DELWARA HERITAGE AND COMMUNITY WALK-2013

Just 40 minutes from Udaipur lies Delwara, traditionally known as ‘the town of gods’ for the 1000 temples once built there.

Delwara boasts an ancient and visually stunning heritage that extends far beyond the 18th century palace. Raja Sampriti (the King of Mewar) built about 1-lakh temples during his reign. In fact even today every street in Delwara has at least one temple.

Jason Silberstein who volunteered for Seva Mandir from the past year and a half organized a ‘Delwara Heritage and Community Walk’ for tourists and local people of Delwara. According to Jason, Delwara’s heritage does not just talk about physical history or social inheritance but are ‘the sites of social change’ and actually show how castes relate.

 

Our Guides

 

One may be amazed to see six Delwara boys conversing confidently in fluent English. They are indeed the Delwara Heritage and Community Walk guides.

Jason Silberstein training Delwara boys

Photo- Jason Silberstein training Delwara boys

 

Each of our guides is from Delwara itself, and has spent hundreds of hours researching and training to become certified by Seva Mandir. And what makes the Delwara Heritage walk even more exceptional is that each walk is distinguished by the guide’s own unique stories, opinions and relationships.

Kundan Singh, one of the six guides

Photo- Kundan Singh, one of the six guides

 

Jason and team first made a list of people who could give details and narrate interesting stories about each site and then prepared sites to be included on the walk.

 

On the Walk

 

Out of the many interesting Delwara sites, the team shortlisted the following- DeviGarh Palace, traditional pottery, havelis, step wells, ancient Jain and Hindus temples, and royal hunting tower. In between, each walk also offers a gateway into small-town India and explores the social changes and development brought by participation of Delwara people and Seva Mandir.

Kasheshvar Mahadev Temple, one of the sites included in the walk

Photo- Kasheshvar Mahadev Temple, one of the sites included in the walk

 

Sadhna, the final stop on the walk, is jointly owned by 700 local women artisans who produce the finest quality fair trade apparel and home furnishings.

 

Social Change

 

Delwara is a place where caste system still exists. Although being brought up in Delwara, our guides had never visited the Jain temple, which is the main tourist attraction. During the research and training, they crossed boundaries and had a reason to visit all these places. Seva Mandir’s training sessions also somehow brought the change in the behavior of boys. Since the session included people from all the castes, boys intermingled with each other. They had never done this before, neither had shared food or for that matter a smile.