KOCHI: Kochiites will celebrate the city’s vibrant cosmopolitanism — acquired through centuries of trade and travel by its welcoming, enterprising communities — through a series of curated events this month as part of the ongoing India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF).Kochi is one among 20 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2018 to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns.
Of the two walks and a baithak (discussion) organised in the city as part of the festival, the first walk on February 10 is a look back at Tripunithura’s heyday as the seat of power of the Cochin royal family.
Balagopal, an entrepreneur whose father belongs to the royal family, will guide participants on a walk along some of the most important sites, including Statue Square, Clock Tower (Manimalika), Poornathrayeesa temple, Kalikotta Palace, Iron Bridge and the elephant stables.
‘Stories of the Throne - Exploring Tripunithura’, as the walk is called, will recall the royal family’s contributions to Kochi’s multiculturalism, public infrastructure, the national movement and conservation of traditional art forms.On February 17, artist Aditi Nayar will lead a walk around the Museum of Kerala History in Edappally, one of the city’s oldest museums housing an extraordinarily rich art collection, including the works of modern masters such as Jamini Roy, Ramkinkar Baij, M F Husain, Ram Kumar, K G Subramanyan and Bhupen Khakhar.
The walk is being held in partnership with the Madhavan Nayar Foundation in Kochi. The month-long, multi-city IHWF 2018 is organised jointly by Sahapedia, the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, and YES Culture, the cultural division of YES Global Institute, a think tank of YES Bank, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns.Besides the walks, the IHWF will organise a baithak on February 23 to discuss the history of Jews in Kochi.
Elias (Babu) Josephai, the current custodian of the Kadavumbagam Synagogue in Mather Bazaar and one of the last few Jews left in Kerala, will discuss the history and traditions of the Jewish community through his own personal narratives.Details about the walks and other programmes of IHWF 2018, map routes and registration information are available on www.indiaheritagewalkfestival.comVaibhav Chauhan, festival director (IHWF) and secretary, Sahapedia, says, “The India Heritage Walk Festival 2018 is a celebration of all that Sahapedia stands for. In an attempt to create authentic, credible and exhaustive content on our rich heritage and culture, we are developing a network of cultural practitioners across the country.
This festival is a part of this pan-India movement, making heritage spaces more popular, more accessible and more experiential. This is exactly why the festival tries to involve people from various walks of life with a range of thematic experiences covered through the walks, and caters to as many people as possible.”“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 instill immense national pride and further the agenda of heritage development,” says Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES Bank and chairman, YES Global Institute.
Preeti Sinha, glocal convener, YES Global Institute, says, “The understanding of heritage in 21st century India has expanded from the protection of historic buildings and monuments to focus on a more general understanding of the wider context and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural forms. Through active engagement with built, natural and living heritage through the design of walks, talks and digital media such as films and social forums, the festival will be a touchstone for conscious thinking towards formulating historically-sensitive policy and decision-making.”
IHWF 2018, covering 20 cities and towns around the country, features walks to historical monuments and shrines, well-known landscapes, places known for art and culture, cuisine and flourishing trade.
There is 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.