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UNESCO Declares Walled City Of Ahmedabad As India’s First World Heritage City

Published on 9 July, 2017 at 1:32 pm By

Late on Saturday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Ahmedabad as India’s first world heritage city.

 

A UNESCO poster declaring the old city of Ahmedabad as world heritage city. UNESCO


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Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced the development on Twitter. BJP president Amit Shah, too, expressed his delight at the prestigious status given to the city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from the state, expressed his joy on Twitter today:

Thanking the UNESCO, Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to the world body, said that the road to Ahmedabad becoming a world heritage city started in 2010.

She said that in 2010 Prime Minister Narendra Modi (then chief minister of Gujarat) had “proffered the dossier to the UNESCO”.

Kamboj said that Ahmedabad “has stood for unity with its elegant carvings in its Hindu and Jain temples as well as standing as one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art”.

The walled city of Ahmedabad (or old city) was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in February 1411 AD. But the area around the city was already inhabited for centuries before. Known as Karnavati, the area where Ahmedabad is came under the control of many dynasties from Chalukya to the end of British rule in India.

Located on the eastern bank of Sabarmati River, the walled city has approximately 182 pols (community houses) and is home to 26 Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected structures.

 

A ‘pol’ (pronounced pole) in Ahmedabad. Wikimedia Commons

Ahmedabad became even more famous for its association with Mahatma Gandhi who lived here from 1915 to 1930.

UNESCO praised the walled city for its heritage structures from the sultanate period, “notably 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”.

 

The gate of the Bhadra Fort in the old city area of Ahmedabad. Wikimedia Commons

“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. The city continued to flourish as the capital of the State of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present,” says UNESCO.

Of course, the people of Ahmedabad expressed their happiness:


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There are more than 50 cities in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Ahmedabad was in the race for the prestigious title along with Delhi and Mumbai.

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