29/10/15

28th October, 2015

Elephant Ride

We are now 5 days into the Indian Exchange visit to the Shri Ram School in Delhi and this is my first chance
to write the blog. This exchange which has been running for many years takes our sixth form girls to India to spend time with their partners and their families, experience Indian school life and get a flavour of this fascinating country. So far they have had a weekend with the families, visited The Kingdom of Dreams Shri RamBollywood spectacular, spent two days in Jaipur and now just spent the day at The Shri Ram School.

It's been a busy time. We flew to Jaipur, the pink city, in Rajasthan on Monday. By Tuesday evening we had taken in the key locations within the city and visited a mountain temple with holy waters where pilgrims travel to bathe. A deeply spiritual place with monkeys, peacocks and the ever present cattle sharing the sacred space with the devoted. Sadhu's posed with cows and gave blessings while the populace bathed in the waters high up in the mountains. Monkeys observed, clambered along the exquisite buildings and occasionally posed too. Everyone is a celebrity here.

Highlight of Jaipur could be The Palace of the Winds; a facade built to allow the harem to observe the markets and processions without in turn being seen. Perhaps the observatory, Jantar Mantar, was a rival for this honour. Constructed in the eighteenth century by Jai Singh it features masonry, stone and brass instruments that were built using astronomy and instrument design principles of ancient Hindu Sanskrit texts, and with data from Islamic astronomy during the Mughal Empire. These instruments allow the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye.

Perhaps though it is the elephant ride up to the Amer Fort. A slow, hot and rather shaky ascent to this beautiful fort/palace with majestic views of the valley. Of course there have been markets and more to come. Townley girls are learning the skills of haggling! They are also learning some Indian dancing. We will post a video on our Facebook page and provide regular tweets from my own and the school Twitter feed.

As always they have represented Townley well. An engaged, interested and good humoured group. It is their presence that makes this such a wonderful experience.

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 Desmond Deehan

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