Indian Art & Music Home Page

Course Description
Registration, etc.
Travel Safety
About the Instructors
Tentative Day-by-Day Schedule Page NEW!—Syllabus Page
Mark is in India till December—Contact Lynn for more info
Go to Mark’s home page
Click Photos to Enlarge:
Tyagaraja Festival
Taj Mahal


Indian Art and Music is an “up close and personal” interdisciplinary study of the art, architecture, and music of India in their historical, religious, classical, folk, and popular contexts.

 We still have a few spaces available! Click here for registration info!

Madras Christian College—Chennai
Folk dances at Martin Hall, new saris at the guest house, EC students “posing” at traditional-style dinner





Tentative Itinerary
Overall Cost   $5,845 
  • 12/29—Minneapolis & Chicago departure
  • 12/30—Chennai arrival, settle into International Guest House at Madras Christian College
  • 12/31-1/04—At Madras Christian College with visits to concerts and sites in Chennai
  • 1/04-1/07—Visit Thanjavur’s historic sites and the Tyagaraja Festival in nearby Tiruvaiyaru
  • 1/07-1/10—At Madras Christian College with visits to concerts and sites in Chennai
  • 1/10-1/13—Visit Mahabalipuram’s temples, dance festival, and nearby Dakshina Chitra
  • 1/13-1/16—At Madras Christian College with visits to a rural village and to concerts and sites in Chennai
  • 1/16—Flight from Chennai to Aurangabad
  • 1/16-1/18—Visit cave temples and paintings at Ajanta & Ellora
  • 1/18—Flight from Aurangabad to Delhi
  • 1/19-1/23—In Delhi with visits to museums and historic sites
  • 1/20—Day trip to Agra’s Taj Mahal & Red Fort
  • 1/23—Delhi departure, Chicago & Minneapolis arrival
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Tyagaraja Festival—Tiruvaiyaru (near Thanjavur)
Early morning procession, festival grounds at night, hundreds of musicians sing St. Tyagaraja’s Five Jewels





Course Description
  • Indian Art and Music is an interdisciplinary study of India’s art, architecture, and music in their religious, classical, folk, and popular contexts. Madras Christian College, our host in Chennai, provides lectures and “hands-on” sessions with renowned Indian scholars, artists, and musicians. Topics include Indian music, art, architecture, dance, religion, history, and society, and students will make music, participate in traditional art forms, practice yoga, attend a Bollywood blockbuster, and enjoy India’s vegetarian-friendly cuisine. We will go to concerts and festivals featuring India’s finest musicians, joining 1,000 musicians at Tiruvaiyaru’s famous Tyagaraja festival. Other trips take students to Thanjavur’s historic temple complex, museums filled with iconic Chola bronze statues, Mahabalipuram’s Dance Festival, a beach resort, an artists’ colony, a rural village, and historic churches, temples, and mosques, ancient and modern. Experiential-learning opportunities include helping plan a new recording studio at MCC and creating video documentation and a website for a foundation that teaches music to poor children in Tiruvaiyaru. In Aurangabad we will see Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist art at the spectacular Ajanta and Ellora cave temples. In Delhi we will study north Indian art and music and the history of India from their ancient roots to the contemporary moment. We will visit the National Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, India’s oldest mosque, India Gate, a classical concert, and the Gandhi Smriti Museum (the site of Gandhi’s assassination), with a trip to the Taj Mahal as a special highlight. These activities offer rich, profound experiences of India’s art and music and the contexts in which they grew and still flourish. This is a true third-world immersion experience that seeks to provide an authentic Indian experience. Student accommodations will be safe but often simple, and we cannot always guarantee access to silverware, hot showers, western style toilets, or toilet paper.
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Mamallapuram Dance Festival—Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram)
Beach resort at dawn, Shore Temple (World Heritage Site), dancers in front of Arjuna’s Penance





