Text: V. Sandhya Parimala
In spirit of the World Heritage day celebrations, Vizag was lined up with a series of heritage events over the week celebrating its rich and vast heritage.
A Colonial Heritage Walk was organized and led by the ‘heritage ambassador couple’ Sohan Hatangadi and Jayshree Hatangadi in the morning session on the 15th April 2018 that started at 6am at Town Hall covering the colonial heritage sites in the Old town area. The walk was exclusively conducted for school children of St. John’s Parish School, Visakhapatnam.
In the evening session, at 4pm a heritage site visit tour ‘Discover Bavikonda’ was organized with 55 people who volunteered to discover the importance of the ages old heritage Buddhist site. Jayshree Hatangadi spoke eloquently about the Visakhapatnam heritage and revealed historical facts about all the heritage places in both the sessions.
Bavikonda is one of the prominent Buddhist heritage sites, located on the north west of Timmapuram, just 9 miles and 130meters above mean sea level in the ‘City of Destiny’ Vishakapatnam. It is amongst the most famous and oldest Buddhist sites in India. The remains of this place stand as a testimony to the great Buddhist Empire that once subsisted in the southern part of India.
On the 17th of April 2018, a grand ‘Heritage Photo Exhibition’ was organized in evening session of 6pm at Visakha Museum inaugurated by the Chief Guest, M.Hari Narayanan. GVMC Commissioner, Visakhapatnam. The event was organized and supported by Visakha Camera Club with talks on ‘Vizag’s Undersea Heritage Discovered’ by marine scuba diver, Balaram Naidu and ‘Heritage Framed’ by ace photographer, B. K. Agarwal.
As many as 84 photographs of Vizag’s beauty captured by various photographers categorized as Eastern Ghats, Marine, Buddhist heritage, Colonial heritage, and traditional have been exhibited at the two-day exhibition. Addressing the press, the GVMC commissioner said, ‘The heritage photographic exhibit is a good initiative to showcase the heritage of Vizag’.
On the 18th April 2018, which is the World Heritage Day, an exquisite ‘Vizag heritage quiz’ was organized for all the event visitors. Children from Bethany and Olivet schools, Visakhapatnam participated enthusiastically in the photograph quiz.
On the occasion, Sohan Hatangadi appeals about the necessity to celebrate such days of importance “We, the citizens of Vizag have a special responsibility. We must spare time from our busy lives to participate in such an important day about heritage. It will help us to understand what the stakes are and the dangers of losing our past, brick by brick, stone by stone, tree by tree, and memory by memory.
He also suggests on what can we do on World Heritage Day? The list starts off with visiting our city monuments, email your local papers and magazines, make a statement for television, ask your radio DJ to talk about heritage on FM radio, hang a personal banner outside your home saying “I care for Visakhapatnam’s heritage”, invite experts to talk to the local community, organize small exhibitions displaying photos and paintings or inaugurate a recently restored monument and visit your local museum”
The aim of these celebrations is not just to create heritage awareness but also to attempt to raise voices towards conservation and preservation of heritage.