Visions of India come to life at Bharat, the World Heritage Project’s photo exhibit

TORONTO – A dazzling photo exhibit on India was unveiled in Toronto early this month, the first in a series of charitable events to bring world recognition to the many natural and cultural heritage sites around the globe.

"I believe very much in the power of art and media to raise awareness about the planet’s natural and cultural wonders," said Sandy Reimer, founder of the World Heritage Project. "We are bringing the world to the world, one image, one event, one story at a time."

The World Heritage Project is a not-for-profit organization whose aim is to create and inspire a global community to protect the environment, preserve and care for each country’s cultural treasures and build bridges of peace and understanding through education.

"It is a tremendous honour that India has been chosen by the World Heritage Project as the first country to be profiled in their comprehensive collection of our planet’s greatest treasures," said Ajit Khanna, president of the Indo Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Exploring the heritage, culture and people of India, Bharat is a photographic journey featuring renowned portrait photographer Mary Ellen Mark, National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry as well as Toronto photographers Jag Gundu, Sandy Reimer and Malcolm Armstrong. Recognized as one of the finest documentary photographers, Steve McCurry is most famous for his portrait of Sharbat Gula, the previously unidentified Afghan refugee girl he photographed that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985.

Bharat was launched Sept. 5 with an opening event at the National Film Board of Canada located at 150 John St. in Toronto. "I was overwhelmed by the turnout for the exhibit’s opening reception," said Reimer. The exhibit will run through Oct. 31. Call the National Film Board at (416) 973-3012 for viewing dates and times. Admission is free, but monetary donations are encouraged. “And all the money raised goes back into the host country,” she added.

“We are very thankful to sponsors like Airliners and ATOURZ. They play a key role in what the World Heritage Project is trying to accomplish,” said Reimer. “We see travel as a way to create bridges of understanding among nations.” “ATOURZ is proud to sponsor an event of this kind, which puts India’s many unique wonders in the world spotlight,” said Kiron Kumar, vice president at ATOURZ. “From a black and white image of vendors at the market in Chandni Chowk to the pristine reflection of the Taj Mahal in the river, these photos evoke a sense of nostalgia for Indians as well as excitement for would-be travellers to India.”

With ATOURZ’s wide range of product, travellers inspired by the photos can visit many of the destinations and attractions featured in this exhibit, Kumar added. “Travel agents with clients planning trips to India can also suggest travellers visit the exhibit for an enticing preview of what they might experience on their holiday.”

ATOURZ can be reached at 1-877-728-6870 (in Toronto, 416-485-6375) or contact Airliners at 1-877-727-6387 (in Toronto, 416-485-6387).

This article originally appeared at Friday, September 14, 2007.