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What makes Ahmedabad world heritage city?

Heritage of a city is a cultural possession that is very special because of many reasons. It may be a building, it may be works done by people and it may even be history. It is the efforts put into the work and the story behind it that makes it special. Some heritage buildings may be truly artistic and some may be ordinary. But what makes the ordinary buildings special, is the sweat and story, reason and rationale that lead to its construction. The walled city, whose foundation was laid by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D. was declared as India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO in July 2017.

Yes, we are talking about Ahmedabad, also known as Amdavad. Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat. Right from the start, the people in this city did not let the British influence fade its true authentic self but rather let it blend beautifully with it. There are plenty of reasons that made Ahmedabad, India’s first city to be UNESCO’s World Heritage City. Some of them are below:

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque ni Jali

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque window carving, Image Credit – Daniel Mennerich , (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Reasons why Ahmedabad became India’s first city to be UNESCO’s World Heritage City

  • Amalgamation of traditional values with modernized industrial trade

    Ahmedabad has been a major center of trade and commerce ever since colonial times. It is called “Manchester of India” mainly because of the flourishing textile industry. During the Mughal reign, Ahmedabad became one of the crucial centers of trade because of the textile industry. And the textiles were exported to Europe as well. Arvind Mills is a very well known and reputed textile industry situated near the Sabarmati river, Ahmedabad.

  • Religious blends – Hindus and Muslims

    After the independence of the country in 1947, a violent communal riot broke out in the city between Hindus and Muslims. Although Hindus are the majority of the population in the city, you will find lots of Islamic influence in the buildings and culture that played a major part in shaping the heritage and history of the city. Moreover, there have been inspirational incidents of communal unity that will forever be remembered by all. [Check out the last “fascinating fact” in this article. ]

  • Influence of classical colonial European style buildings

    When you talk about the heritage of a city, you cannot miss the architectural gems of the city. Under the rule of Ahmed Shah, the builders have merged the Hindu artistry with the Persian architecture, giving rise to Indo-Saracenic style. Lots of mosques have been built in the same style. The traditional style intricate carvings on mansions, havelis (a mansion in India), temples have been a major part of the heritage in Ahmedabad.

  • Pols (pronounced as pole)

    When we talk about buildings in Ahmedabad, ignoring “pols” would be a sin. A pol is a very unique housing style most commonly found in Ahmedabad. Pols were originally created as a protection from communal riots. The word pol itself is derived from the Sanskrit word “pratoli” meaning an entrance to an enclosed area. Pols vary in size from five to sixty houses, and some even more. These pols are usually distinguished by the people living in them. Most of them consist of people of the same community or caste.

  • Kochrab ashram and Satyagraha ashram/Sabarmati ashram established by Mahatma Gandhi

    Sabarmati ashram has been home to Mahatma Gandhi, who lived there with his wife Kasturba Gandhi for 12 years. The ashram is also the base of the Dandi march, one of the major acts in the history of India. Kochrab ashram was gifted to Mahatma Gandhi by his friend Barrister Jivanlal Desai. Kochrab ashram was a significant center for people with Gandhian ideas to practice their values of Swadeshi, Satyagraha, promoting health and education, etc.

  • A large number of museums

    A city with all the history and heritage requires a proper measure to guard it. Hence, there are plenty of museums in Ahmedabad that preserves the heritage of the city. Major museums in Ahmedabad:

    1. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Shahibaug

      This museum and exhibition center is dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The museum is located at Moti Shahi Mahal in Shahibaug. The architecture of Moti Shahi Mahal is inspired by the Mughal architecture.

    2. Patang Kite Museum in Paldi

      Designed by the famous architect Le Corbusier in 1954, Patang Kite Museum is a major tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. The idea of the museum occurred when Bhanu Shah, also known as Ahmedabad’s Kite Man, donated his kite collection to Ahmedabad municipal corporation. Ahmedabad also hosts the International Kite Festival every year in January.

    3. Calico Museum of Textiles in Shahibaug

      Managed by the Sarabhai Foundation, Calico Museum of Textiles has a significant collection of Indian textiles. The museum displays the evolution of textiles in the Indian textile industry over the years.

    4. Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum in Navrangpura

      Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum is a museum of Indian sculptures, paintings, beadwork, bronzes, miniature paintings, etc.

    5. Sanskar Kendra in Paldi

      Sanskar Kendra is also designed by Le Corbusier. This museum, called Museum of Knowledge during the time of designing, has a collection of art, photography, history of the city, etc. And fascinatingly, the Kite Museum is also a part of this museum.

    6. Vikram Sarabhai Space Exhibition

      This museum is a cool place for space exploration lovers. It exhibits a 3D movie, space models and also has a gift shop. It is located in Jodhpur Tekra, Ahmedabad.

    And there are many more museums in Ahmedabad.

It is our sacred duty to maintain the heritage of our city and country. After all, heritage is what reflects our culture and society. It is a reflection to our past and visual display of our evolution and its existence.


Komal Rangoonwala

Komal Rangoonwala is a Computer Engineer and a Content Writer who loves to explore and create stuff.

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