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Independent Study Projects!

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As you all know and may be excited about, we will be diving into Independent Study Projects, or ISP’s, during our time in Varanasi. This ends up being some students’ favorite part of a Dragons course. You have the chance to pursue a current passion of yours, but within the lens of Indian culture, or you are able to dip into a topic or skill area that is completely new to you.

While you do not need to make a final decision about what your ISP topic will be yet, we would like you to begin considering some options. The list below gives some options for you to think about, but we are open to other ideas you have too. We ask that you chose three topics that excite you. Once we are all together in India, you will talk through your list with your instructors and we will find the right match for you.

In Varanasi we will pair you with a mentor in that field and you will spend some time each week meeting with this person to learn and create. You will have the opportunity to have a capstone project and share what you are working on with our group and our home-stay families and broader community.

Have fun day-dreaming about all of these potential options!


Mapping sacred space of a temple in Banaras

Investigating the rituals of one ghat or temple

Hindu and Buddhist creation stories

Hindu/Buddhist/Muslim death rituals

Comparing Hindu & Buddhist ideas of moksha (or karma or dharma)


Yoga and philosophy

Buddha’s life story: different perspectives Buddhist art

Religious traditions common to both Hindus and Muslims (ie., popular worship sites in Banaras)

Comparing marriage ceremonies (btw different castes, religions)

Miniature Painting

Women’s roles/gender issues

Dance- kathak, modern dance, Bollywood dance

English teaching at a local school

Stone carving

Traditional textiles: Block printing, batik, tie & dye

Muslim weavers in Banaras

Music: sitar, tabla, sarengi, vocal, sirodh, bansuri, etc.

Martial arts (Indian stick fighting)

Indian Cooking



Local politics: BJP, Congress, Communist, and Samajvadi parties

Bollywood film