Ahmadabad: India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City
By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
Ahmadabad city was founded on 26 February 1411 and announced as the capital on 4 March 1411 by Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat Sultanate as a new capital. UNESCO has declared Ahmadabad (Gujarat) as World Heritage City.Really one feels proud of being Amdavadi.
There are many who are not aware about the various heritage places in Ahmadabad. The names of various places and monuments are found only in tourism maps and Websites. Ahmadabad rose in stature and soon began to be called the “Garden city of Hindustan”.
It flourished during the steady reign of the Sultans. The merchant class grew in affluence, and peace and stability began to attract a great number of people from surrounding areas. It is now the largest city in Gujarat and the seventh largest city in India.
One would be surprised to know that Manek Chowk, named after Maneknath became the marketing complex of the new city. Kalupur, named after Begda’s minister Abba Haji Kalu, consists of a mixed population of Jains and Muslims.
Usmanpura was a prosperous suburb during the Badshah period, specializing in the trade of ghee and local medicines. The era of the Sultans in Gujarat has often been called the “Golden age of Ahmadabad”. Architecture has found its glory in Ahmadabad. Today, the masjid of Siddi Sayed and the design of “Jalis” have become the main advertising logos of the city.
Our heritage is all that has been passed to us by previous generations. Cultural heritage is a legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society – man-made heritage. It is disheartening to note that some people, forgetting that they are doing an irreparable damage to invaluable archaeological masterpieces by inscribe their initials, names, love messages on these national treasures.
We must learn to value our inheritance for reasons beyond their mere utility and their functional use. This is because each heritage is unique and exceptional; it is the responsibility of the current generation to preserve it. The conservation and protection of these monuments cannot be neglected any further.
It clearly shows that cities like Ahmadabad have emerged as the prime engines of the Indian economic growth and generators of national wealth. Ahmadabad is the best of India’s mega-cities the commercial capital of Gujarat, Ahmadabad has progressed steadily over the years.
The reasons for this could be attributed to uninterrupted and stable power supply, No water shortage, wide and maintained roads, friendly and traditional, yet progressive people, good educational and health facilities etc. The most important is the city is a heritage city with people still living in heritage buildings in the old city that has become hosts for some of the most modern management schools.
People of Ahmadabad are known for their cooperative attitude, entrepreneurship and aspiration for values. Graced by rich heritage and culture Ahmadabad offers values to the tradition and diversity. One would have observed that the Amdavadis are very fun loving and has a lot of respect for the traditions and customs of their community. It would be no exaggeration to say that in the whole world there exists no town so grand and beautiful like Ahmadabad.
Ahmadabad after more than 600 years now make its presence on the international map. It is now regarded as a national pilgrimage, a symbol of non-violence and peace. People of Ahmadabad are known for their cooperative attitude, entrepreneurship and aspiration for values. They have a great vision to take the city to dizzy heights with their business acumen and gentle mannerisms.
One thing is certain that if the world today recognises Mahatma Gandhi as the apostle of peace, Ahmadabad had a major role in the making of the Mahatma. In the last 600 years, Ahmadabad has seen unpredictable changes and has developed into a mega-city which is at heart of Gujarat state’s development. It is nice to see that though the city has changed over the years it has sealed its historical and cultural heritage.
(The author hails from Jodhpur Tekra, Ahmadabad)