Registration & Other Practical Matters
  • There are still a few seats left! Applications will be accepted until the course is full or until the UMAIE registration period ends on October 2nd, 2009, whichever comes first. If you are serious about going to India in 2010, don’t wait, apply now! Once the course is full, we can put you on the waiting list, but not many students back out once they’ve decided to go. You don’t want to be left behind! To register, take your application with accompanying materials and a check for $400.00 to the International Studies Office on any UMAIE campus (in Circle Hall for Elmhurst students).
  • What to do after your registration is accepted? Going to India is not like going to Europe. Here are a few things to take care of:
    • Apply for a passport ASAP if you don’t already have one or if your passport will expire in the next 12 months.
    • Apply for an Indian tourist visa. The UMAIE office will take care of this for you after your course application is accepted.
    • Take care of immunizations, antimalarial prescriptions, and so on. Visit the CDC India website for the latest recommendations and visit a local travel clinic!
    • For Elmhurst students—apply now for scholarships and financial aid for 2009-2010 and tell them you’re going to India. An endowed scholarship fund has been created for Elmhurst students who take international study courses during J-Term. The Financial Aid Office awards these scholarships based on financial need, but only if they know you are going!
  • The cost for 2010 is $5,845.00. This comprehensive fee covers just about everything: all travel, meals, and lodging for 26 days. The big stuff is covered; just bring money for souvenirs and other incidental expenses.
  • For more information on UMAIE course policies and deadlines as well as information about international travel, click here to visit the UMAIE website, or click here to visit Seminars International, the folks who handle UMAIE travel arrangements.
  • For more information on required readings, assignments, and other course requirements, click here to download the fact sheet.
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The Taj Mahal—Agra
Eastern facade, from the south (with Lynn Hill), Shah Jahan’s view from Agra Fort





Travel Safety

Rest assured we will do everything possible to insure your safety in India. The following may help you make an informed decision:

  • We’re not spending time in Mumbai, we won’t be staying in five-star hotels like the Taj Palace, and we’re not taking a luxury vacation on the beaches of Goa—we want to meet real Indian musicians, artisans, and teachers where they live and work.
  • Europe has been a frequent terrorist target in recent years, but that hasn’t stopped tourists from visiting London, Paris, Madrid, etc.
  • Shortly after the attacks last fall, the U.S. State Department urged American visitors to India to use caution, but they did not discourage anyone from going. Elmhurst students in the 2009 India J-Term—India: An Examination of Globalization—spent 23 days in India without incident. They even went to Mumbai and visited the Taj Hotel!
  • Indians are among the friendliest people on earth!

Even under the best of circumstances, travel in India can be difficult. India’s ADA-style regulations are not as comprehensive as ours, and in many locations you will need to climb stairs, often with your luggage—a good reason to travel light! Some sites require strenuous hikes over difficult and/or hilly terrain (without toilet facilities).

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About the Instructors
Lynn Hill
Mark Harbold
Outside Brihadishwara (Great Temple) in Thanjavur
With Sudha Ragunathan after a concert in Chennai
lynnelephantbig.jpg MarkSudhabig.jpg

Associate Professor of Art
Elmhurst College
Professor of Music
Elmhurst College

Lynn Hill holds the M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Art & Technology) and is Associate Professor of Art at Elmhurst College where she has oversight of the multimedia concentration of the art major.

She has traveled to India several times, and each trip has served to educate her about different aspects of a complex society. Her interest in social justice issues has led her to produce documentary photo-essays, one relating to survivors of the Union Carbide Bhopal gas disaster (see, and another concerning domestic violence in India.

She is in awe of the potential for all of us to “learn things you didn’t know you didn’t know” through international study.

Mark Harbold holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from SUNY/Buffalo (Composition). As Professor of Music at Elmhurst College, he supervises the music history program and helps coordinate the B.Mus. in Theory/Composition and the B.A. in Music.

He has traveled to India annually since 2005, most recently in July with an NEH Summer Institute, Bharata Darshan: Past & Present in the Study of Indian History & Culture. Madras Christian College has become a second home, and he can’t wait to begin a semester-long stint there as Visiting Professor in fall 2009.

He is fascinated by the close bond that emerges in contacts with south Indian musicians. “Our cultures and musical styles differ, but our common experiences and music’s universal expressive power create an immediate kinship.”

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Republic Day—Delhi
Shah Jahan’s Jama Masjid (Friday mosque), street scene in Old Delhi, shrine to Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya




 Page created 10 December 2008 by Mark Harbold—last updated 2 September 2009.