The history and culture of a city are best experienced by walking through its streets that have hundreds of years of legacy. To do this meaningfully in a limited time and not lose out on the richness is a challenge. A planned and guided Heritage Walk through the paths of the city’s history makes this possible. A well-managed heritage walk with a growing number of visitors will sensitise the local communities towards the historical value of their settlements, inculcate a sense of pride and appreciation and enthuse them to preserve their own heritage.
Keeping the significance of heritage walk in mind, the Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad University organised a Management Training Program on Heritage Walk to offer training on the design, development and management of heritage walks. The 5-day programme was held from January 27-31, 2014 in the city of Ahmedabad.
The training program was a confluence of passionate practitioners who have actually been instrumental in conceptualising and designing various heritage walks. Experts, professionals, local bodies, academicians, entrepreneurs and others shared their experiences and case studies covering both the conceptual and operational dimensions of heritage walk. The pan-India presence of participants led to rich discussion, experience sharing and learning.
The programme offered sessions on the Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Punjab and Pune heritage walks shared by their very founders as well as discussed the design and management aspects of such a mechanism to promote a city’s heritage. Important aspects of the World Bank-funded heritage walk project in Ajmer and Pushkar were also presented in one of the sessions.
While the case studies helped the participants of the programme to understand the structural and technical elements of a heritage walk, aspects of designing such a walk was also covered through sessions on community participation, use of media in promoting heritage, branding and marketing of such walks as well as creating networks for mutual knowledge sharing and handholding.
The highlight of the programme was the simulated exercise on the actual design of a heritage walk in one of the heritage locations in Gujarat. The participants were exposed to the different heritage assets of the location through walks with local experts. Out of their first-hand experience, the participants in groups designed heritage walks for the location which was presented on the concluding day of the MDP.