Context: The Ministry of Culture has announced the redevelopment of a primary school attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose hometown is Vadnagar.
- Children from across the country will spend a week at the Prerna school to learn “how to live a very evolved life”, as part of a joint initiative by the central and state governments.
- Vadnagar has been known by names like Anartapura, Anandapur, Chamatkarpur and so on, during different periods of its history, and has often been compared to Varanasi in terms of both claiming to be “living cities”.
- Vadnagar was an important centre of Sammitya Buddhists, a sect which Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang also supported.
- Human habitation existed here from mid-8th century BCE till date.
- Medieval reference: Abul Fazl’s Ain-e-Akbari from the 16th century makes a note of Vadnagar or Barnagar, as a “large and ancient city containing 3,000 pagodas, near each of which is a tank” and “chiefly inhabited by Brahmans.”
- Known for: Early historic fortified settlement, hinterland port, centre for industries of shells and beads, late medieval town, religious centre/temple town, a significant junction on trade routes, and mercantile town.
- Vadnagar as a ‘living city’:
- The structures at Vadnagar showcase the architectural influence of various cultural periods.
- Extensive water management system in and around the town also played a role in its continuity.
- The town represents a continuously evolving historic urban landscape/area which played a major role in the hinterland trade network of Western India.