Ahmedabad has seen the establishment of the first Conflictorium, a one-of-a-kind museum with the primary intention of purporting the long history of conflict and struggle that the city has witnessed since its inception.
This unique idea has been materialized by converting the run-down and decrepit building of the Gool Lodge into a haven that calls out to the inquisitive looking to delve deeper into the events that have shaped the city and given it its beauty.
The aging walls of the building provide an entrapping ambience to the visitors as they get lost in the stories and facts behind the conflicts and notes of unrest that have occurred before their time. This unique nature, coupled with the fact that it serves as an excellent platter of facts and recollections of important events, puts the Conflictorium on the tourist radar.
Apart from its obvious beauty and attraction, the Conflictorium has an eerie charm to it. The first reason that comes to mind would be its location. In a nutshell, the Conflictorium has become a popular tourist attraction ever since its inception due to its unexampled idea and the things it has to offer which is more than enough to wow anyone taking interest in historical facts and the unravelling of the timeline that we have followed ever since.
Architecture of the Conflictorium
The Conflictorium saw its genesis in the womb of the old and forgotten Gool Lodge that was placed in the old city. Visitors who find themselves standing in front of the Conflictorium can immediately feel the essence of the surroundings and how they help set the tone for what lies ahead. The museum itself is practically compartmentalized into different segments to include each and every event highlighting conflict based on their significance.
Exterior of the Conflictorium
The antiquated exterior of the building somewhat symbolizes the old city of Ahmedabad itself, where time is considered to have stopped and the people still reside in the stories and conflicts of yesteryear.
Interior of the Conflictorium
The museum is conveniently placed with a mandir, a dargah and a cemetery in its vicinity, exemplifying an attempt to bridge the gap that has been widening ever since the violent 2002 riot between the communities. On a more infinitesimal level, the position and utility of the Conflictorium, as viewed by many, happens to dilute the ever-increasing difference between the old city and the new.
What Conflictorium has in store for you… ?
Making your way through the entrance of the eerie building, you would find yourself gazing at the various exhibits and visual recollections of the various clashes and conflicts that the city has seen and suffered. The museum has been segregated into 6 different rooms, each highlighting a particular aspect of the tales and stories.
1. It commences with the ‘Conflict Timeline’ which is a stellar collection of instances of oppression and unrest in Gujarat.
2. Next in line is the ‘Empathy Alley’, highlighting the contributions of eminent political figures from Gujarat and the fact that most of their work and sacrifices never got the recognition or the appreciation that they deserve by putting up silhouettes of their figures with an audio archive of their speeches recorded at the time.
3. Moving further along, we have the ‘Moral Compass’, a segment which allows visitors to physically touch the Constitution and examine it.
4. Then you’d move along to the ‘Memory Lab’, a wall containing a bevy of glass jars containing the wishes and submission of visitors which are often displayed.
5. The final segment inside the museum building would be the ‘Power of New’, an audio installation that augments the journey that the visitor embarks upon when he enters the museum and acts as a concluding note.
6. Although ‘Power of New’ is the last segment to be found inside the building, it is the penultimate segment of the entire museum, as the final part happens to be the peepal tree outside that has been dubbed as the ‘Sorry Tree’. It acts as a storage and submission den for visitors to apologise to someone that they don’t have the courage to do in person and attach that card of apology to one of the leaves.
Therefore, if looked at the way it was originally designed, the Conflictorium is a round-trip chronicling the root of all evil, of all the causes of unrest and conflict that has plagued the city. It showcases how people got involved and tried their best to resolve said conflicts and sacrificed themselves in the process. It helps the visitors recognise their own internal and external conflicts and acts as a persuasion to resolve it before things get out of hand.
Image Gallery of Conflictorium Ahmedabad
History of the Conflictorium
Established in 2013, the Conflictorium has since served as a museum of conflict depiction and resolution. The stark difference in lifestyle and ideologies of the residents of the old and new parts of the city is blatantly evident and this ever-widening gap was the reason the Conflictorium came into being.
Apart from imploring the visitors to resolve their own conflict, the museum attempts to plug the open wound that the city has been suffering throughout the years and thereby trying to shorten that gap between the two different parts of the city.
The curator of the museum is of the opinion that the plight and cries of the oppressed and the destitute who have suffered for years have found the light of day through the Conflictorium. Now the people can see and empathize with them and in the process, understand the need for conflict resolution and the importance of confronting a problem with facts and logic rather than violence.
The enthusiasm with which the tourists participate in the activities of the museum hints that people are willing to bypass the road to conflict, all they need is the proper guidance.
Things to do at the Conflictorium
1. The museum is lenient in the allowance of photography and entry and thus the visitors can have a good time reliving the experiences and capturing moments and sights of interest.
2. The surroundings of the museum also invokes the photographer in everyone due to its haunting beauty.
3. The serenity of its proximity beckons the tired and weary to rest and enjoy the air and soak in the mystery while contemplating what life must have been like for the residents of the place long before the museum was even established.
4. The Conflictorium itself is interactive of sorts, allowing the visitors to participate in the process of creating a lasting impression on the place by submitting their ideas and thoughts in the ‘Memory Lab’. It also allows them to lighten their conscience by writing an apology letter to someone and attaching it to the ‘Sorry Tree’.
Visitors can purchase souvenirs and other related products. The museum offers a calm and safe place for tourists and visitors to unwind and relax amidst all the instances of past violence and recollection of all the sufferings.
This, coupled with the contents of the museum and what it has to offer to the visitors, gives it its unique status and witnesses visitors turning up at the site to share the experience along with them.
Entry Fee and Timings of the Conflictorium
The museum is open on all days of the week with the exception of Monday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. There are no charges applicable for entry of visitors or for cameras.
Places to visit near the Conflictorium
The Conflictorium is surrounded by places of interest which are not far from each other. Tourists visiting the museum may also consider visiting the Fernandes Bridges, Teen Darwaza, the Sidi Saiyed Mosque and the Nehru Bridge to exemplify their visit to the city of Ahmedabad.
The Bhadra Fort and Ahmad Shah’s Tomb are also in the vicinity for people to drop by and at the end of the day they can quell their hunger by choosing a variety of restaurants and eateries nearby and indulge in the authentic taste of Gujarati cuisine.
How to Reach Conflictorium
For those travelling by air, the nearest Airport would be the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport which is 6 kms from the museum.
Visitors using train as their mode of transport can choose to disembark at the Ahmedabad Junction which is as close as 2.1 kms from the Conflictorium.
Apart from that, local modes of transport are aplenty as the museum is conveniently placed at the heart of the city amongst the hubbub of the residents and the crowd and thus travelling from where you are to the Conflictorium can be as easy as taking an auto-rickshaw or calling for a cab. You can also book a cab from top car rental companies in Ahmedabad and visit all the famous sightseeing places of Ahmedabad in a hassle free manner.
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