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Sunday November 28
Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

Taj Mahal nights is not the name of a new Indian restaurant, but an essential addition to the itinerary on your trip to the sub-continent. The world-famous Taj Mahal reopened its majestic doors to the public for night-time viewing for the first time in twenty years yesterday (Saturday). The occasion didn’t quite live up to expectations as although initially it was bathed in moonlight, it later became enveloped in fog. This did not dampen the spirits of one of the 300 lucky visitors, photographer Raghu Rai, who told the AFP press agency “When moonlight falls on the white marble it’s like a glowing diamond, a jewel in space. You have to sit far away and gradually walk towards it. Full moon is mind-boggling.” Ring your travel agent now!

Don’t all rush at once however, because it will only be open on the five nights a month that surround the full moon. Security fears have limited the number of visitors to a maximum of 400 people. A ban on night viewing was imposed in 1984 when it was feared the monument might be attacked at night by Sikh militants who were battling the government for their own homeland in India’s northern state of Punjab. Fears for the Taj’s safety continued amid the tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and their nuclear weapons race, when it was camouflaged to avoid attack by air.

The 17th-century architectural masterpiece was built by the heartbroken Mughul emperor Shah Jahan as a monument of his love for his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now recognized as one of the seven modern wonders of the world as well as one of the most romantic and photographed sightseeing spots. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, meaning the Indian government is directly responsible for any changes to the site. It received a facelift two years ago in preparation for its 350th anniversary, celebrated in September.

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about India, the Taj Mahal, Indian restaurants, world-famous monuments, acts of love, the most beautiful place in the world …

2. TRUE LOVE: Having a monument like the Taj Mahal built for you is a great act of love, or madness. Students talk about their great acts of love (given and received) and whether they were romantic, mad or something else.

3. SIGHTSEEING QUIZ: Paste some world-famous sites on the board and ask students in groups / pairs to come up with the name in English (often very different in their own languages).

4. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:
- By moonlight. vs. By sunlight.
- The Taj Mahal is the most beautiful and romantic site in the world. vs No it’s not.
- Man-made wonders are better than natural wonders. vs No. It’s the other way around.
- The Taj Mahal security fears are too much vs. They are necessary.
- Limiting the number of visitors at night is unnecessary vs. No it’s not.
- Teacher-originated mini-debates?


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. ‘LOVE’: Students look in their dictionaries, encyclopaedia, the Internet to find as many collocations of ‘love’ as they can. Teacher collects the ‘most useful’, common ones on the board. Students list together which of the collocations are (a) interesting or (b) nothing special.

2. 'SUB': Students search their dictionaries to see what follows the prefix, ‘sub’.

3. SEVEN WONDERS: Only one of the ancient seven wonders of the world still exists (see ‘Links’ section below. The Taj Mahal is recognized as a ‘forgotten’ wonder of the world. Students talk in groups about what they know of other forgotten, modern wonders, and whether they are really wonders, and whether there are any missing wonders from the list(s). Monitor students’ language, correct and repeat the activity with newly introduced forms (‘never heard of it / this one’, ‘isn’t this the place / statue that …’, ‘this is definitely (not) a wonder because ..’ etc):

Abu Simbel Temple in Egypt
Angkor Wat in Cambodia
The Aztec Temple in Tenochtitlan (Mexico  City), Mexico
The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines
Borobudur Temple in Indonesia
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
The Great Wall of China
The Inca city of Machu Picchu, Peru
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
The Mayan Temples of Tikal in Northern Guatemala
The Moai Statues in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile
Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France
The Throne Hall of Persepolis in Iran
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece
Petra, the rock-carved city in Jordan
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar
Stonehenge in England
Taj Mahal in Agra, India
The Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque, Mexico

… or some very modern wonders:

The Channel Tunnel
The Clock Tower (Big Ben) in London, England
The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada
Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
The Empire State Building in New York City, USA
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, USA
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA
The High Dam in Aswan, Egypt
Hoover Dam in Arizona/Nevada, USA
Itaipú Dam in Brazil/Paraguay
Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, USA
The Panama Canal
The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Statue of Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Statue of Liberty in New York City, USA
The Suez Canal in Egypt
The Sydney Opera House in Australia

… or some natural wonders of the world, or wonders of the natural world:

