Sunday, 16 March 2014

Kim's Review : Udvada

This is an absolutely beautiful photobook by Shantanu Das which captures Udwada in all its glory, without hiding the reality of its crumbling portions.

Udvada is a quaint Parsi town in Gujarat near Daman, 200 kms from Mumbai. Home to one of the 9 Atash Behram - (Fire of Victory - is the highest grade of a fire that can be placed in a Parsi Fire Temple) in India. It is a place for pilgrimage and a million memories.

Today, parts of the town are crumbling and dying, especially with the younger generation moving away for work and education. But there is also an older generation that is coming back from Mumbai and other locations, either to resettle here or establish their households here for part of the year at least. All of this combined with the natural Parsi joie de vivre and love of food, makes it an extremely interesting place to visit.

As a casual visitor, you barely get to scratch the surface of the beauty and richness that is Udvada, so this book is an amazing revelation. It does not take you inside the Fire Temple itself (which is sacred and restricted), but it takes you inside peoples homes and hearts.

The reason Parvez Damania contacted Shantanu Das to photograph this little town, is so that it could be preserved for posterity. "I wanted to capture memories of the town, as the community — and I — still remember it. And I wanted to put together a photographic documentation of Udvada before it succumbs to modernism. I reckon that historians and generations to come may have nothing but a treasure trove of these and other photographs to remember it by. There was no photographic evidence of the times I myself had experienced in Udwada. As a twelve-year-old boy, when we visited the place, all the major hotels like Globe, Majestic or King’s had a Chevrolet or a Buick or an Impala to fetch us from the station. All that, and so much more, is already lost"

Shantanu is a brilliant Photo Journalist whom Parvez contacted and entrusted this job to. The 2 of them visited Udvada multiple times and clicked a ton of photographs, before shortlisting the ones that made it to this book. Shantanu has definitely stuck to his mandate and brought the town alive with his pictures.

This book actually started out as a Photo Exhibition, but has now been compiled into beautiful nostalgia evoking book, that anyone who has ever visited Udwada would love to treasure.

Its not yet available on flipkart or Amazon, but it is available in Gujarat bookshops and on

If you would like to see more pictures of Udvada, please click on this link. It is a mini album of a few pictures that we clicked on our visit to this beautiful historic little town.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

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