In a recent announcement, UNESCO welcomed 55 new cities into its Creative Cities Network (UCCN), which focuses on promoting creativity as a strategic factor in urban development. Notably, two Indian cities, Kozhikode and Gwalior, made their mark by joining this esteemed network.
Kozhikode: The City of Literature
Kozhikode, situated in Kerala, stands out as the first Indian city to be designated as the ‘City of Literature’ by UNESCO, marking a historic achievement.
Cultural Hub for Literature:
The city has a longstanding tradition of hosting literary events, including the Kerala Literature Festival, one of the largest literary gatherings in Asia, which showcases Kozhikode as a vital center for intellectual exchange and literary discussions.
Kozhikode’s literary commitment is evident through its 500-plus libraries, highlighting its dedication to knowledge dissemination and fostering a culture of reading.
Home to Literary Luminaries:
The city is also a nurturing ground for renowned writers like S. K. Pottekkatt, Thikkodiyan, and P. Valsala Sanjayan, along with a vibrant community of poets, scholars, and publishers contributing to the richness of Malayalam literature and culture.
Gwalior: The City of Music
Honoring Musical Heritage:
Gwalior, located in Madhya Pradesh, has earned the distinction of being designated as the ‘City of Music’ by UNESCO, following in the footsteps of Varanasi, which received this recognition in 2015.
Birthplace of Tansen:
Gwalior is widely recognized as the birthplace of Tansen, one of India’s greatest musicians and composers, who was among the ‘Navratnas’ (nine jewels) in the court of Emperor Akbar, contributing significantly to Indian classical music.
The city is the cradle of the Gwalior Gharana, the oldest and most influential school of Hindustani classical music, shaping the musical heritage of the region.
Gwalior hosts the annual Tansen Sangeet Samaroh, one of India’s largest music festivals, attracting music enthusiasts and artists from across the country and abroad, underscoring the city’s deep-rooted musical traditions.