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My evolution with Nagpur's history

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Did you know Nagpur had an McD way before it came in most parts of India?
Amol Wanjari, co-founder of Orange Odyssey threw more light on this in his walk named ‘Nagpur’s Story of Evolution' covering the Mahal area.

I feel proud to wake up early in the mornings for discovering a place and not for revising the exam course. It gives me a feeling of freedom. Although, my mother kept telling me to wear two jackets, and carry water, and gave me a to-do list to be completed while returning from the walk. So, the freedom thing seemed way too realistic!

Photos by - Sneha Bhadke & Pooja Sharma

Empty roads, people setting up the stalls, the sun rays spreading its reach, and the cold waves marking its existence; I tend to notice every small detail on a travel day. I stood at Gandhi Gate and watched the rituals honoring Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I have been to that Gate many times but I have never experienced the feeling of pride people carry in worshiping him. I had rounds of wandering left and right as I misread the Google maps (because it is never wrong) to reach the starting point of the walk. I found the crowd very enthusiastic and eager to observe whereas I had just hopped in. When Amol started describing the history behind Nagpur, it felt like a live movie theater.

Photo by - Pooja Sharma

I have been living in Nagpur for almost three decades. History as a subject doesn’t appeal to me much, so that does contribute to me not knowing enough. I may have learned history in school but we know how much it does stay! It was a new thought process to understand the making of the architectures, how much they describe the period they were built in, the weight of emotions they carry as they survive for long spans of 100 to 300 years (in a time where 15 seconds reels are trending!). There were many moments where I got an opportunity to imagine myself in the past.

And Amol’s jokes or I should say puns between the walk used to bring me back!

I have been to temples where I do notice the designs but I never focused on what goes into the making of that first stone or that first layer of foundation. Or the position of the plinths. I have been to Mahal for shopping but never noticed the carvings on the doors of the old shops. I have never been to a Wada. This is where Amol filled in with his knowledge of architecture and history. He weaved a relation between the carvings and the people of that era.

When we entered the Bhonsle Wada, it gave me a sense of how proud big bungalows used to be a mark of respect in those days. I kind of understood why possessing a home in one’s own name bears so much importance. Maybe, it serves as a mark of establishment and security which has paved its way through the age-old heritage homes. In this case, the Wada. I patted my brain for a moment there!

Photos by - Nakul Jadhav & Sneha Bhadke

We went to a palace which is now converted into a school. It was built in the prominent Rajwada style. I could hear the sounds of the ‘payal’ girls would have made running around. The shouting of the maid to pace up the food preparation process. The discussions to fight for that right. The voice which lost hope eventually and led to the fall of the Marathas.

As the talk moved towards its end, I concluded that people leave their marks not to be preserved or to be celebrated; they leave them so that we can learn, experience the thought processes and grow in the right direction. And when we don’t respect that, we end up losing the opportunity to feel the past. Not realizing the depth of what we are losing in the race of surviving.

So, this way the close to three-hour movie cum walk came to a stop. Or it began my journey in exploring more lanes of Nagpur. Potato or po-tah-toh whatever!

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