Angel Falls in Venezuela
The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada
The Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Iguaçú Falls in Brazil/Argentina
Krakatoa Island in Indonesia
Mount Everest in Nepal
Mount Fuji in Japan
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Niagara Falls in Ontario (Canada) and New York State  (USA)
Paricutin Volcano in Mexico
Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe

4. DEFINITIONS: Students match the following words with the most likely definitions, keeping the article in mind. Half of the definitions are ridiculous and should allow students to get the real definition with confidence and ease:

1.

essential

(a) colourful oils Indian people put on their foreheads (n)
(b) very very very necessary (n)

2.

sub-continent

(a) a large underwater area of land on which people once lived (n)
(b) a name commonly used instead of ‘India’ (n)

3.

bathed

(a) to seem to be washed or covered in something (adj)
(b) the feeling from eating too many Indian cakes (adj)

4.

enveloped

(a) to send lots of mail at the same time (v)
(b) to be covered by something that is usually nice (adj)

5.

mind-boggling

(a) too amazing for our mind to fully understand (adj)
(b) clearing small bombs buried 10cms underground(v)

6.

limited

(a) to move your arms and legs quickly (v)
(b) a maximum has been out on a number of something (v)

7.

imposed

(a) to force or apply as compulsory (v)
(b) to stand straight for a photograph (v)

8.

militant

(a) one person in a thousand (n)
(b) someone who fights for their beliefs (n)

9.

amid

(a) in the middle of (prep)
(b) the nurse who delivers babies in India (n)

10.

masterpiece

(a) an amazing, outstanding work of art, music, arcitecture… (n)
(b) a wig worn by Indian men (n)

11.

designated

(a) chosen for a special purpose (v)
(b) so badly designed it has to be started again (v)

12.

facelift

(a) to make someone look up when they are sad (v)
(b) a restyling, cleaning or modernization (n)

 
5. TRUE/FALSE: Students predict whether they believe the following statements about the article headline are true or false:
(a)  Taj Mahal Nights is the name of a new Indian restaurant.  T / F
(b)  The Taj Mahal is on the Indian sub-continent.  T / F
(c)  The Taj Mahal reopened its doors for night-time viewing yesterday.  T / F
(d)  The Taj Mahal will be open every night from now on.  T / F
(e)  Taj Mahal night viewing was banned in 1954.  T / F
(f)  The Taja Mahal was attacked by the Pakistani air force.  T / F
(g)  The Taj Mahal was built 350 years ago. T / F
(h)  The Taj Mahal was built for a British king.  T / F
(i)  The Tak Mahal is a monument of love. T / F
(j)  The Taj Mahal is waiting to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  T / F

6. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

trip

famous

(b)

world

expectations

(c)

open doors to

of the world

(d)

live up to

at once

(e)

don’t rush

itinerary

(f)

a ban

the public

(g)

fears for someone’s/something’s

safety

(h)

seven wonders

facelift

(i)

directly

was imposed

(j)

receive a

responsible

(k)

dampen the

spirits

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Taj Mahal Nights

Taj Mahal nights is not the name of a new Indian restaurant, but an essential addition to the itinerary on your trip to the sub-continent. The world-famous Taj Mahal reopened its majestic doors to the public for night-time viewing for the first time in twenty years yesterday (Saturday). The occasion didn’t quite live up to expectations as although initially it was bathed in moonlight, it later became enveloped in fog. This did not dampen the spirits of one of the 300 lucky visitors, photographer Raghu Rai, who told the AFP press agency “When moonlight falls on the white marble it’s like a glowing diamond, a jewel in space. You have to sit far away and gradually walk towards it. Full moon is mind-boggling.” Ring your travel agent now!
 

 

reopened
dampen
addition
gradually
expectations

Don’t all rush at once however, because it will only be open on the five nights a month that surround the full moon. Security fears have limited the number of visitors to a maximum of 400 people. A ban on night viewing was imposed in 1984 when it was feared the monument may be attacked at night by Sikh militants who were battling the government for their own homeland in India’s northern state of Punjab. Fears for the Taj’s safety continued amid the tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and their nuclear weapons race, when it was camouflaged to avoid attack by air.
 

 

tensions
maximum
rush
battling
race

The 17th-century architectural masterpiece was built by the heartbroken Mughul emperor Shah Jahan as a monument of his love for his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now recognized as one of the seven modern wonders of the world as well as one of the most romantic and photographed sightseeing spots. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, meaning the Indian government is directly responsibility for any changes to the site. It received a facelift two years ago in preparation for its 350th anniversary, celebrated in September.

