BIO 675: Health Care in India: Traditional and Non-Traditional Healing
Our second full day in India started with some tasty breakfast at the rooftop restaurant of our hotel followed by some lovely masala chai (tea) from a street vendor. This traditional Indian beverage is prepared from scratch by brewing black tea with a mixture of herbs and Indian aromatic spices. It is quite interesting to see the preparation, even though one would assume it is a simple and boring process. As the water boils, the spices are added into the pot in a specific order to achieve the optimal flavor. A very pleasant scent filled the air as we watched closely, mesmerized by the vendor skillfully stirring, mixing and pouring the aromatic drink. I fell in love at the first sip! Sweet and creamy, milky, zesty, woody, with notes of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves… so flavorful and warm! It was nothing like the western versions one can get back home. That little paper cup of deliciously spiced tea was the perfect way to start our day!
Our plan for the day included a visit to the National Gandhi Museum, so we split into couples and hopped on a few rickshaws. This would be our first ride on the small motorized carts so we were all beyond excited. The trip did not disappoint! I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body, the result of a mixture of exhilaration with, quite honestly, a hint of fear. Driving in a taxi from the airport was thrilling, but it definitely falls short of being in the back of this tiny vehicle with no doors, windows or seatbelts!
It felt like a cross between a roller coaster, bumper cars, a motorcycle and a golf cart, except they go much more faster! However, once one gets used to the very particular driving etiquette, the very small distances left between vehicles, and the constant cutting off and honking, it is actually quite an amusing experience!
After a fun rickshaw ride, we arrived safely at the National Gandhi Museum which hosts an extensive collection of photos, personal effects, documents, art pieces and various other effects related to Mahatma Gandhi. We were free to explore the exterior gardens and interesting exhibitions and convened afterwards to decide on our next destination.
We decided to make a stop to grab a bite and ended up having lunch at (believe it or not) an Indian McDonald’s! The menu consisted of vegetarian items and some chicken options. It was interesting to experience such a different take on the famous fast food chain.
With our hunger satisfied, we headed to Humayun’s tomb, the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, built in 1570 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The place houses the remains of Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor of India. The tomb is located at the center of a garden created to resemble the paradise garden described in the Quran. The building is strongly influenced by Persian architecture and constructed from red sandstone, while the tomb itself is made of yellow and black marble. Several other monuments, ample gardens and gorgeous tombs can be found within the grounds, covering and area of approximately 30 acres! This was definitely the highlight of our day as it is truly a stunning place to explore!
The last item on our itinerary was an amazing street food tour. For about four and a half hours we walked through the streets of Delhi, exploring markets, alleyways, and tasting all types of scrumptious Indian snacks, dishes and desserts. We also had the opportunity to go inside the Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, a Sikh temple constructed in 1783.
The Gurdwara is run strictly by volunteers and not only serves as a place of worship but it also provides free meals and shelter to anyone in need. The complex includes a huge communal kitchen, a massive dining hall, housing, bathrooms and other common areas. We were able to tour the premises and appreciate the noble labor and invaluable help they provide to those in need. Back at the hotel, I was beyond exhausted, yet so glad that our second day in India was such a massive success!
About the India Study Tour
THE TRAVEL DATES
Dec. 31- Jan. 16, 2020
Biology Prof. Margaret Wentzell
In this course, students will be examining the health care in India, focusing on influential factors such as class, gender, environment, and caste, among others, while also studying the hospice care and ceremonies performed at the end of a life. Through these experiences, students will gain a more holistic approach to the unique challenges in India. Also, by examining different groups, students will have a greater understanding about the way the people have responded to such issues.