Second edition of World Living Heritage Festival comes to a close

Prembabu Sharma

Udaipur, World Living Heritage Festival 2014 (WLHF 2014) which concluded recently at The City Palace, Udaipur on March 16, 2014 brought together experts from all over the world that spoke, discussed and shared their views about the concept of ‘Living Heritage’. Some of the eminent speakers included Ms. Moe Chiba, Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi, Ms. Minja Yang, President & Professor at Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, KU/ Leuven (Belgium) and Dr. Ravina Aggarwal, Ford Foundation.

The conference thus intended to deliberate the question of living heritage from multiple angle –urban heritage space; people and their traditional practice; and how to orchestrate these heritage assets to contribute to the city’s overall development. The recommendations by the experts suggest that the promotion of living heritage is no other than envisioning a more human process of development that caters to people’s aspiration and well-being.

Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, the 76th custodian of the Mewar dynasty in Udaipur, who has been the driving force behind this festival, was lauded for his efforts in bringing together this event. Shriji was also called as the ‘Father of Living Heritage Movement’ in the country during the event. He said, “Living Heritage is an integral part of our lives. WLHF II began with the vision of converting the abstract into real practices in-tune with the present world realities. The second edition of the World Living Heritage Festival was hugely successful and even more participative, something that we take note of with great pride. This is but a small step towards conserving our living heritage and I’m optimistic that the Festival has provided all of us with the right platforms to move forth in our mission.” The House of Mewar prides itself on being the torchbearer of the Living Heritage movement in India and strongly believes and advocates the participation of the local community in gathering momentum for this cause. The City Palace, is a testimony to this belief, as both the tangible and intangible aspects of heritage are present here.

King Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur – lake place

The speakers at the WLHF 2014 concluded that living heritage is not an optional extra; it is a part of our persona. The value of cultural motifs, folk tunes and themes for message dissemination purposes is being progressively realized. The experts believed that what is needed is a massive campaign to explain to urbanites the need of living heritage for urban survival. They also echoed the fact that Udaipur has every chance to become a model city to this end, if its natural and cultural heritage assets are adequately taken account in the urban planning with the participation of local communities.

Udaypur Holi festival Malini Awasti

The event came to a colourful end with the traditional Holika Dahan celebrations in Udaipur, to mark the traditional Indian festival celebrating spring – Holi. The House of Mewar, acknowledged as the world’s oldest-serving dynasty, has faced challenges, which have tested the maintenance of the Custodianship form of governance and the Custodian’s commitment to carry on serving as The Diwan of Shree Eklingnath ji.

In 1947 with India’s Independence and again in 1971, with the abolition of Princely Privileges, the office of the Custodian necessitated reinventions. In 1984 the mantle of 76th Custodian devolved upon Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur. The original status of Custodian, as provided in the Constitution of India, ceased to exist. The challenge, therefore, for Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur was to bring the different identities of inheritance under one umbrella.

Eternal Mewar is conceptualized to provide the vision for the 21st century, it expresses, embodies and encompasses the core values, principles and the legacy of the House of Mewar. Eternal Mewar covers all the activities of the House of Mewar. Eternal Mewar has also emerged as a unique heritage brand exemplifying hospitality, cultural preservation, philanthropy, education, sports & spirituality for global audiences..