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Delwara’s Heritage

Delwara’s rich cultural heritage includes traditional step-wells, temples and buildings of architectural importance known as havelis, whose art dates back to the mediaeval era. From the start, Seva Mandir has encouraged the community to work together to restore and maintain Delwara’s heritage structures. We have helped organise campaigns of Shramdan (voluntary labour) to clean the heritage sites regularly. We are now working on increasing citizens’ involvement in the conservation of their heritage, the beautification of step-wells and putting in place mechanisms to protect the heritage structures from deterioration.

Devigarh palace, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, was some years ago turned into a luxury hotel. In recent years Devigarh has been a key stakeholder in the development of the town. It has lent its support to

the Citizens’ Forum by participating in the forum’s regular meetings and providing employment for local young people in the hotel. Devigarh has also helped to showcase the development activities carried out by the community of Delwara and Seva Mandir by encouraging its guests to go on the tours led the young people trained as guides by Seva Mandir.

The Delwara Heritage and Community Walk

The Delwara Walk started as a project to generate local jobs and publicise the development work accomplished together by Seva Mandir and Delwara’s people over the past 15 years.  It has, however, had a wider impact.

Together with a Seva Mandir volunteer, young people from all three major religious communities researched the town’s history and heritage sites and were trained to lead tours taking in its little known heritage sites and visiting artisans practising their traditional crafts (potters, artists, goldsmiths). But, unlike other heritage walks, this one goes beyond physical heritage to consider questions about women’s rights, access to water and toilets, caste discrimination, livelihoods and other aspects of Seva Mandir’s work.  Walks are also being organised with Delwara’s schoolchildren so that they too can begin to learn about and take ownership of the development of Delwara.

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