The declaration of six-hundred-year-old Ahmedabad as a world heritage city by the UNESCO was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

After Ahmedabad became the first city in India to get the World Heritage City tag on Saturday night, the UNESCO tweeted, “Just inscribed as UNESCO world heritage site: Historic city of Ahmedabad #India”.

The Prime Minister, in a tweet today said, “A matter of immense joy for India!”.

Shah termed it as a “proud moment” for every Indian, while Rupani said he was “thrilled” to learn about Ahmedabad being recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage City.

The decision was taken at UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee Meeting at Krakow in Poland. The 600-year-old city has now joined the ranks of Paris, Vienna, Cairo, Brussels, Rome and Edinburgh and put India on the world heritage city map.

A proposal in this regard was sent to the UNESCO in 2010 at the behest of Modi, who was then Chief Minister of Gujarat.

“It is truly an honor to stand here with the delegation of India to witness the inscription of a city with over 600 years of unbroken history,” India’s ambassador and permanent representative Ruchira Kamboj said in her message to the chair.

“The journey began in 2010 when Prime Minister Modi proffered the dossier of Ahmedabad to UNESCO,” she said.

She posted her short speech on Twitter.

“For over 600 years, it has stood for peace as a landmark city where Mahatma Gandhi began India’s freedom struggle. It has stood for unity with its elegant carvings in its Hindu and Jain temples, as well as standing as one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu-Muslim art,” she said in her speech.

“It epitomizes the UN’s objective of sustainable development as it accelerates in its development…Chosen to be one of India’s first smart cities, while preserving its ancient heritage,” she said.

Ahmedabad was in competition with New Delhi and Mumbai for the title.

The walled city of Ahmedabad was founded by Ahmed Shah. It has 26 ASI-protected structures, hundreds of ‘pols’ that capture the essence of community living and numerous sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi who lived here from 1915 to 1930.

It is constituted out of residential settlements ‘Pol’ and has a specific scale of its community-based settlement grouping. Several of such settlements combined together forms a ‘Pur’ neighborhood.

The historic city has several ‘Pur’ neighborhoods forming the entire fortified historic city. These various ‘Pur’ have its own urban structure which is self-sufficient for the communities, where each ‘Pol’ once again is a self- sufficient unit.

In 1984, the first study for conserving heritage structures was carried out. A heritage cell was also set up by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

The milestone was Ahmedabad’s entry into UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage cities on March 31, 2011 and preparation of the Ahmedabad dossier.

“Thrilled to learn that Ahmedabad has been recognized as UNESCO World heritage city, first of its kind India,” Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani tweeted.

“Delighted to know that UNESCO has declared Ahmedabad as World Heritage City. A Proud moment for every Indian,” Shah said in a tweet.

Ahmedabad residents celebrated the new identity for their city in various ways.

(Feature image source: Reuters)