Education that is Multicultural - Visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra

Blog # 7

January 7, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Puiyee Cheung who is a graduate student at the City College of New York pursuing her Masters degree in the Bilingual Education and TESOL Program.

We went to the Taj Mahal today! It was interesting to see it in cloudy weather- the haze added an air of mystery and timelessness. The Taj, was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal between 1632 – 1648 AD. Along with the incredible design and symmetry, I was most fascinated by the materials they used; Makrana marble – which is translucent and nonporous – so that it looks differently depending upon the light, especially in the moonlight! There is incredible inlay work, which includes 4.3 million pieces of semi-precious stones such as: Turquoise, Lapis lazuli, and Malachite. It took over 22 years and 20,000 workers to complete; legend has it that the Shah cut the hands off the workers so that they wouldn’t be able to build another Taj.

In its presence, I found myself thinking about romantic gestures, and how different they can be: gifts, quality time, affirming words, acts of service, and physical touch. And depending upon the person some gestures are more appreciated and deeply felt, a notion that was popularized by Gary Chapman in his book The 5 languages of love.

In the spirit of this course – and how important relationships are in the classrooms we’ve visited, can we as educators be more effective in building relationships with our students? And consider that perhaps children like adults need and experience love differently as well? In The 5 Love Languages of Children, G. Chapman and R. Campbell, explains how different children can be, and that our language may be totally different from theirs. Thus by discovering their primary language, we can more effectively convey feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will hopefully resonate with their emotions, behavior, and ability to learn in the classroom.


Photo by: Jasmine Khoury

12 responses
I was amazed to find out the art work on the Taj Mahal was made out of stones. I originally thought the art work was painted on instead. Being at the Taj Mahal, made me feel a sense of romance. I admire the emperor for building the Taj Mahal for his late wife. No romantic gesture can compare. Hearing about the queen's tomb being directly in the center of the dome gave me chills. I wish to see the Taj Mahal when it illuminates at night from the moon's light!
Visiting the Taj Mahal was an overwhelming experience. Not only because it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but also just hearing about how Shah Jahan built this beautiful marble structure for his wife because he loved her so much was heart melting. I agree that students need to see signs of love in a classroom setting. It would create a bond between student and teacher, as well as comfort within classroom settings.
The Taj Mahal's beauty is only overshadowed by the story behind its construction. The amount of planning, time, man power, money, effort, heartbreak and true love that is behind the magnificent structure we see today is amazing. Visiting the Taj Mahal in person, I kept imagining how it would have felt to walk through the building a few years after its completion or what the British must have felt when they discovered the beautiful structure. When I walked inside, I couldn't help but touch the walls and admire the detailed marble craftsmanship that is still being done today in Agra. As I reflected on the ride back to Delhi, I couldn't help but notice and appreciate history/the past and what it left us. Despite humanity's major advancements some things, such as true love (and exquisite craftsmanship and architecture) are timeless.
The Taj was a once in lifetime experience. I feel so fortunate to have been in the presence of an architectural marvel that with a beautiful story of love. Although the Taj is hard to beat, I also thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful countryside and culture. I'll never forget stopping for a cup of tea on the side of the road. Holding the hot cup, I paused to soak in that moment---thousands of miles from home and yet surrounded by laughter and enveloped by the foggy Indian sky.
When I first looked at the Taj Mahal, my childhood flashed back in front of my eyes. I remember watching tv and always seeing this amazing building, but to be in front of it is even more amazing. I paused and took a deep look at my surroundings and felt something so special within me. Walking around the tombs of Shah Jahan and his wife's gave me chills and a sensation that i will carry with me forever. It was truly an amazing experience worth coming to India.
It was an amazing experience! Then to find out the story behind it, made me appriciate the monument even more. The weather gave it a smoky look that made it look like it was floating at one point, absolute beauty! I agree with your point in this blog about how important relationships are in the classrooms,and the question you brought up, "Can we as educators be more effective in building relationships with our students?" Looking back at the story on the Taj, his love, dedication and sacrifice was truly amazing. As effective teachers, we too give our children love (affection, compliments, gifts, gestures) and we dedicate oursleves to them, we commit to come into work for 8 hours a day sometimes more. We dedicate to be the most possible teachers in the world. We sacrifice oursleves for them, making sure we give them everything we can offer. There is a quote I read once, "A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others."
What an experience to see one of the seven wonders of the world,the Taj Mahal. Being able to not only see but tough the cold,solid, smoothe Makana Marble of the Taj walls was a very interesting experience as well. Knowing the romantic story behind the Taj Mahal just made it even better!
First impression of the Taj Mahal in one word= Magical! I think that word says it all. When I laid my eyes on this beautiful old fashion building, I was speechless to see it. And not only that, but be able to touch it and feels the vibes of the story behind it. So far one of my greatest places I have been able to experience, not just in India but throughout my whole life experiences.
I strongly believe in love and affectionate inside the classroom setting with students and teachers. The feeling of love becomes more pronounced with the feeling of affection and with this, students can not only grow with these emotions but learn to love and appreciate the person teaching them.
Visiting the Taj Mahal was surreal. The intricate details and architecture of the monument was strikingly beautiful. I am so glad I got to experience this once in a lifetime visit and learning the history surrounding the construction of the Taj.
A cloudy day in Agra could not cloud my excitement while visiting the Taj Mahal. This 42-acre marble mausoleum complex is a stunning and well-known Indian landmark. Shah Jahan, the fifth Mogul Emperor, built it as a memorial to his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth. Construction, which started shortly after Mahal’s passing in 1631, spanned more than two decades. The time spent building the Taj was well worth it. Anything made from love will always remain as a reminder of love. This is the second wonder of the world that I have visited. I thought nothing could top Rome's Colosseum, but the Taj Mahal left me speechless. From its architectural standpoint to what it represents to the Indian population and to the world, it is completely breath taking!
It was amazing to see and feel all the details in the Taj Mahal. The love story that holds the Taj gives this tomb a more valuable reason to appreciate all the effort that was made to create it. It was also very helpful to have a guide and visiting a workshop at the end of this trip. It gave me a better understanding of why it took more than 20 years to be completed.