STUDY TOUR IN SEPTEMBER 1998
Our trip to North India was a true study of architecture where we saw not only the splendour of Islamic architecture in abundance but also 20th century architecture in Rashtrapati Bhavan and Le carbose planned city. Chandigad . We experienced an Epitome of beauty in Manís wonderful and Taj Mahal and natures wonder in " Manali "
On the 20th of September the enthusiastic DYPCA troupe headed by Principal Samant boarded the Golden Temple Express from Mumbai Central Station. It was at dusk on next day we reach the Rajdhani Delhi. Though there was no "Royal Red Carpet" welcome for us , light rain and a cool climate greeted us.
On 22nd and 23rd we rediscovered the historic and architectural heritages of Delhi . We started our day by offering namaz at the 1656 built Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. A quick flight to top of one of the Minaret gave as a birds eye view of Delhi. Next we visited the RED Fort built by Mughal King Shah Jahan in 1648 on the banks of River Yamuna. Apart from its historical and architectural importance the Red Fort is a national monument as the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on every independence day from the ramparts of the fort. During the coarse of the day we visited Raj Ghat., Shantivan , Safdarjungís Tomb , India Heritage Centre and the ISCON temple of Lord Krishna.
The second day of our stay in Delhi began by seeking the blessing of several Hindu deities at the Birla temple . Next we marvelled at the structures of the Parliament House and the Rashtrapati Bhavan designed by Lutyens. The domed almost circular Parliament house is almost a kilometre in circumference. The Rashtrapati Bhavan is an imposing structure with 340 rooms and an area of about 330 acres . The pillars and the porticoes are an architectural marvel and so are the Darbar Hall & Ashoka Hall within the complex . The grounds are adorned by Mughal gardens . Straight down Rajpath stands the imposing India Gate which is a war memorial built in Honour of soldiers who died in the second World war. The Lotus temple of Bahai Faith left us spell bound . Built in 1984 , it is a Lotus shaped architectural marvel made from marble cement, dolomite and sand. This peaceful and tranquil temple is an ideal place for meditation.. There was an air of spirituality as verses from all religious texts were read . Our day ended with a visit to the Qutub Minar , the 72.5 m victory tower built by Qutab-ud-din Albak in 1199 . At the base of the tower is a mosque . The complex also has an Iron pillar built in the 5th century AD , the Ellahi Darwaja and the incomplete Ellahi Minar.
The 24th was the day for the Taj Mahal at Agra , looked upon as one of the seven wonder of the world. The Taj Mahal was built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal as a symbol of eternal loveÖ 20,000 people under the guidance of architect Isa Khan built the monument between 1631 to 1653. The Taj Mahal stands serene and awesome, on a raised platform by the banks of the Yamuna. Its pure marble shimmers silver in the soft moonlight , exudes a shell-pink glow at dawn and close to dusk takes on a tawny, fiery hue of the majestic sun . The night at Agra was one of Garba and Raas.
On the next morning the DYPCA battalion marched into the Agra fort . This fort built by three of the greatest mughal emperor viz Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Armed with massive double walls, punctuated by four gateways , the fort houses palaces, courts, mosques, baths, gardens and gracious pavilions.
Moving on we reached Fatehpur Sikri in time for Friday prayers at the darga of Sheikh Salim Chisti. The capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586 AD, it has some fine structures viz Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, Panch Mahal , Buland Darwaja, Jodhabai Ďs Palace , Birbalís Palace etc.
Enroute to Chandigad we stopped at Mathura to inspect the disputed Krishna Janmabhoomi. The birthplace of Lord Krishna is believed to be a jail cell which is now embedded in the plinth of the Mosque.
After an overdose of Islamic architecture we finally moved into the new domain of Le Corbusier architecture in Chandigad. Here we studied the structure of the Bidan Sabha , the High Court and the architectural college. The evening at Lake Sukhna (an artificial lake spread over 3 kmss) belong to Ashwin Kopal who gave an enthused singing performance with the local band as we the proud DYCA gang looked on.We spent the 27th morning exploring Nekchand Sainiís Rock garden which is built with multi coloured pieces of stones and other discarded objects.
Enroute to Manali , a traffic Jam in the mountains played villain and kept us stranded in one place for more than 5 hours near Gammar about 200 kms from Manali. At daybreak Principal Samant , like an army general braved the huge trucks and single handedly helped clear the road . The bubbling Malsa river which culminates into the Beas river kept us company. Manali is located at an altitude of 2050m. The raw magnificence of Manali lies in its snow clad mountains , dense forests, emerald valley, gurgling streams meandering through meadows making it a mystic paradise on earth and that night we had an energetic jam session at Hotel Glacier to ward off the chilly weather .
Our first morning in this beautiful valley began as the sun rose behind a snow-capped mountain and bloke into a thousand rays .The mountains drew us to them and we went to Rohtang pass 51 kms from Manali located at a height of 3980m. Just beyond the pass is Sonapani Glacier and the twin peaks of Gaypan. The next day dawned plucking apples from trees and by visiting the Hidimba Temple. This temple with finely wrought four tiered pagoda roof built in 1553 is built arround a natural cave , which enshrines the footprints of local deity Hadimba.
On the morning of 1st October we were back in Delhi , before we caught the Paschim Express for our journey homeward , we just had to time to visit Pragati maidan which is the complex that hosts all international trade fairs and permanent buildings for pavilions of all the states of India. Our last venue was the National Science Museum . Here we let our inquistive and restless minds loose and got lost in the innovative world of science and technology..
This tour was a perfect mix of education and enjoyment where we experianced mother nature beauty as well as manís innovative architectures. A special thanks to our group leader Principal Samant and our tour secretary Uday Pokharkar for making this trip a memorable one.