By Himmat Singh
Jaipur is one of the iconic cities in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Many of the images or videos you might see of India are from this region, and the city of Jaipur is a great example of some of the rich history of Indian Rajput culture. Forts, palaces and mansions are preserved or restored all around the city, making it easy for the mind to travel back in time and imagine what those times might’ve been like. I was fortunate be one of the guides on this trip for the third year.
Some of the highlights of the trip included exploring the Amer Fort (overlooking the city of Jaipur), experiencing Rajasthani culture re-enacted at Chowki Dhani followed by a taste of the unique cuisine, visiting the City Palace and Museum adjacent the residence of the present-day Maharaja of Jaipur, and finally feeding, painting and riding elephants in a nearby village.
In the past, the trip has centered around the annual Jaipur Literature Festival, featuring international best-selling authors, researchers, scholars and academics. Unfortunately, the festival dates were changed last-minute and we weren’t able to attend. However, a new part of the trip was introduced, which was the Barefoot College – a center for uneducated women to be empowered, improve their quality of living and learn vocational trades among many other amazing things.
One of their specialties is teaching women from villages around the world how to build and install solar panels. After a six-month course, the women can either stay on at the college, or return to their villages and set up shop with their new training.
Overall, the trip was a fun bonding experience for the 9th graders. They got to see a new part of India most of them hadn’t seen before and might not otherwise have the opportunity to see.
Photos by Prem Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur and Himmat Singh