World Heritage Week, as declared by UNESCO, is celebrated around the world from 19th to 25th of November every year. In a way, we all celebrate our cultural heritage every day, simply by living our lives in a way that represents who we are and where we came from. But one day (18th of April: World Heritage Day) and one week (19th to 25Th November) is set aside each year to celebrate the history and heritage of the entire world.
These events encourage us to celebrate our cross-cultural connections and bring awareness about important monuments and sites from around the world. And as the study of History and Heritage is closely related, we can very rarely separate the two.
Being a history buff myself, all of my travel plans absolutely have to include at least one historical place! It may sound boring to most, but I love exploring history. It feels amazing to walk on the paths that were created centuries before, to feel the walls or the floor beneath and imagine how the place would have been all those years ago.
History is a beautiful subject but we hardly ever take it out of the textbooks! If you ask me history is such an engaging pursuit that if approached right, it can create a great amount of interest in people. The right vision can get the people to see the unseen and perceive the meaning of the hidden stories.
So often we walk past relics, failing to notice their architectural beauty or historic importance. What we need is someone who will give us the vision to see them! My professors helped me gain that sight and now I make a point to pass it on to others. Though not as knowledgeable as my professors, I try – in my small ways – to spread the experience of ‘living the history’.
Freelancing as a Heritage Walk Leader with Sahapedia (India Heritage Walks) has given me the opportunity to do just that. What I love about these walks is that they are absolutely free to the public at large! Engineers, Architects, CAs, Doctors and MBA professionals join me as I explore the rich heritage of our country. It is always satisfying to see their expressions of utter bewilderment when they discover interesting facts about a building or a region that they passed by on a daily basis!
And India is sprinkled with testimonials of the past. Especially Mumbai…It is a city of contrasts, an icon of change and modernism which hides in its many folds the secrets of a rich history. Starting from the Buddhist era relics and settlements to the colonial age traces under the Portuguese and the British, Mumbai has it all.
It is fun to unfold the story of the city along with the participants. I like the thought that I’m doing my bit for preserving the intangible oral traditions of our ancient India. It is always a pleasure to disclose to the people the beauty of our culture, and to espouse the importance of preserving our heritage.
Over the week I’ll be giving you a sneak-peek into interesting stories that Indian culture has to tell. Let’s tour the enchanting world of India’s tangible and intangible heritage. So, join me as I celebrate World Heritage Week.
Feature Image Courtesy: Ajay Pake
© 2018 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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