Celebrating our city’s birthday and applaud its heritage during National Heritage Week with a series of exciting activities, informative exhibitions, heritage tours and walks, bazaars, illustrated talks, and so on is the main motto of Vadodara People’s Heritage Festival. Hence from year 2015, VPHF celebrates city’s birthday & enjoys National Heritage Week from November 18-26.

This year, Vadodara is celebrating its 507th Birthday!

Remember, this is a People’s Heritage Festival, and if you think you have an interesting nugget regarding the heritage of Vadodara to share with the rest of us, just get on board! This Heritage Week is completely self-sponsored and self-financed. We are all in it together to celebrate our city and its heritage which is our pride.

Today, Vadodara (renamed thus in the 1970s) is a cosmopolitan, tier-two city, also selected to be a ‘Smart City’ from a bunch of fast-growing cities by the Indian Government. Over the last so many centuries, the city has seen many ups and downs, but unlike any other city anywhere in the world, it has a strange ability to hold on to its residents and continuously gather those wandering away again and again into its fold! Once a Barodian, always a Barodian!
The people of Vadodara will celebrate the 3rd National Heritage Week from November 18 to 26, this year and every year henceforth.

Below is the list of events happening in the week !

• Exhibitions

1. The World of Vishwamitri: This is an exciting and informative exhibition of photographs that documents the seasonal Vishwamitri river that has its source in the Pavagadh hill and snakes its way through the heart of Vadodara city before it meets the Dhadhar river and flows into the Gulf of Khambhat. In the 25 kms that the river flows through Vadodara, it is populated by more than 400 muggers (river crocodiles) – there is even an old crocodile sculpture on the banks under the bridge near the Kala Ghoda – that acknowledges the river as the home of these muggers since many, many years. Even though the Vishwamitri is little more than a gutter for most of the year, heavy monsoons can turn it into a ravaging force, smashing into the otherwise dry nallahs and canals, formed and protected in earlier years, to catch and channelise the overflow. But, once upon a time, it must have been a lovely, perhaps even holy, clear ribbon of water which was spanned by several bridges (the bridge near Kala Ghoda was built by Ahmed Shah who established Ahmedabad), on whose banks several temples were built, as were the Chattris of the dead Gaekwad rulers, crowned by the many varieties of slender palms … Artist, conservator and Gaekwadi historian Chandrashekhar Patil has put together this exhibition that documents the invaluable heritage that still stands along the banks of our only river and explains eloquently why all of us should pledge to save this natural and built heritage.

Venue: Splatter Studio, Productivity Road, opp. Navjivan Hospital

Dates: Saturday, November 18, inauguration at 11.30 am. Open every day till Friday, November 24

Time: 4 to 7.30 pm.

2. Pothina Paan: An Exhibition of Manuscripts from the Oriental Institute. This is an Exhibition of hand-written manuscripts in Pali, Sanskrit, Devnagri, Tibetan, Buddhist, Jain, South Indian languages, written on various materials such as tamrapatra, palm leaf, bhojpatra, handmade paper, wood, textile, bamboo. Several kinds of inks and writing instruments will also be on show as will be the Tamra patra that establish the name Vadapadraka (present day Kothi area) as an early name of Vadodara.

Venue: Oriental Institute, The M S University of Baroda, Opp. Palace Gate, Palace Road.

Dates: November 20-24.

Time: 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm.

3. Exhibition on well-known Baroda Wrestler, Shri Vasantrao Kaptan: This is a small but exciting exhibition of photographs and other objects related to the legendary sportsman, Vasantrao Kaptan, who lived and worked in Baroda. The exhibition itself is housed in a heritage ‘house on wheels’ which goes back to the 1900’s ‘travelling police Chowkis’ pulled by bullocks introduced by Sayajirao!

Venue: Gujarat Krida Mandal, Polo Ground, Baroda.

Dates: November 20-22.

4. All About Teeth, Dr. Chandarana Dental Museum: Perhaps one of its kind in the entire world, dentist Dr. Chandarana’s Dental Museum in Baroda opened two years back to much applause and interest.

Venue: 22, Haribhakti Extension, Off Old Padra Road, Race Course, Vadodara (entry from lane opp. Malhar Point).

Dates: November 18-25. Sunday closed.

Timings: 9:00 to 11:00 am & 4: 00 to 6:00 pm.

5. A Passion for the Past: An exhibition of amazing objects and antiques that is the personal collection of gallerist Hitesh Rana, to be shared with the public for the first time.

Venue: Sarjan Art Gallery, Hobby Centre, behind Alkapuri Petrol Pump, Vishwas Colony, R C Dutt Road.

Dates: November 18-26, Sunday closed.

