India 2017 // Kathputli Colony, New Delhi

New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh

In February of 2017, Professors Bonier and Gianni guided a Directed Studies Abroad (DSA) trip to India, leading 23 students on a trip that included architectural tourism and urban engagement.

Professor Ben Gianni,¬†coordinator of the Azrieli School’s undergraduate urbanism major, designed a very ambitious DSA tour, which brought students in touch with both the rich history and contemporary growth of northern India. Students visited Imperial Delhi (New Delhi) as well as the old city of Delhi, with its markets and Mughal Era monuments and mosques. Students visited the Jama Masjid, Lal Qila (Red Fort), Humayun’s Tomb, and the Khan Market. A day trip to Agra in Uttar Pradesh included visits to Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal. Professor Smitha Mysore of the SJB School of Architecture and Planning in Bangalore brought her undergraduate students to meet and guide the Canadian students in India’s vibrant capital city.

In New Delhi, students met with community leader Puran Bhat at his home in the Kathputli Colony, a settlement comprised of puppeteers and magicians from Rajasthan, which is slated for redevelopment in a form that many of the residents vehemently oppose. Graduate student Gillian Walczak, along with Professors Bonier, Mysore, and Gianni also met with Mr. Navin Raheja of Raheja Developers Limited to discuss the difficulties of this redevelopment plan. Mr. Bhat, who is a respected elder and teacher of young puppeteers, had previously visited the Azrieli School for a symposium on unsanctioned settlements and a screening of the film My Gypsy Colony by French film-maker Martine Palmer. (

In Ahmedebad, students visited the stepwell and temples of the old city of Lal Darwaja. They also took a tour of modern architectural icons, including the Indian Institute of Management by Louis I. Kahn, the Textile Mills Association Building by Le Corbusier, and the famous offices of architect B.V. Doshi. In Chandigarh, students walked the city to understand the ambitious post-independence urban plan, created by Albert Mayer and Maciej Nowicki and completed by Le Corbusier. They also wound their way through Nek Chand Rock Garden, and sat to enjoy traditional music at sunset in the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden. On their final day in India, students hiked the foothills of the Himalayas in Kasauli in the morning, and had dinner in a luxury mall in New Delhi in the evening before catching an overnight flight back to Canada.

Students Experience (click here)

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