Late on Saturday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Ahmedabad as India’s first world heritage city.
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.
— Vijay Rupani (@vijayrupanibjp) July 8, 2017
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 8, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from the state, expressed his joy on Twitter today:
A matter of immense joy for India! https://t.co/qtCOxm8KgaAdvertisement
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 9, 2017
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”.
“Ahmedabad is where our Indian heritage speaks for itself.”
— Ruchira Kamboj (@RuchiraKamboj) July 8, 2017
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”.
— Harsh Sanghavi (@sanghaviharsh) July 9, 2017
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.
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 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:
Ahamdabad becomes India’s first World Heritage City , proud moment for us.
— RUPESH MATOLIYA (@rupeshmatoliya) July 9, 2017
— Hitesh Vasavada (@HiteshVasavada) July 9, 2017
Ahmedabad became first Indian city to be declared as World Heritage City by UNESCO! Proud Amdavadi!#AhmedabadWorldHeritageCity
— Nerit Sharma (@nikku_nerit) July 9, 2017
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.