India Heritage Walk Festival 2018 to be held in 20 cities and towns in February

The Jami Mosque in Ahmedabad
The Jami Mosque in Ahmedabad
Celebration of India’s diverse heritage and making it accessible to varied audiences are the focal points of the month-long India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF) that will be held in February 2018 in 20 cities and towns across India.
Citizens will be encouraged to explore the tangible and intangible cultural legacies of their cities and towns, said a press release from the organisers, Sahapedia, an online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, and Yes Culture, the cultural division of Yes Global Institute, a practising think tank of Yes Bank.
The festival will feature walks to historical monuments and shrines, well-known landscapes, places known for art and culture, cuisine and, flourishing trade. There will be an online film festival of documentaries based on cultural themes and lecture series curated as 'baithaks' and Instameets as part of nearly 70 events scheduled throughout the month.
Besides the four metros, IHWF 2018 will cover cities including those well-established on the cultural map such as Jaipur, Udaipur and Agra, as well as the relatively less explored locations such as Srinagar in Jamu and Kashmir, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripunithura in Kerala. 
Curated thematically, walks will be led by subject experts through museums, historically significant monuments, markets, interesting natural landscapes and areas known for their rich cuisine. The themes range from built architectural heritage to intangibles such as textile, literature and food. Walks have been curated for the differently-abled in cities like Mumbai and Jaipur to make the festival inclusive and accessible to all user-groups.
"Our walk leaders are dedicated researchers and enthusiasts who have made special efforts to bring heritage to their audiences in interesting and novel ways," says Vaibhav Chauhan, Director, IHWF 2018.
The launch on February 3 will be marked by four walks - two in Delhi and one each in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.  The online Heritage Film Festival will showcase a gamut of films on the myriad social and cultural traditions of the subcontinent. The festival will run all through February, with curated screenings of documentaries on the YouTube channel of Sahapedia.
The films include those made by young, upcoming filmmakers and scholars, alongside accomplished classics by eminent filmmakers such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar. Together, these will provide a view of the spectrum of documentary practice in the country, as well as a creative and sophisticated view of the country's shared cultural heritage.
The first event in Ahmedabad on February 3, styled "Walking the Sacred Route @ World Heritage City of Ahmedabad", will be through a one-sq km area of the walled city which stands as a symbol of the peaceful co-existence of the shrines of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Jews and Jains.
The walk will explore the unique symbolism, art, architecture and associated history of some of these sacred places and their respective communities. It will be a peek into the basic ideologies and belief systems of these faiths, the release said.
Among the other themed walks are –‘Of Rich Textiles & Historic Lineages: A Textile Trail in Ahmedabad’, ‘Meandering through HauzKhas: From Tughluq to Tahiliani’, and ‘Sufi Safar Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti’ (both in Delhi), ‘Walking Amidst Nature in Hyderabad's Gachibowli’,‘Exploring Basavangudi: Old Bangalore's Sights and Sounds’, ‘Stories of the Throne: Exploring Tripunithura’, ‘Food and History through the Old City of Pune’, ‘Miniature and Fresco Paintings of Bikaner’, ‘Exploring the Mahakali Caves of Mumbai’, ‘The Talkies Walk: Tracing the Historical Single Screen Theatres in Mumbai’, ‘Oval Maidan Heritage Walk’, The Jains & the Mughals: A Symphony that Continue’ (Ahmedabad); and ‘A Food Walk in a Charming Market - Gandhi Bazaar’ (Bangalore).
Arunachal Pradesh is known for the fallen fighter planes located at Indira Gandhi Park and outside Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum in Itanagar. The participants in the walk, named ‘A Heritage Trail to the Fallen Warbirds of Itanagar’, will get a glimpse of aviation history while exploring two fallen fighter aircrafts manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and local folklore associated with the fallen warbirds.
"Heritage walks are ways to enter the past from the present. The best walks go beyond being purely physical or aesthetic experiences of encountering monuments or historic sites, they stoke our imagination and help us understand the lives and worldviews of those who came before us. My hope is that the India Heritage Walk Festival opens up these possibilities for those who take part in it," says Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Sahapedia.
Mr Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO of Yes Bank and Chairman, Yes Global Institute, says: “India is blessed with a rich heritage and cultural history, which is abundantly manifested in monuments and architectural sites across our country. Civil society participation in our Nation’s heritage, aided by activities such as heritage walks, is integral to the preservation and conservation of these sites. Such heritage tourism initiatives, with the whole hearted participation and involvement of local communities and citizens, has the potential to in still immense national pride and further the agenda of heritage development.”
Registrations for the events are open here.
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