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ISW Cultural School Kids: Hands-on Killa (Fort) Making Activity for Diwali

24 Oct 2022 12:52 PM | Anonymous

ISW Cultural School Kids: Hands-on Killa (Fort) Making Activity for Diwali
By Aditya Ambade

Diwali is a well-known Indian festival across the globe and is celebrated whole-heartedly by Indians no matter where they live. This year, the ISW cultural school introduced a tradition from Maharashtra to kids as a part of cultural assembly.

During Diwali, kids in Maharashtra prepare Killa (fort/castle) in remembrance to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the king who started the Maratha empire in 16th century. Shivaji Maharaj carved out his own independent kingdom from the declining Adilshah regime of Bijapur which formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. Shivaji's military forces expanded the Maratha empire by capturing and building forts and forming a Maratha navy. Shivaji Maharaj established a competent and progressive civil rule with well-structured administrative organizations.

Shivaji Maharaj was well known for his forts. Many, like Panhala fort and Rajgad fort existed before him but others, like Sindhudurg and Pratapgad, were built by him from scratch. These forts were built at a strategical location for keeping an eye on the territory while maintaining minimum military presence in that geographic region.

For this cultural hands-on activity, kids were asked to bring disposable plastic, metal materials from home while ISW provided rocks, soil, water and adult supervision. The kids discussed the fort building plan amongst themselves with input from adult group leader. Then, kids started stacking the rocks, bricks and other disposable materials to bring their fort design to reality. They had made few changes as the fort construction continued to ensure that the 3-dimensional structure was stable as a stand-alone entity. Then came the fun part, kids mixed the soil with water and applied layers of mud on the pre-stacked rocks to give the rocks a formal appearance of the fort. This hands-on activity taught teamwork, planning towards project execution and knowledge of regional rich culture and heritage related to Diwali.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed this activity and it’s end was made even sweeter by generous snacks/ donuts from parent volunteers!

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