 

celebrated
heartbroken
responsible
recognized
architectural

 
2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. DEFINITIONS: Students check their answers to the definitions exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the word match exercise.

5. WOW: Students circle anything in the text they went ‘wow’ about.

6. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

7. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. WOW:  Students tell each other about the things they circled. Introduce the following language
I thought / think it’s amazing / unreal / incredible / awesome … that …
I can’t believe   …
Wow, the Taj Mahal …
It’s [totally] [utterly] [completely] [totally, utterly and completely] amazing that …
I’m [shocked] [amazed] [not surprised] that …
[Opportunity to focus on emotional reactions / opinions]

5. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the Taj Mahal / India. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class

6. TAJ VOCAB QUESTIONS?: In pairs / groups, students write down questions based on the following vocabulary from the article. Teacher monitors and corrects. Students ask each other the questions:
- world-famous
- live up to expectations
- dampen the spirits
- mind-boggling
- ring your travel agent now
- full moon
- security fears
- masterpiece
- romantic spot
- anniversary

7. I WAS THERE: Role play a tourist at the reopening of the Taj Mahal talking to a reporter. All tourists brainstorm ideas beforehand to describe the beauty and romance, all reporters brainstorm questions together. Repeat the role play by changing roles and pairs.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the Taj Mahal. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. POSTCARD HOME: Write a postcard home on the morning after your visit to the Taj Mahal.

4. POEM: Write a poem expressing the beauty, majesty and romance of the Taj Mahal.

ANSWERS

DEFINITIONS:
1. b
2. a
3. a
4. b
5. a
6. b
7. a
8. b
9. a
10. a
11. a
12. b

TRUE/FALSE:
(a)  Taj Mahal Nights is the name of a new Indian restaurant.  F
(b)  The Taj Mahal is on the Indian sub-continent.  T
(c)  The Taj Mahal reopened its doors for night-time viewing yesterday.  T
(d)  The Taj Mahal will be open every night from now on.  F
(e)  Taj Mahal night viewing was banned in 1954.  F
(f)  The Taja Mahal was attacked by the Pakistani air force.  F
(g)  The Taj Mahal was built 350 years ago. T
(h)  The Taj Mahal was built for a British king.  F
(i)  The Tak Mahal is a monument of love. T
(j)  The Taj Mahal is waiting to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  F

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

trip

itinerary 

(b)

world

famous 

(c)

open doors to

the public

(d)

live up to

expectations

(e)

don’t all rush

at once

(f)

a ban

was imposed

(g)

fears for someone’s/something’s

safety

(h)

seven wonders

of the world

(i)

directly

responsible

(j)

receive a

facelift

(k)

dampen the

spirits

GAP FILL:

Taj Mahal nights is not the name of a new Indian restaurant, but an essential addition to the itinerary on your trip to the sub-continent. The world-famous Taj Mahal reopened its majestic doors to the public for night-time viewing for the first time in twenty years yesterday (Saturday). The occasion didn’t quite live up to expectations as although initially it was bathed in moonlight, it later became enveloped in fog. This did not dampen the spirits of one of the 300 lucky visitors, photographer Raghu Rai, who told the AFP press agency “When moonlight falls on the white marble it’s like a glowing diamond, a jewel in space. You have to sit far away and gradually walk towards it. Full moon is mind-boggling.” Ring your travel agent now!

Don’t all rush at once however, because it will only be open on the five nights a month that surround the full moon. Security fears have limited the number of visitors to a maximum of 400 people. A ban on night viewing was imposed in 1984 when it was feared the monument may be attacked at night by Sikh militants who were battling the government for their own homeland in India’s northern state of Punjab. Fears for the Taj’s safety continued amid the tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and their nuclear weapons race, when it was camouflaged to avoid attack by air.

The 17th-century architectural masterpiece was built by the heartbroken Mughul emperor Shah Jahan as a monument of his love for his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is now recognized as one of the seven modern wonders of the world as well as one of the most romantic and photographed sightseeing spots. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, meaning the Indian government is directly responsible for any changes to the site. It received a facelift two years ago in preparation for its 350th anniversary, celebrated in September.

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