vadnagar conference: Spotlight on PM’s hometown: Culture ministry, Gujarat govt to host “Vadnagar international conference” next week

In an effort to showcase the historical importance of Vadnagar – where PM Narendra Modi spent his childhood — as one of “earliest fortified towns” with continuous human settlements in ancient India, and discuss key strategies for its development as a key international heritage destination, the government of Gujarat and culture ministry have planned an elaborate two-day conference in Gandhinagar with international participants, starting on May 18.

The conference would “serve as a platform to share and exchange new ideas, strategies and perspectives for developing Vadnagar as a landmark heritage destination,” an official said. The CM of Gujarat Bhupendra Patel, MoS Culture Meenakshi Lekhi and UNESCO experts on museums and arts are expected to participate in the event. This comes even as the Center has intensified its celebration of India’s 75 years of independence. Gujarat is also in focus with a rise in political activity and visits by central party leaders with polls slated in the next few months.

Last year, PM Modi himself inaugurated a revamped railway station at Vadnagar. The budget this year has allocated Rs 100 crore for this year for a museum at Vadnagar under the Development of Museum Scheme. This archaeological museum will display materials like coins dating back to the 3rd century BC, seal impressions from the 4th to 8th century AD, besides terracotta forms, iron nails, copper implements, images and beads.

A person in know of the matter said both Gujarat government and culture ministry have prepared a holistic proposal to promote the historical, mythological and archaeological significance of Vadnagar that is located in Mehsana district, about 72 km away from the state capital Gandhinagar.

“We have gone through extensive data on Vadnagar. Various historical references attributed Vadnagar as Anartapura, Anandapur, Chamatkarpur, Skandpur, Nagaraka among other names, with an earliest mention in 2nd century CE inscription of Mahakshtrapa Rudradaman, after which the epic tale Mahabharata. For centuries, it remained an important cultural and trading center connected to Malwa, Saurashtra, Rajputana and Deccan. It was a major trade point, land port of Gujarat and an important Buddhist learning center of western India,” he said.

The government’s research on Vadnagar said Chinese traveler Xuanzang visited Vadnagar around 641 CE and there are records that there were more than 1,000 monks of the Sammitiya School at Vadnagar. “Records suggest that Vadnagar was one of the important centers of Buddhist learning of western India during that period, and that one out of 11 Buddhist monasteries in the region was situated in Vadnagar which was later confirmed through excavations in the year 2016. At one point , Vadnagar was also chronicled as ‘Kashi of Gujarat, and even now houses hundreds of temples that are ancient,” he added.

Officials said the conference will have an artefacts exhibition in collaboration with the ASI, delegates will also get a tour of the archaeological sites in the town, and a “Vadnagar Charter on Heritage Tourism, a standard setting framework for the identification of the significance of various tangible heritage based on collections, architecture, aesthetics, accessibility and other factors” will also be discussed. “Collaboration with academic institutes such as IIT Bombay, Banaras Hindu University and Sagar University for historical research, condition assessment, study of archaeological findings at Vadnagar and other state protected monuments are also being worked on,” an official said.

An official said to promote the “uninterrupted archaeological history of its origin, growth, and prosperity” of Vadnagar, various tourist places of Vadnagar such as Sharmishtha Lake, Tana-Riri Park, Sheth Chakulal Bhogilal Interpretation Center, Ambaji Kotha Lake, Vadnagar Railway Station , Gate and Fort Wall, Lateri Stepwell are being developed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button