When Ahmed Shah I laid the foundations of his capital way back on 26 February, 1411, little did he know his legacy would earn the status of a World Heritage City six hundred years on. Nineteen years old at the time, Ahmed Shah I was the third Sultan of the Gujarat Sultanate (1407 – 1573). In July 2017, his city Ahmedabad beat Delhi, Mumbai, and Varanasi in the bid to become India’s first, and as of now only, UNESCO designated city.
There was much hullaballoo following this announcement. Mainly because it raised Ahmedabad to the ranks of Cairo, Edinburgh, and Rome in the global arena. These were cities which UNESCO believes have cultural, historic or scientific significance and are important for humanity as a whole and, thus, warrant protection.
What did Ahmedabad have that the other three, more hyped about, Indian cities did not. It is a question many still ask. It is a question which gnawed at me too, triggering a stay plonk in the heart of the historical quarter last winter.
As I explored the city, the answers slowly revealed themselves. First shyly, hesitantly.
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