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The Pols Of Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is also called the walled city due to the pol culture of the city. A pol is a housing cluster which comprises many families of a particular group linked by caste, religion or profession. Pols were made as a protection measure during the communal riots in the city. A pol would have only one or two entrances and some secret entrances if any known by the people residing in the pol. It is an interesting evolution in urban lifestyle. Some pols contain old beautiful houses with internal courts having intricate wooden carved facades with columns and fresco work done around court walls or ceilings. The old city of Ahmedabad was made up of 360 pols within a compound. The oldest pol of the city is the ‘Mahurat Pol’ and was built adjacent to Manekchowk.

The pol culture brings us back to the age when Ahmedabad was known as the Manchester of India. The festivals like Navratri, Rathyatra and Uttrayan are famous in the pols and people from all over the world come to visit the pols of the walled city during these festivals. Many pols are part of the cottage industry so you may find khakhra makers, book binding walas, hand sewing books and thereby creating a lively atmosphere. There are bird feeders in each pol called the ‘Chabutro’ which tells the people of Ahmedabad to replace the trees cut down when they built the city. Heritage of these pols has helped Ahmedabad gain a place in UNESCO’s tentative lists.

 

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3 comments

  1. ira.hellenthal@onlinehome.de'

    Hi to you. Im writing an expose for university about pols in Ahmedabad! Its really hard to get any informations about the actual situations of pols! can you help me????? What is the situation now, are the social constructions like the use to be, in which conditions are the buildings, do the gates still exist, as well as the councils and watchmen ???is there any literature I can get about pols and do the architects and goverment use the old ideas for new planning in town for new houses and city planning’s?????Thank you from Germany!

  2. dp130792@gmail.com'

    Hi there, it is great that you are doing a research on the pol culture of Ahmedabad. Yes most of the buildings and gates in the pols do exist, just like the way they used to be and some of the pols are endangered and it is not safe for the people to live there. Hence, the government has started reconstruction on those sites. There is no such council or watchmen as it used to be and the city’s recent buildings are all modernized and hardly any idea from the pols is used in the latter.
    Thank you!

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