Udaipur (Rajasthan) and Strasbourg (France) are true legendary examples of a ‘Living Heritage’. The two cities may exhibit diverse cultures and people but the link between each city’s yesterday and today cannot be ignored – a striking similarity shared by cities that are seven seas apart!
Carrying the Torch of Heritage
In the desire to keep the heritage alive, a Joint Co-operation Programme (JCP) was signed between Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, UNESCO India Office, New Delhi; Udaipur Municipal Council; The City of Strasbourg (Municipalite de Strasbourg), France and Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), Udaipur. The JCP, signed for three years (2011-2013) aims to enlighten Udaipur and preserve the city’s heritage while developing international collaboration and partnerships for heritage-based projects in Udaipur.
The Sacred Quest
As part of the programme, the City of Strasbourg and the Festiv Musiq Sacrees Monde: Strasbourg are organizing a photograph exhibition titled ‘A sacred quest to Strasbourg and Udaipur’. This exhibition will be part of the festival ‘ Sacrées Journées of Strasbourg’ that will take place in Strasbourg, France in May 2013. The exhibition will also be held at The City Palace, Udaipur later.
For this exhibition, acclaimed photographer from Strasbourg, Albert Huber was welcomed in Udaipur and Anuradha Sarup, a respected photographer from MMCF was in Strasbourg. The purpose was to capture the art, culture and heritage of the two cities with a beaming fresh perspective and connecting them with a bond of harmonious similarity.
Legends on the Lens, Memories in the Heart
Both the photographers were back in their respective countries with a wide collection of photographs and memories of the partner cities forever buried in their hearts now. Here’s what they have to say:
Udaipur as Albert Huber describes:
“A happy photographer. In historical Udaipur, I am the happy photographer. I photograph the narrow streets and living and the baroque palaces, plants in wonderful places. I photograph the extraordinary royal palace, example of this mélange of art, fancy and historical memories. I photograph the women in Shitlamata temple, the Protestants celebrating Good Friday in the North India Church and Muslims at prayer in The Paltan mosque. I will come again to Udaipur.”
Strasbourg in the words of Anuradha Sarup:
“It was an honour to have this opportunity to meet the community leaders in Strasbourg and understand their historical, cultural and religious identities.
Most striking was the similarity between Strasbourg and Udaipur. Not in their outward appearance perhaps but in the harmony that exists between their past and present.
Like Udaipur, Strasbourg has a ‘Living Heritage’. The city and its people have a strong association with their historical, cultural and religious identities yet embrace the contemporary with vigour. They have adapted so well to changing times,” said Ms Sarup, who braved the rain and cold to photograph Strasbourg’s sacred heritage.
“Truly ‘Twin cities’ the warmth of Udaipur’s Atiti Devo Bhava was experienced in the warm welcome and hospitality of the people of Strasbourg,” she commented during her stay there. She had the opportunity to interact with the Mayor’s office and several officials, civil servants and coordinators who were as charming as they were gracious.
“From the grand Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, the serene Grande Mosquée and the impressive Synagogue de la Paix to the simpler churches and the daily life of its people, Strasbourg is a delight to photograph,” said Ms Sarup who vows to go to Strasbourg when it is sunny and bright so that she can capture its brilliant skies and distinctive skyline.
For Your Eyes Only
The photographic collection consists of 40 exclusive pictures of both cities selectively chosen by the two photographers. MMCF is confident that the exhibition will open new avenues of understanding between people and provide access to various artists of different faiths. It will inspire art, stimulate international research and digital knowledge exchange. The exhibition will be of benefit for professionals and academicians. It aims to encourage international community participation and to work on the sustainable development of ‘Living Heritage’ based on the strength of its traditions.
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