Pav Bhaji (Amdavadi)

CONGRATS! AHMEDABAD BECOMES INDIA’S FIRST WORLD HERITAGE CITY

Congrats! Ahmedabad becomes India's first World Heritage City
We always knew we were world-best. And now, we have UNESCO’s stamp of approval, too. On Saturday, the World Heritage Committee bestowed the World Heritage City status on the 606-year-old city of Ahmedabad. It is the highest global recognition that a site of cultural significance can receive. It was declared the World Heritage City at the 41st session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meet in Krakow in Poland on Saturday. Ahmedabad is the first Indian city to be declared a world heritage property. “Thrilled to announce Ahmedabad has just been declared India’s first #WorldHeritage City by @UNESCO,” tweeted Ruchira Kamboj, ambassador of India to UNESCO, Paris late on Saturday.

The nomination was supported by close to 20 countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Portugal, Peru, Kazakhistan, Vietnam, Finland, Azerbaijan, Jamaica, Croatia, Poland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Korea, Croatia, Angola and Cuba. The countries unanimously supported Ahmedabad case citing a secular co-existence of Islamic, Hindu and Jain communities along with intricately carved wooden havelis dating back hundreds of years. The countries also recognized the city which was a cradle for India’s nonviolent freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi. As soon as the announcement was made, congratulations started pouring in.

“Thrilled to learn that Ahmedabad has been recognised as a UNESCO as world heritage city, first of its kind in India,” tweeted Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. “It is a proud moment not only for our State but also for the country as it is the first Heritage City. The city has several ancient buildings, heritage properties, memorials and sculptures. The state government will do whatever is needed to conserve the city,” said Deputy CM Nitin Patel. Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said, “AMC general body has passed a proposal to float a special purpose vehicle, Ahmedabad Heritage Management Society.

This will require support and help from experts for the management of nearly 2,600 heritage properties that fall under heritage status. This will also allow private property owners to conserve their own heritage.” Heritage conservation expert Debashish Nayak said, “It is now time to sit back, take a deep breath and there should be big party for people of Ahmedabad. Every Amdavadi has contributed to this in last two decades.” The expert however cautioned, “Ahmedabad has been given conditional acceptance and there is a list of things that needs to be done.

Ahmedabad’s status should also be a lesson for other cities. I believe, Varanasi is a truly heritage city and it should have got the status first. Hope other cities take inspiration from Ahmedabad.” Echoing similar sentiments, PK Ghosh, chairman of the Heritage Conservation Committee, said, “This is a happy moment but it comes with tremendous responsibility to maintain the heritage status. AMC will have to take care that no heritage properties get destroyed in the city. AMC will also have make sure that all due procedures have been taken care of for the upkeep of these properties as all the heritage are over 200 years old.”

As the news spread across the globe, textile connoisseur and revivalist Umang Hutheesing, who is currently in scenic London, reminisced about the time he had hosted the UNESCO team at his ancestral haveli in Jesingbhai Ni Wadi on Gheekanta Road back in 2011. He told Mirror, “For me, Ahmedabad is the hustle-bustle, the chaos that makes this city. The darwazas, mosques, temples, laaris, and the markets — all are beautiful. The density of its people, density of the architecture is Ahmedabad. With this acknowledgement, comes a responsibility to sustain the city.”

In Ahmedabad, the joy was palpable. “I feel proud to be the citizen of the country’s first heritage city. I called up my relatives living in the country and abroad to share the news. I plan to take my children to visit the heritage sites in the city,” says lawyer Darshan Shah, a 44-year-old resident of Ellisbridge. Even political parties were united in their happiness for the honour. “Delighted to know that @UNESCO has declared Ahmedabad as World Heritage City. Proud moment for every Indian,” expressed BJP chief Amit Shah. GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki said, “This the moment of happiness and pride for the State and the country. The State should now conserve heritage status.”

The long journey
Ahmedabad’s journey to bag the world heritage tag began in 1984. The Ford Foundation carried out the first study for conserving heritage structures. The AMC set up a heritage cell and Ahmedabad’s entry for UNESCO’s consideration was made on March 31, 2011. The walled city has 26 ASI-protected structures and hundreds of ‘pols’ that capture the essence of community living and numerous sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi, A team headed by retired CEPT professor, Rabindra Vasavada, took six years to compile the dossier for Walled City, which was reviewed by AMC’s Heritage Conservation Committee. Last September, a member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites Dr Adel Farhangi Shabestari from Tehran inspected the Walled City. However, the project suffered a setback last month when the WHC informed the Centre that it has deferred Ahmedabad’s nomination this year as it was not satisfied with the documentation. Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar then said that the AMC will collect documents and try to convince WHC to consider Ahmedabad’s case in Poland. And, the efforts finally paid off with city joining the likes of Paris, Cairo and Edinburgh as a heritage city. There are only two cities in the Indian subcontinent—Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka —that have heritage status.

Here is the famous Pav Bhaji (Amdavadi)
Serves 4
Ingredients:
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4 Potatoes boiled and cubed
  • 1 cup Cauliflower boiled
  • 1 cup Green Peas boiled
  • 1 capsicum
  • 2 onions
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • Tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp Chilly powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tbl spoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup Water
  • 4 Buns  (Bread/PAV)

Method:

  1. Chop boiled potato into small pieces.
  2. Chop tomato, onions and capsicum into small size.
  3. Heat the oil in kadhai, add chopped onions.
  4. When onion turns pinkish add ginger and garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes
  5. Add chopped potatoes and fry.
  6. Add chopped tomato and capsicum and fry them.
  7. Add tandoori masala (Everest is best, for flavor and awesome taste), chilly powder, turmeric, salt as per taste
  8. Add 1 cup water and make it dry or keep gravy as per your requirement.
  9. Garnish it with Coriander and use lime juice (optional). Take out in a serving dish.
  10. Cut the bread buns into half (horizontally).
  11. In a new pan, put butter in it and grill your Pavs/Breads light golden brown.
  12. Serve hot.

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