Excursion to the main campus of Mewar University in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
September 27, 2015
Following the conclusion of our orientation week at KIBI, all of our students together with three faculty members went on an excursion to the main campus of Mewar University in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. It is thanks to Mewar University’s agreement to collaborate with us that KIBI is able to offer the Bachelor of Arts in Buddhist Studies program. This also allows KIBI students to remain in India for the whole three year program on student visas. It is therefore important for the students make a direct connection with Mewar University through visiting the campus.
Some people say, ‘You haven’t traveled in India if you haven’t traveled in sleeper-class’ and so we all enjoyed the authentic experience of traveling in the sleeper-class of the ‘Mewar Express’ train together. Even though most of us were able to sleep surprisingly well on the train, everyone was glad when we had arrived at the campus and were able to take a rest. In the late morning our hosts took us on a tour of the campus. They showed us the different laboratories, from physics to insectology.
At one point during the tour, the difference in interests between our students and Mewar University’s students became clear – when in the biology department the teacher showed us a crab which was kept in a small jar for observation. The compassionate hearts of our students retaliated and they were close to taking the crab away in order to release it. The conflict could only be solved when the teacher who did not want to let go of the animal promised to provide more humane living-conditions for the crab.
In the afternoon, there was a lecture on the history and motto of Mewar University. In the evening, we went to a local restaurant where we enjoyed authentic Indian cuisine and each other’s company until late in the evening.
The next day, the program on campus concluded and we went to Chittorgarh. There, we thoroughly enjoyed real Rajasthani Thalis in a wonderful authentic garden setting, in the shade of a tree and accompanied by two cows. The food was delicious!
Chittorgarh is a historical city and its highlight is the Chittorgarh Fort, which is the biggest fort in India. In four Tuk Tuks we raced up to the fort to be stunned by its beauty and be impressed by its size. Photographs of towers, temples, springs, and palace ruins took up a lot of the photo storage space on our phones and cameras. Excited and fascinated, we hardly noticed the scorching heat of Rajasthan’s afternoon sun.
After a last snack at a restaurant and a bit of time to refresh ourselves, we took the night-bus back to Delhi where we arrived Wednesday morning.
Not every aspect of the trip was as we had expected it or easy, but we arrived back at KIBI enriched in many ways. We had shared some challenges and some wonderful experiences as a group, something that made us connect with each other in new ways. We were able to witness Rajasthani culture, to step outside of our KIBI-bubble, and see the conditions in which our fellow students in India live and study in. We came back a little bit exhausted but full of appreciation for the conditions and opportunities KIBI offers us and ready to start classes.