Places in India
New Delhi is not so new—it’s just over 100 years old. Part of Delhi, a much larger area. It’s now the capital.
I visited on Republic Day—big parade (describe, with photos)
New Delhi can become very polluted (my experience, mask)
Taj Mahal is the most famous place in India
It’s a tomb, with lovely grounds and plenty of crowds out for a nice day. There is not a lot to do, but it’s one of the world’s most famous buildings.
It’s located a few hours south of New Delhi.
India is about 80% Hindi (the language is Hindu, the religion is Hindi) but the most famous place in India is Muslim
Look closely at the writing—it’s Islamic. The architecture, too. My guide was Muslim, but he told me that there are few Muslim guides today—discrimination against Muslims, hard for him to find enough work, feed his family.
This is a problem for Muslims throughout India—a constant political problem.
Next time, I want to go to the Himalayas, maybe not to climb to the top of Mount Everest, but just to experience the culture.
I want to take some trips on India’s railways—some of the most amazing journeys in the world, some very busy.
Gujarat is on my list, in part because of the long history (back to the Indus Valley civilizations), in part for the food and the sense of community (I have a friend who has family there), and in part, because it’s quite different from Delhi.
Gujarat is north of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, a big international city with a harbor on the Arabian Sea.
Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, is far on the Bangladesh side of India, formerly the British capital, but it was replaced in 1911 by Delhi. As with both Mumbai and Delhi, there is a lot to see and do.
How to teach “Places in India”
Start with video—just watch the videos carefully before you show them to the students. Most will be tourist videos, made by or for visitors, but you’ll get a good sense of the places, it’s easy, it’s free, and the students can be encouraged to find more on their own.
There is no shortage of books about climbing Mount Everest. One popular title is The Top of the World.
A good web search will turn up stories about the Taj Mahal, the British in India, everyday life in India, Indian food, Indian cooking, even Indian weddings. It’s more difficult to find books specific to Mumbai or Kolkata or other places, but web video does the job very well.
You can also concentrate on people: Mother Teresa in Kolkata, and Gandhi, for example. No shortage of books.
India is also rich in folktales and travel stories. Many have become books suitable for children and teenagers:
Grandma and the Great Gourd by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Susy Pilgrim Waters
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes
Finders Keepers? A True Story in India by Robert Arnett and Smita Turakhia
Ahisma by Supriya Kelkar – for teenagers and adults, a novel about India’s struggle for independence
Places in India