich architectural heritage. 28 ASI Centrally Protected Monuments are there in the city. The urban structures of the historic city of Ahmedabad are distinctive due to their puras (neighbourhoods), pols (residential streets), and khadki (inner entrances to pols) largely made of timber. The historic architecture reflects symbols and myths connected with its inhabitants. The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions. It is a unique example of multi-religious and multicultural coexistence. The city has architectural beauty in terms of its brilliant wooden havelis, intricately designed Jain temples, and mosques.

Ahmedabad has drawn its name from the Sultan Ahmed Shah in early 1400s. UNESCO lauded the historic city’s sultanate architecture, especially “the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.” After the heritage city declaration, Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad started its work on the heritage walk popularly known as ‘Mandir to Masjid’ commencing from Swaminarayan temple to Jama Masjid.

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