Sat, 10 Dec 2022

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 25 (ANI): UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and Royal Enfield, the world's oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production since 1901, flagged off 'The Great Himalayan Exploration' ride from the iconic Victoria Memorial in Kolkata on Saturday.

The unique partnership aims to contribute to the documentation, preservation and promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of India, an official statement read.

The ceremonial flag-off was led by Firhad Hakim, Mayor of Kolkata and Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Major General Sandeep Singh Kahlon, Vishist Seva Medal, General Officer Commanding Bengal Sub Area and Bidisha Dey, Executive Director, Eicher Group Foundation, the CSR arm of Royal Enfield.

"India possesses a multitude of undiscovered cultural heritage practices that are passed down from generation to generation. With our partnership with Royal Enfield we want to contribute to the collective knowledge and to the efforts of the Government of India to inventory all these Intangible Cultural Heritage practices," said Eric Falt, at the flag-off ceremony.

"As part of our social mission, Royal Enfield aims to partner with 100 Himalayan communities to build resilience and drive long-lasting change. We also intend to catalyse a global movement of 1 million riders who can actively partner with us in our endeavour. Through this unique partnership with UNESCO, we are connecting our rider community with the Himalayan communities in a bid to actively identify and preserve their living heritage," said Bidisha Dey.

As part of the capacity building, the riders, including a team of more than 20 rider-researchers, began the first journey to Pattachitra Gram (Village of the Scroll Painters) in Pingla Block - a UNESCO ICH showcase, over 100 km away in the West Medinipur District. At Pattachitra Gram, the riders were welcomed by the chitrakar community with a richly decorated atmosphere, laden with Pattachitra art and garlanded in the traditional welcome of the Chitrakar community.

After the flag-off and the ride to Pattachitra Gram, the rider-researchers will split into four groups and head towards Meghalaya, Assam and Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh. This will be followed by a series of research-based rides across the Himalayan region to document these practices in the next few months, according to the press release by UNESCO.

As per the official statement, this undertaking, as part of the unique partnership between UNESCO and Royal Enfield, announced recently, is an attempt to document the Intangible Cultural Heritage practices of India, beginning with the Himalayas. The goal is to create a digital repository of the wealth of information that the rider-researchers will collect.

UNESCO recently inscribed 'Durga Puja in Kolkata' on its prestigious Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Known for its celebration of feminine divinity, Durga Puja is also an embodiment of inclusive festivity.

A consummate expression of dance, music, crafts, rituals, and culinary and cultural aspects, the festival transcends social boundaries and brings people together in celebration, the release added. (ANI)

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