Assimilating Architectural Wonders!

Five cities. Twelve days. A trip to visit the country’s best architectural marvels; a journey embarked to imbibe the finest architectural knowledge was organised during the winter vacation 2014 for all students of the Department of Architecture.

Two professors of the department, Dr. Arup Das & Prof. Binit Kumar had accompanied the students guiding them on their first study tour. Four tour guides had also given company.
The journey began on the 12th of December, 2014, from Rourkela. The first stop being Agra and the first monument visited unmistakably the Taj Mahal, the epitome of Mughal art and architecture in terms of style and proportion. Its style combines Islamic, Persian, Ottoman, Turkish, and Indian architecture following which students gave a presentation that evening in the hotel conference room. Next stop was Fatehpur Sikri, a ghost city built in the 16th century by Akbar the great, and Agra Fort, a symbol of power, strength and resilience as it stands in full glory, were visited the following day. Students were asked to carry out memory drawing after returning. After the stay in Agra, buses were boarded to visit the next city, Jaipur.

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, designated as the Pink city, is the gateway of India’s most flamboyant state. Jantar Mantar, the royal observatory, an equinoctial sundial, was visited first. The next location was the City Palace, built over 400 years, is located in the heart of the walled city. Hawa Mahal; the Palace of Winds, built in 1799,is an extraordinary, fairy-tale, pink sandstone, delicately honeycombed hive that rises a dizzying five storeys, was next. The final destination for the day was the Raj Mandir Cinema Hall, the second largest cinema hall in Asia. The next morning, the troop paid a visit to the Amer Fort, which is known for its artistic style of Hindu elements. Here the students had the permission to sketch at designated places in the fort. Up next was the most serene sight amidst the chaos of the city, Jal Mahal, the Water Palace. The last location covered was the Nehru Kala Kendra, to witness contemporary architecture and to have an insight into utilization and interconnection of spaces. The visit at this enthralling city was then followed by a train journey to Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer, designated as the Golden City, has witnessed different forms of architecture in different eras. Jaisalmer Fort, properly known as Sonar Quila, was the focus of numerous battles. Sketches were made at the Haveli by the students. The Haveli is a fusion of the Rajputana and subtle Islamic architecture. Camps were then setup in the Sam Desert. Traditional Rajasthani meals were served for supper, which was followed by bon fire. The optimistic pinks and blues filled the desert sky early next morning. Adventurous activities like the camel race and parasailing took place. Next up was the measured drawing activity at the Gadisar Lake, after which the troop travelled to Jodhpur, the Blue City.
Mighty Mehrangarh, the muscular fort that towers over the Blue City, is a magnificent spectacle and an architectural masterpiece. As well as glowing with a mysterious light, the blue tint is thought to repel insects. Umaid Bhawan Palace, known as Chittar Palace during its contruction, is one of the largest private residences. The train to Delhi was boarded next.

Mystery, magic, mayhem.

Delhi, the city of Djinns, where the ruins of Mughal Forts and medieval bazaars are scattered between the office blocks, shopping malls and tangled expressways. Humayun’s Tomb, a substantial example of Mughal architecture in India, and the Lotus Temple, notable for its flowerlike shape, is a Bahai House of worship; were visited that day. The exhibition at the Pragati Maidan was an architectural fair which incorporated various new interior designs, building materials and designing solutions. Next day, the troop headed towards the I.H.C (Indian Habitat Centre), a multipurpose building, which is India’s most comprehensive convention centre. Last but not the least; India Gate; a war memorial was visited to pay respect to the deceased soldiers.

This journey was an exhilarating experience. The professors imparted a lot of knowledge about historical monuments and design principles. Trips like these would be highly beneficial for the students of the department. Team MM congratulates the Department of Architecture on adopting such a novel way of integrating studies and fun in one single packag