The students left on an excursion to Agra on the 28th of September, 2016.
With all the hustle and bustle in the morning at 6: 30AM we were ready to leave for Agra, the city that allures people with the Taj Mahal, but that not being the only attraction. One must not forget the magnificent forts and fascinating tombs left behind by the Mughal Empire. As stated when it comes to the possibilities of ‘learning from history’ there are many things we could aspire to learn.
The students were well aware of the Taj Mahal but the legacy of the Mughal Empire was yet to be revealed. Through the journey they sang, they ate and they made merry, but with curious minds waiting to reach their destination. On reaching we were first taken to visit the Tomb of Itmud-Ud-Dauala where the tomb of Noor Jahan’s parents lie. Fascinated by the structure and the information received they were awe struck at the work of the artisans at that time.
The guide explained to them the significance of the tombs and why it was placed there. The buck didn’t stop here as our next haul was the Taj Mahal. However, first all the students were taken to the hotel where they rested for a while and enjoyed a lip-smacking meal. After this we headed straight to the Taj Mahal and the students found themselves awestruck by the incredible building. Nonetheless, they learnt some bitter truths about how the Taj Mahal was losing its spectacular form due to lack of maintenance and acid rain causing it to turn the marble black. The one thing that got them really excited and intrigued was the idea of optical illusion created to baffle the visitor’s eye. After being on their feet the whole day, the students and the teachers called it a night straight after a small activity and dinner.
The second day began with a visit to the Agra fort where they learnt about majestic fort formations, a synthesis of Indo-Islamic architecture made to protect the people from invasions. They were then taken to a crafts shop where they saw how art work is created on marble also giving them an opportunity to buy some souvenirs for their homes. Post this we visited Mehtab Bagh where they were shown a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal and also the place where Shah-Jahan wanted to build his own tomb-similar to Taj Mahal but in black marble.
Once we were back the students did a small drawing activity and our budding artists were at their best portraying their views through different shades and images. Sitting by the pool side they drew to their hearts content. To top it all the day ended with the students tapping their feet to different beats and sounds.
Coming to the end of our journey the students’ last haul was at Fatehpur Sikri, listed among the World Heritage Sites. The guide explained to them the importance of the place and how it was Akbar’s reign, but due to lack of water he had to move. The enormous gateway built to celebrate the victory of Akbar’s success in conquering Gujarat ‘Buland Darwaza’ was also shown to the students. They also visited the tomb of the renowned sufi saint Salim Chisti located here. The tomb is well known for its gentle carvings and attracts hundreds of travelers. With these memories of a fun filled and knowledgeable trip we headed back to Delhi.