Monday, August 10, 2015

Ahmedabad Heritage Walk

The idea of a "heritage walk" through the old section of a city started in Ahmedabad. The walk goes through the "pols" of the old walled city in the morning before traffic gets too congested.

The walk starts at the colorful Swami Narayan Mandir, where men and women are strictly segregated. Women in back, of course.
A "pol" is a gated self-contained community. Before independence, each community within Ahmedabad was responsible for their own security, so gates were locked at night.
Each pol had their own well. (Now there is a municipal water supply.)
Many pols also have their own cows, and feed is brought into town daily.
Urban bird feeders are not a modern item. The small tower in the center is a "chabutara", or bird feeder. These were placed in the city to compensate for the trees lost when forest became city.
This area was originally guesthouses for Jain visitors. Now these are apartments.
Although each pol was largely independent, there are escape routes connecting them. The passages are too narrow to accommodate horses, and right-angle turns make it impossible for anything larger than a human to pass.
A small goat and a man share a charpoy.
Lon says this building reminds him of an advent calendar!
Temples abound in the pols. Some are very small, modest sites. Others are large and elaborate. This is a Jain derasar (temple).
Kali Ramji ("Black Rama") seated in the lotus position.
Life seems to ignore the old Muslim tombs.
The walk ends at the Jama Masjid. The tour is only about 1.5 km, but there is so much to see that the it takes at least two hours.
There are over 300 pillars in the mosque.

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