Friday, February 4, 2011

Pols of Old City

Pols of Old City


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Pols of Old City
These small neighborhoods are both the backbone and heartbeat of the old city of Ahmedabad. In recent years, families have started moving out to live in more modern houses further from the city center, but many of them still feel a strong attachment to the close-knit communities of the pols that shaped their lives while growing up. Many of them have their own temple at the center of the neighborhood, one or more small shrines for whatever faiths are present.

Many pols are part of a cottage industry, so you will find people sitting on the steps hand-sewing books or crimping silver chains together for traditional jewellery and various other crafts that allow people to add to their livelihood without leaving their homes, thus creating a vibrant community. There are bird feeders in each pol known as chabutro, tall poles that the people of Ahmedabad put up for birds to replace the trees cut down when they built the city, and crevices they built into the walls for birds to use as houses, showing a heartwarming concern for non-human life. The walled city was built before motor vehicles, meant for pedestrians and bicycles, so its small windy streets are best explored on foot.

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