Indian Art & Music Home Page

Course Description
Registration, etc.
Travel Safety & Comfort
About the Instructors
Tentative Day-by-Day Schedule Page Syllabus Page
Contact Lynn for more info Contact Mark 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.

 Space is still available – Apply NOW to guarantee a seat! Click here for more 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   TBD ($6,450-$6,750) 
  • 12/28—Minneapolis & Chicago departure
  • 12/29—Chennai arrival, settle into International Guest House at Madras Christian College
  • 12/30-1/02—At Madras Christian College with visits to concerts and sites in Chennai
  • 1/03-1/04—Visit Thanjavur’s historic sites and important Tyagaraja sites in nearby Tiruvaiyaru
  • 1/05-1/06—Visit Madurai’s spectacular Meenakshi Temple complex and the Gandhi Museum
  • 1/07-1/08—At Madras Christian College with visits to concerts and sites in Chennai
  • 1/09-1/11—Visit Mahabalipuram’s temples, dance festival, and nearby Dakshina Chitra & Cholamandal
  • 1/11-1/13—At Madras Christian College with visits to a rural village and to concerts and sites in Chennai
  • 1/14—Flight from Chennai to Aurangabad
  • 1/15-1/16—Visit cave temples and paintings at Ajanta & Ellora
  • 1/16—Flight from Aurangabad to Delhi
  • 1/17-1/21—In Delhi with visits to museums and historic sites
  • 1/18—Day trip to Agra’s Taj Mahal & Red Fort
  • 1/21—Early a.m. 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, practice traditional art forms, learn yoga, attend a “Bollywood” movie, and enjoy India’s vegetarian-friendly cuisine. We will go to festivals featuring India’s finest musicians, witnessing concerts at Chennai’s famed “December Season” festival, one of the largest in the world. Other trips take students to spectacular temple complexes in Thanjavur and Madurai, museums filled with iconic Chola bronze statues, a traditional bronze workshop, important sites associated with Tyagaraja (patron saint of south Indian music), Mahabalipuram’s Dance Festival, a beach resort, artists’ colony, rural village, and historic churches, temples, and mosques, ancient and modern. Service-learning opportunities include visits to a rural village near MCC and to a foundation that teaches music to poor children in Tiruvaiyaru. In Aurangabad we will see Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist art at the magnificent 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, Mughalai restaurants, 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. We cannot always guarantee access to 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
  • Apply now! The registration period ends soon, on Oct. 3rd, but there are still a few seats available. If you are serious about going to India in 2013, don’t wait, apply now. You don’t want to be left behind! Registration requires an online application and a $500.00 deposit to hold your place in the course. Check with the International Studies Office on any UMAIE campus for further help (Elmhurst students go to Circle Hall).
  • 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 ... but you need your passport first!
    • Take care of immunizations, antimalarial prescriptions, and so on. To reach full strength, one of the hepatitis vaccines requires three shots over six months! Visit the CDC India website for the latest recommendations and visit a local travel clinic!
    • For Elmhurst students—Deadlines for Niebuhr Center and International Studies scholarships have now passed, but check with the Financial Aid Office and tell them you’re going to India. At the very least, you may be eligible for additional loans.
  • The cost for 2013 will be between $6,500.00 and $6,700.00. 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 information on required readings, assignments, and other course requirements, click here to visit the Syllabus page.
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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 & Comfort

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

  • India has occasionally been the victim of terrorist attacks, but these are relatively rare, and we will avoid the kinds of places that have been targets in the past. For instance, we’re not spending time in Mumbai or staying in five-star hotels—we want to meet real Indian musicians, artisans, and teachers where they live and work. It is easy to imagine things are much dangerous than they really are when traveling to a place so unfamiliar and so far away, but remember that India, like the U.S., is a big place. If a maniac in Los Angeles opens fire at a fast-food restaurant, does your mother call you in St. Paul to ask if you are okay?
  • Europe has been a frequent terrorist target in recent years, but that hasn’t stopped tourists from visiting London, Paris, Madrid, Cologne, etc.
  • Indians are among the friendliest people on earth!

Bring clothes for different climates! Our time in South India will be delightful—mid- to upper 80s F. (30 C.) and sunny every day! (No matter how hot, please dress modestly if you want to be treated respectfully by Indians!) Delhi will be a different matter. Temperatures can range up to the low 60s F. (16 C.) in January, but if they have a cold spell the high temperature might be only 50 F. (10 C.) and we could see rain and fog. Hotels, buses, etc., will often not be heated, so dress accordingly.

Even under the best of circumstances, travel in India can be strenuous. 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 vigorous hikes over difficult and/or hilly terrain (often without toilet facilities).

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About the Instructors
Lynn Hill
Mark Harbold
Outside Brihadishwara (Great Temple) in Thanjavur
With Smt. 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 many 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 concerning domestic violence in India, and another relating to survivors of the Union Carbide Bhopal gas disaster (see www.visualarttoday.com).

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 earned a Ph.D. in Composition from University of Buffalo. As Professor of Music at Elmhurst College, he is a coordinator for the music history and theory/composition programs.

He has traveled to India annually since 2005, leading two previous UMAIE courses there. He was also a participant in a 2008 NEH Summer Institute, “Bharata Darshan: Past & Present in the Study of Indian History & Culture”; a fall 2009 Visiting Professor at Madras Christian College (his second home!); and a “groupie” on the 2010 Tablaphilia Tour in Karnataka.

He is fascinated by the close bond that emerges in contacts with 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 2 April 2012 by Mark Harbold—last updated 16 October 2012.