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Heritage walk of Ahmedabad - A City Revisited

The Heritage Walk of Ahmedabadis conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation with NGO, CRUTA Foundation like most Indian cities, has a long history and strong architectural and urban character. The AMC has been, since 19th Nov1997- as a part of World Heritage Week - conducting this Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad as a part of its cherished project " Getting the City to the People ".

The Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad is a guided walk of two and a half hours. This daily affair by the AMC is extremely well designed in guidance and co-operation with CRUTA and Swaminarayan Trust, being operationalised by a group of young volunteers. There is also a half hour special slide show running through pages of the city's history unfolding back its birth from a 10th century AD ancient site known as Ashaval to the present walled city re-founded during the period of Ahmedshah and onwards.

The walk begins from the picturesque Swaminarayan Mandir in Kalupur and ends in the most glorious architectural legacies the Jumma Masjid, covering in between the numerous pols, havelis, ornamental facades, workplaces of artisans and number of magnificent Hindu and Jain temples. Our walk effectively anchored by our volunteer Rajesh Gajjar, proceeded from Kavi Dalpatram Chowk - which housed the great 19th century Gujarati poet - in Lambeshwar ni Pole, to the classic reminisces of the city's textile era - the Calico Dome to the century old Kala Ramji Mandir in the Haja Patel ni Pole with a unique idol of Lord Rama in dark colour and in a sitting posture.

A special feature of Ahmedabad is the plan of the old city, comprising numerous pols, self contained neighborhoods, sheltering large numbers of people, traversed by narrow streets, usually terminating in squares with community wells and chabutaras for feeding birds.

The walk moving through Doshiwada ni Pol, Zaveri Vad to Chaumukhji ni Pol saw ornate temples with their fascinating wooden carvings hidden under plain exteriors camouflaged beneath the aura of Mughal rule, and lanes punctuated with intriguing chabutras (bird feeders) to a three foot wide alley leading into the 110-year old Harkunvar Shethani ni Haveli.

Moving through the historical Fernandez Bridge brought us to Manek Chowk where amidst the deafening traffic and full of parked vehicles Rajesh told us the legend of Manek Baba after whom the chowk was named and the Manek Baba Mandir at the site where he shrank and entered a bottle to show his magical powers to Ahmed Shah, the founder of the City. "Heritage is the soul of the city" remarked Ms.Parker as we walked into the Rani no Hajiro through the Badshah no hajiro to finally culminate at the magnanimous Jama Masjid.

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