Time: 12 noon to 7 pm, every day

6. The Parsi Chronicles: Udvada and Navsari: An exhibition of evocative photographs of the Parsi community, the videshi Gujaratis, by amateur photographer Homiyar Tavadia. Navsari was a part of the larger Baroda Gaekwad kingdom and there was a strong connection between the Parsis and the Gaekwads. Dadabhai Naoroji started his public life in Baroda as the Dewan to Maharaja Sayajirao in 1874.

Venue: Nazar Art Gallery, opp. the Parsi Agiari, Sayaji Gunj.

Timings: Nov 21 & 22 from 4pm to 8pm

7. A Tale of Two Cities – Baroda and Champaner, former capitals of strong kingdoms, dotted with architectural marvels, and replete with fantastical stories. Exhibition of photographs and jewellery and textiles inspired by the stone carvings on Champaner monuments. Also available on sale the portfolio, “The Magnificent Indo-Saracenic Architecture of Baroda”.

Venue: Rahul Gajjar’s studio, 203, Mangaldhara, behind Ivory Terrace, above San’s Sizzlers Restaurant, Sampatrao Colony, Alkapuri.

Dates: November 18-26, 4 to 8 pm.

8. Calligraphy and its Tools: Ink pots, Quills, Nib Pens – all instruments popular before the age of the ball point pen! This Exhibition will have a display of Calligraphy Tools, supported by live demonstration by Manish Soni.

Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

9. Baroda State Medals and Envelopes Exhibition: This will be a rare exhibition of old Baroda State Medals and Envelopes, collected diligently by Vinod Shah.

Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

10. The Gem of Baroda: Fine Arts Faculty alumnus Jhunnurain Pathan’s fabulous personal collection of rare and colourful gemstones and minerals will be on show for the first time during this Festival.

Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

11. Coins of Indian Princely States (Gujarat) : Harshad Kadia’s collection of coins from across the numerous Indian Princely States documents the history of coin design, minting processes and the different metals used.
Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

12. Dinosaurs of Gujarat: Environmentalist and author Neelkamal Shah will share the photographs of the ten dinosaurs believed to have roamed Gujarat. But most importantly, there will also be images of the Rajasaurus Narmadensis, also popularly known as Narmadasaurus, whose skeletal remains have been found in India, and confirmed by National Geographic palaeontologist Paul Sereno who identified this new species, named Rajasaurus Narmadensis. The exhibition will also display images and information about site locations, fossil excavation, and so on.

Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

13. Baroda City Plants: What were the plants that were native to Baroda since centuries? And what are the new ones which have made Baroda their home? Parthi Shah and her group have put together an interesting exhibition on this theme.

Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24,10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

14. Baroda Short Film Festival: There are many persons who have made short films on certain places, events, activities, that have captured the spirit of Baroda. Chirayu Pandit, Tushar Vyas, Chandrashekhar Patil are some of them. There may be many more. We offer you a platform to share your film (no matter how short it is) during this Festival. Please contact Chandrashekhar Patil if you would like your film to be included.

Venue: Chameli Baug, Wing A, Alumni House, besides University Guest House, Opp. Kamati Baug Water Tank, University Road.

Dates: November 20-24, 5 to 6:00 pm.

15. Contemporary Art and Traditional Craft: A very good collection of artworks – paintings, prints, sculptures – in a variety of media, traditional crafts in terracotta and clay, and masks made by artisans will be on display.

Venue: Reliance Art Center, Near Gokul Guest House, Sector 1, RIL Township (PT), Gorwa-Refinery Road.

Dates: November 24-26, 2 to 6 pm.

16. Rangoli Exhibition: The ‘fine’ art of using coloured powders to make patterns/paintings/designs on the floor, (as well as on water and on oil as veteran rangoli artists from Baroda have demonstrated), is brought alive by artists of the Ekdant Rangoli Kalakar Group in a large exhibition displaying different kinds of Rangoli.

Venue: Community Science Centre, Aarti Society, near Atmajyoti Ashram, Subhanpura.

Dates: 20-24 November, 11 am to 5 pm
This Group will also demonstrate the decorative and auspicious tradition of Rangoli in Indian heritage at the Splatter Studio and at the Office of alumni affairs, Chameli Baug venues of other exhibitions during the Heritage Week.

17. Baroda City Birds and Animal : What were the Birds and Animals that were native to Baroda since centuries? And what are the new ones which have made Baroda their home? Parthi Shah and her group have put together an interesting exhibition on this theme.

Venue: Venue: Community Science Centre, Aarti Society, near Atmajyoti Ashram, Subhanpura.

Dates: 20-24 November, 11 am to 5 pm. Entry free.

• Home Museums

1. A Collection of Water Pots of all materials, shapes and sizes: Totally new display!

At the home of Smt. and Shri Atulbhai Shah, Pen Point (first floor), Kothi Char Rasta.

