#DetourIndia: a journey to discover the country

A group of eight students from FLAME University, as part of the Discover India program, undertook a journey to travel, explore and learn about various parts of India this month. The idea was to gain first-hand experience of the culture, art, people, and food from different regions of the country. NUnder the program, students had the opportunity to gain experimental learning and a strong research ethic. The Discover India Program helped them discover something new and interesting about a place and its people, which has not been explored or written much about it. It was a way to expose them to the enormous amount of learning that takes place off campus, teach them academic values, group work, leadership, cooperation, use limited resources wisely, etc. says Professor Kunal ray, president of the Discover India Program, FLAME University.

An Ode to Truck Artists

The bright cartoons and catchy phrases written on trucks have caught everyone's attention, most of us remain ignorant about their origin.

Sophomore Kushal Shah, whose project was based on truck art and the lives of truck drivers in Indore, says: There has been a lot of research on truck art in countries like Nigeria, Japan, the United States, and Pakistan , but in India, there is no detailed research on the art form, so we thought about taking it up again. And he adds: A trucker's life is very difficult, and he spends most of his time on the road, so most truckers ask artists to paint things on the truck that remind them of their home. For example, your town or photos of your family. The truck is not just a vehicle, but their homes move with them. Kushal says Brands use truck art to make their products/merchandise attractive, but they don't give artists enough credit. From notebooks to bags, coasters, and even Bollywood posters are inspired by truck art, but the creator of the art isn't credited, Kunal laments.

Ajmer calligraphy

The group of Palak Jain sophomores visited Ajmer to study Sufism. At a time when religious conflict is becoming a pressing problem in the country, Ajmer in Rajasthan, a city inhabited by Hindus, is famous for its Sufi Dargah. Speaking of Urs, a 6-day event that was held in Ajmer Sharif in March, Palak says: “Urs is observed to mark the anniversary of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti's death. In addition to devotees who visit the dargah during this time, calligraphers from all over India also visit the dargah annually to participate in the calligraphy competition that occurs at the Mehfil Khana. The idea is to promote this art form. Khwaja's descendant, Salman Chishti, who is now the president of the dargah, led the group to his library, which houses the winning pieces of the calligraphy work.

In addition to being known for Ajmer Shariff, Rajasthan is a shopper's paradise: From jhumkas, tp dupattas and beautiful mojris, we buy them at an affordable price, Palak says.

Ramanagra's unique cocoon auction

For student Sathvik Bharadwaj, going to Ramanagra, known as the city of silk, was like finding answers to questions he had about the city. Located on the Bengaluru-Mysore highway, Ramanagra, despite being one of the largest exporters of silk, an expensive fabric, in Asia, remains a humble city with people who lead a simple lifestyle. However, the daily cocoon auction makes the city unique. The auction happens every day except Independence Day and Republic Day. It starts at 10 am, where the cocoons are brought in, and government officials first perform quality control. The reelers then collect the cocoons in their hands to examine and decide the price at which they will be sold to dealers. There are 1,088 silk reels in the city, despite that, the city is a lazy and sleepy city, ”says Sathvik. Also, sericulture, the fact that the Sholay movie was shot here, makes the city interesting. However, it is not a complete tourist destination. People don't come here much, says Sathvik, adding: Despite being a major silk exporter, there are no sari or clothing stores in Ramanagar because weaving does not occur here because tourism and the market are low. Therefore, Bengaluru and Mysore are the places where weaving and trade take place, ”explains Sathvik.

Chandni Chowk is history on the plate

Student Siddharth Khare and his group went to the Chandni Chowk in Delhi to study the ancient food community there. Siddharth explains: It is quality and authenticity that brings people here again and again. And our question was how can a place that is 100 years old keep the same quality and taste? A 1950s restaurant owner informed us that the recipe has not changed from the time the place started, in fact the pots are still the same. The cooking technique has not changed either.

The oldest Ghante Wala restaurant in Chandni Chowk is 300 years old, while the newest restaurant in the area is about 80 years old. Some of the famous stores in the areas are Chena Ram, Kake Di Hatti, Gyani’s, Pandey Ki Lassi. “Although the history of the place is rich, the food is quite cheap. A large portion of the daal that's enough for four people cost us just Rs 300. So Chandni Chowk is beyond food, it's like the story on the plate, says Siddharth.