This article was written with the assistance of Haas intern, Micah Sanders.
All good things must come to an end. The travel aspect of the UGBA193i travel study course officially wrapped up on January 12, 2014, and students celebrated with an Indian cultural immersion.
Professor Solomon Darwin, with the support of Dr. Umapathy, CEO of Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, took the students to the city of Mysore in southern India, where the world-renowned Palace of Mysore, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, is located. The group immensely appreciated Dr. Umapathy, as the CEO took on the sole role of organizing the shuttle service out of state from Bangalore to Mysore.
The palace is the second most popular tourist destination in India after the Taj Mahal in Agra. Students was awe-inspired by the grandiose interior decor of as they walked through the palace’s hallways. One would already be impressed by the palace without even entering it. The palace has marble domes and is five stories standing at 145 ft. Its surrounding gardens and green lawns are a picturesque scene made even more beautiful by a radiantly sunny, blue sky.
With the involvement of Dr. Umapathy, Haas students were able to gain access to restricted areas of the palace, giving the group a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive Indian experience.
The palace has belonged to the royal family of Mysore since it was built in 1912. However, the last prince died in December of last year, so it is no longer home to royalty. While learning about the history of the palace from the tour guide, the group became very aware of the palace’s popularity, as there were thousands others striding through the palace’s grand halls.
In addition to the visit at Mysore Palace, the Haas group also took advantage of the opportunity to get on elephants and camels just beside the palace. Seeing the animals in the midst of the property reminded the students of India’s diversity – with desert regions, tropical regions, coasts of beaches, huge cities, and minuscule villages – that India is truly a country that offers a lot of variety.
The day ended with the girls dressing in sarees and the boys in kurtas. The students performed a dance they had choreographed beforehand at the palace’s surrounding gardens. Professor Darwin happily took part in the festivity, wearing an orange outfit, clip-on earrings, and a wig. The group ended their number with a loud “Go Bears!”
While the students are sad that the travel portion of the course has drawn to a close, they undoubtedly agree that the trip has resulted in many wonderful memories and was an experience of a lifetime. Having seen and been to India first hand, students are confident and excited to put their lessons learned into action when they consult for clients with emerging market challenges this upcoming semester.