Dates: November 18-25. Time: 11 am to 7.30 pm.

2. A Collection of Paintings on Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra: At the home of Smt. and Shri Atulbhai Shah, Pen Point (first floor), Kothi Char Rasta.

Dates: November 18-25. Time: 11 am to 7.30 pm.

3. A Collection of Moti Toran, traditional Lamps, Paan Peti, and Vintage Books

At the home of Shri Manubhai Nirmal, at 1, Devashya Flats, ground floor, 25-A, Shrinagar Society, Opp.SBI Bank, BPC Road, near Gai (Cow) Circle, Akota.

Dates: November 18-25, 4 to 7.30 pm.

4. A Collection of Spoons

At the home of Umesh A. Suratkar at Sona Building , Opp. Badamdi Baug, Shankar Tekari, Dandiya Bazar.

Dates: November 18-25, 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

5. A Collection of Children’s Wheeled Toys (1-12 years)

At the Factory of Shri Trushar Rana at 7, Haribhakti Estate, Near Yamuna Mill, Beside HP Petrol Pump, Dabhoi Road.

Dates: November 18-25, 9:30 to 5:30 pm.

6. A Collection of Inkpots: Various material and unique Inkpots collection

At the home of Roshani Kiran Shah, B/h.Jain Upashraya, Kothipole, Raopura, Baroda-1.

Dates: November 18-25, 11:00 to 8:00 pm.

• Heritage and Nature Walks

1. Sayaji Baug and its Trees: Join botanist Dr. Jitendra Gavli, on an information-filled Walk through the city’s most-loved Sayaji Baug, and understand what the trees planted there stand for, where they come from, and how they fruit and flower.

The Walk will be held on Saturday, November 18, beginning at 7 am sharp from the Band Stand.

2. The University Walk: The M S University campus is home to some of the most beautiful heritage buildings in Baroda. Take this Walk with Chandrasekhar Patil and know more about this wonderful, green campus at the heart of Baroda city.

On Sunday, November 19. Begins from the D N Hall, Pratapgunj. 07 to 9.30 am.
Rs. 150.00 per person. Limited to 30 persons. Book with Sandhya on sandhyagajjar@gmail.com

3. The Kalabhavan Walk: The M S University campus’ city wing has a long and interesting history. Know all about it from Chandrashekhar Patil as he takes you not just around the campus but Dandia Bazaar as well.

On Monday, November 20. Begins at Kirti Stambh. 07 to 9.30 am. Limited to 30 persons. Book with Sandhya on sandhyagajjar@gmail.com

4. The Kirti Mandir Walk: A Walk touching some of the little-known heritage buildings, temples, bridges, chattris, ghats and so on. Explore them with Chandrasekhar Patil on Thursday, November 23.

Walk begins from the Dutta Mandir in the Kirti Mandir complex. Parking at Kirti Mandir. 07 to 9.30 am.
Rs. 150.00 per person. Limited to 30 persons. Book with Sandhya on sandhyagajjar@gmail.com

5. Heritage Munch: Two gastronomic Walks, tracking timeless treasure of tasty treats led by Food Critic, Adil Marawala to explore the traditional and popular street and off-the-street foods offered in Vadodara for years.

23 Nov: The first one is Fatehgunj Fiesta: Sample spicy samosas, Goan bakery tour, munch into memorable hot-dogs, savour Tawa-seekh delights, and top it off with Batli lemon soda!

24 Nov: The second is Mangalbazaar MagicMaze: Discover all-time favourite snacks in the busy shopping lanes and bylanes of Mangal Bazaar and Leheripura.

Both Walks will begin at 6.45 pm every evening and end around 8.30 pm. Registration is compulsory on a first-come-first-served basis and group size is limited to 12, maximum to 15. Register with name, contact phone number and Walk interested in with date at adil.marawala@gmail.com. The Walk involves food tasting at 4 to 7 places per Walk so each Walker will contribute Rs. 250 per person at the beginning of the Walk on a sharing basis. Adil will share details regarding meeting point, etc.

6. Nature + Heritage Walk: Wadhwana-Dabhoi-Bilapur: We begin this Walk with a drive to Wadhwana to spot the winter migratory birds here with ace ‘birder’ Avi Sabawala. Then drive to Dabhoi for some breakfast and lots of heritage building watching at the Dabhoi Fort and Hira Baghol Darwaza and other gates of this ancient town with Chandrashekhar Patil as the guide. Then a drive to nearby Bilapur for some more heritage watching. Registration is MUST for this Drive-Walk. Rs. 500 per Walk inclusive of breakfast and lunch. If there are 40 persons we will hire a bus for more convenience and saving of time. If not, then car-pooling is the only solution. On Sunday, November 26, 6.30 am sharp, start from Vadodara from Amitnagar Circle, return by 3.00 pm.

