Walk down the Banarasi food trail in the holy city of Varanasi, opt for the textile trail through the block printing neighborhoods of Jaipur, visit the Western Gate of Itafort in Itanagar or put on your shoes for a morning stroll through the garden city of Bengaluru. The month-long India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF) celebrates the act of walking while absorbing and learning.
The festival kick-starts on February 2 in Ahmedabad and focuses on the religious history and co-existence of multiple faiths in the city. Walks will also be held in cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Udaipur, Puducherry, and Pune. Led by Sahapedia in partnership with UNESCO, IHWF is in its second edition and packs the calendar with walks, discussions, workshops, and insta-meets, among 110 events planned across India.
The aim is to explore the diversity of culture of the country, such as food, heritage, nature, art, and architecture in over 35 cities. The festival is also supported by NMDC, state-run mineral producer and explorer and Odigos, an online platform that connects tourists to certified guides in India. The first edition received the PATA Gold Award in 2018, from the Macao Government Tourism Office.
In Delhi, among the numerous heritage trails, there is a new one that introduces one to Sanjhi, a stencil style papercutting art which has origins in Vrindavan. In Mumbai, stride through the bylanes of Bandra and for an experience of nostalgia. For the for visually impaired students, there are walks around Bhubaneswar’s Mukteswara Temple, a stone temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and believed to be a center of tantric initiation, and in Mumbai’s ancient Gilbert Hill. For underprivileged children, there is a walk through Kolkata’s Nehru Children’s Museum, which houses a huge collection of dolls from all over the world.