When UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova handed over the certificate declaring Ahmedabad as a ‘World Heritage City’ to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar last week this 606-year-old walled city of Gujarat became India’s first and Indian sub-continent’s third heritage city. Ahmedabad’s nomination was supported by close to 20 countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Portugal, Peru, Kazakhistan, Vietnam, Finland, Azerbaijan, Jmaica, Croatia,Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Korea, Croatia, Angolam, Cuba, and the host country of the Unesco session, Poland.
It may be recalled here that in June, members of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO had visited Ahmedabad and had informed the Central govt that it has deferred Ahmedabad’s world heritage city nomination as the WHC was not satisfied with the documentation related to the “outstanding universal values” for Ahmedabad’s walled city. However, all the documentation deficiencies were corrected immediately which paved the way for declaring the city as heritage city. Now the local authorities have an uphill task of perfectly maintaining the 2,600 odd heritage sites in the city.
Spread over 5.43 sq km, the walled city of Ahmedabad was preferred over Mumbai and Delhi because of city’s living heritage being the 600 odd ‘pols’ or neighbourhoods with clusters of centuries-old residences. Ahmedabad will now join the likes of Paris, Cairo and Edinburgh which also may help to promote tourism industry in the state.