Fall 2018


A Virtual Tour of India (55+)

The borders of modern India are merely the latest in 4,000 years of redefinition that have produced one of the most heterogeneous societies in the world. This is the land where the Buddha preached, the Mughal Muslims erected the Taj Mahal and the British Raj left its legacy. India is home to the largest number of UN World Heritage Sites of all countries in South Asia.

We will explore India from a historic and cultural point of view, discovering the subcontinent’s art, architecture, geography and magnificent cultural heritage—including the religions of the various civilizations that have occupied the land. Each week we will view images that evoke the natural and cultural diversity of the country. You will gain a deeper understanding of India’s subtleties, especially valuable if you’re a potential traveller there.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Week 1: Introduction

We start with a general overview of India, including its population, geography, climate, history and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We also have some practical travel tips, should you wish to go to India yourself; when to go, how to get there, regional and domestic transportation, accommodation and culinary aspects.

Week 2: The North    

We start in Delhi, the capital and continue to Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Week 3: The Indian Himalayas

We explore Himachal Pradesh, Dharamsala, Lahaul-Spiti, Ladakh, Kashmir, Darjeeling, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh in the Indian Himalayas.

Week 4: The East and the Northeast

We travel in the footsteps of Buddha in Bihar, visit Kolkata and admire exceptional temples in Odisha. We then head to the remarkable Northeast of India, visiting the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

Week 5: Western & Central India

We explore the states of Punjab, home to the Golden Temple, the desert cities and hill forts of Rajasthan, and the outstanding cultural heritage of Gujarat. We continue exploring prehistoric sites and the oldest Buddhist stupa in Madhya Pradesh. We conclude in Mumbai with the amazing cave temples of Elephanta, Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra.

Week 6: The South

We explore Goa, the former Portuguese colony featuring Christian churches that could almost have been transplanted from Europe. We then discover the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, plus the Andaman Islands.

(Division of topics into weeks is approximate.)

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material will be available online through Canvas. Information will be provided to students by email on the first day of class.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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