Apologies for the delay in posting this! I had very limited access to internet during my last week in India.
Thursday, May 22nd 2014
Thursday, May 22nd 2014
I’m sad to say that this is the last blog post for the SWE Overseas 2014 trip! L
Our day began with a quick breakfast at our hotel in Delhi (Colonel’s Retreat). We then travelled to the Jama Masjid - a famous mosque in ‘old’ Delhi built by the same Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal (Shah Jahan). We were required to leave our shoes outside and wear funny looking housecoats (these are required for all women visiting the mosque). Here’s a group picture of us in our housecoats:
|Standing in front of Jama Masjid in our housecoats.|
|View of Red Fort from Jama Masjid|
Perhaps the highlight of our day today was the ‘cycle rikshaw’ tour that we took around some streets of old Delhi. A cycle rikshaw is a small 2-seater cart that is pulled along by cycler. This tour was a perfect way to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the city, firsthand. Riding through iconic the streets of iconic areas like Chandni Chowk and Delhi 6 was almost surreal. India has mastered the small business model, and this was evident in our cycle tour, as the streets were lined with small stores one after the other (sometimes so small that barely one adult can fit inside). As Naru (our guide) said, these shops may look small, however they make huge profits everyday. Here's a video of the cycle tour for you to enjoy:
After the cycle rikshaw tour, we headed to Gandhi Smriti – a house in the British colonial area of Delhi in which Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. The house originally belonged to the Birla family (a very prominent business family of India), but was handed over to the government soon after Gandhi’s assassination, to be turned into a museum. The museum had a photo gallery of Gandhi and his life which explained his philosophy and chronicled the last 48 hours before his assassination.
By the end of our visit to the museum, we were ready to eat! So, we took a short bus tour around the government buildings of New Delhi (since it is the capital of the country). We were able to see the President and Vice President’s houses, as well as the Prime Minister’s office. We were also able to take a short photo break at the India Gate. The India Gate is a war memorial for all of the Indian soldiers that have fought in various wars.
Our very last stop on the bus tour was the Lotus Temple. The Lotus Temple is a temple of worship for those of the Bahai Faith. The temple was built in the 80s and was beautifully constructed as a lotus in the middle of water (by adding pools around the temple). The interior of the temple is very simple with rows of seats in which visitors can sit and pray.
SWE Overseas 2014 has been an outstanding experience through every step of organization, planning and finally travelling these last 2 weeks in India. Conducting the STEM Camp was a very fulfilling experience, and I’m excited to see how the camp will develop in the future. The camp and our travels in the second week gave us a chance to appreciate the perspective of those from a developing nation such as India - be it on education, food, art, etc. We also experienced the duality and contradictions that is so characteristic of India.
And with that, the tale of SWE Overseas 2014 comes to an end. However, not to worry, we'll be back! :) Till then, happy travels!
P.S: As per popular demand, please find elephant pictures below :-)