Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Golden Triangle

OK, I ask that you bear with me as I know this blog is about Improving Education in Rural India and I have not gotten to that yet. I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be spending the first 3 days visiting Delhi, Agra and Jaipur (a.k.a., the Golden Triangle) and it will all start to connect.

I arrived in Delhi at night and really did not get to see much there. On my way to the hotel, I was taken through the Presidential Palace, the Parliament and the India Gate. From my hotel I could see one of the five Jantar Mantar, a group of observatories built by a Mughal emperor to help tell time and seasons and predict eclipses among other things using math and science (astronomy to be precise).

The next day I departed to Agra where I visited the Agra Fort and later had the fortune of seeing one of the most majestic buildings created by human kind: the Taj Majal. If you have not been to India, let me spare you the details and just share that it is truly spectacular. Few times in my life have I felt this impressed. I strongly recommend everyone, if given the opportunity, to visit this magnificent building and learn the story behind its creation. For those photography enthusiasts, my only disappointment was that tripods are not allowed without a city permit that can take weeks if not months to obtain.

While heading to Jaipur, I learned how India is doing its part in reducing its carbon footprint (some of it of course unintended): CNG (compressed natural gas) buses running through the city, with red buses including A/C and green buses excluding A/C; many people riding bicycles to work; and many others using animals such as live stock, camels, mules and horses for heavy transportation. Once in Jaipur, I visited the biggest and most conserved Jantar Mantar, the City Palace from where the Maharajas governed, and an active local market where I got a glimpse of the size, density and poor condition of a large proportion of India’s population.

What I saw while visiting the so called Golden Triangle has been the most culturally enriching experience of my life. Indian civilization dates to thousands of years and today India is the 2nd most populous country. India has a rich history of applying math and science to solve problems of the past, and today many local institutions are actively promoting degrees in science and technology fields which should be applied toward solving problems of these days, such as the extreme poverty conditions under which billions of people in India live in today.


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