Register on email at sandhyagajjar@gmail.com

7. Ashta Ganesha Temple Tour: There are 8 ancient Ganesha temples in the city but they are at quite a distance from each other. However we have a heritage volunteer and guide, Shri Jamdar, who drives his own auto rickshaw, and will lead the tour, explaining the sites as well as he can. His rickshaw will seat 3 persons comfortably and with an average of 10-15 minute halt at each temple, this tour will take about 2 hours. Please register with Shri Jamdar on 9898395989 and finalise the charges per person as well as pick up and drop off points.

8. Navnath Temple Tour: There are 9 ancient Shiva temples in the city. Heritage volunteer and guide, Shri Jamdar, who drives his own autorickshaw, will lead the tour, explaining the importance of each temple. His rickshaw will seat 3 persons comfortably and with an average of 10-15 minute halt at each temple, this tour will take about 2 hours. Please register with Shri Jamdar on 9898395989 and finalise the charges per person as well as pick up and drop off points.

9. Baroda Heritage Buildings Tour: There are numerous historical buildings in the city that belong to different eras, reflecting the fashion introduced by different rulers. Heritage volunteer and guide, Shri Jamdar, who drives his own auto rickshaw, will lead the tour, covering 15 buildings and explaining the importance of each building. His rickshaw will seat 3 persons comfortably and with an average of 7-10 minute halt at each site, this tour will take about 2 hours. Please register with Shri Jamdar on 9898395989 and finalise the charges per person as well as pick up and drop off points.

10. Jhuk Jhuk Gadi Walk: The Railway Staff College in Baroda is the premier management training institution of the Indian Railways. Housed in the magnificent Pratap Vilas Palace, it is one of the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture of India. The College includes a fine Railway Museum with a vast hall in which is laid out toy-sized working railway network – absolutely a must-see for every train aficionado! The walk will be led by Chandrashekhar Patil and Prof. Kamlesh Gosain from the College.
On Saturday, November 25. Begins from the main entrance of the Railway Staff College, opp. Lal Baug, under the flyover. 7.30 to 9.30 am. Limited to 50 persons. Book with Samir Gaikwad on samras6869@gmail.com .

11. Cycling Tour of Killa-e-Daulatabad: Led by cycling enthusiast Nikita Lalwani, this tour on cycles charts the entire Walled City area in the four Darwazas. Participants have to ride their own cycles. On Saturday and Sunday, November 25-26. Starting point is Mandvi pavilion. Begins at 6.30 am. Only 30 persons per tour. Register with Nikita on 9727039614, 92655576179.

• Talks & Lectures

1. “World Heritage City Inscription: The Ahmedabad Experience” by Rabindra Vasavada, Head, Ahmedabad UNESCO World Heritage City Dossier, at 6 pm on Saturday, November 18 at the Auditorium, Baroda Medical College, SSG Hospital. Organised by The Indian Institute of Architects, Baroda Chapter, and supported by INTACH, and the Dept of Architecture, M S University.

2. Viraasat Lecture Series: Dr. Gauri Parimoo Krishnan will speak on “Heritage, Diversity and Identity: The Making of Singapore’s Indian Heritage Centre; and Dr. Tsewang Namgail will speak on “Preserving the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Ladakh and the Home Stay Program” at 5 pm onwards, Hotel Grand Mercure Surya Palace, Sayaji Gunj, on Saturday, November 25.

3. Illustrated Talk on Painter Rao Bahadur N V Dhurandhar painter and Sculptor Rao Bahadur G K Mhatre, the two pillars of the Bombay Art School with special reference to Baroda State, by art historian Sandeep Dahisarkar from Mumbai. At the Fine Arts Faculty Auditorium at 11 am on Monday, November 20.

• Miscellaneous Add-ons

1. Vadodara Souvenir Shop, near Band Stand Gate, Kamati Baug, opp. MRID College. T-shirts, Coffee Mugs, Wooden Plates and Boxes, Cans, Caps, etc. Open from 7.30 am to 12 noon and 5 to 8 pm in the evening. Amita Sarkar, details from 9825512819.

2. Heritage Trust: Coffee Table Books on Baroda and Champaner. “Once Upon a Time … there was Baroda” written by Rani Dharkar and with photographs by Rahul Gajjar, Rs. 3000. “The Myths and Legends of Champaner-Pavagadh” written by Sonal Mithal Modi, with illustrations by Jaidev Thakore and photographs by Rahul Gajjar!

Lets Save Our City’s History & Heritage. Lets enjoy & share this festival…