Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Aitchison College Visit

Aitchison College-A very small part of one of the main buildings.  Love this cross of architecture!

This is a 400 year old Banyan Tree.  Pretty unique story.  It predates the college and is also a shrine. There are two graves there and the college was built around the tree. No one seems to know who was buried there but it is treated with great respect.  The students decorate the side where the graves are,
Yesterday, I went on a tour of Aitchison College, one of the most prestigious prep schools in Lahore (or in South Asia).  I had read about it, passed it every day and was most curious. This place is like something out of a movie (in fact, it should be in a movie).  I felt like I should be sitting in an Ivory Merchant period piece.  It costs about 20,000 rupees per month to attend which translates to about $235 per month. Unbelievable!

One of the really fabulous buildings on the Aitchison Campus

My friend Naazish Ataullah knows the principal, arranged and took me for the visit.  My  hosts on my tour of Aitchison College were Komail Aijazuddin (an up and coming Pakistani artist), his little  niece Reya, and for tea, his sister, Momina,  and his mother,  Shahnaz. Very nice family and I appreciated their generous hospitality.
My tour guides, Komail and Reya.  Both were a delight. Komail is preparing for a show in Karachi and is an accomplished artist.

All of the original buildings were built in the British Colonial Style.  The newer buildings use the same materials but differing styles depending on when they were built. The color scheme stays the same and effort has been made to keep a fairly uniform appearance.  Really, a beautiful campus.

The school was built in 1886 to educate the sons of the very wealthy maharajahs to inculcate them into British values.  Today it is a modern campus, still stressing an upper crust schooling but with a South Asian slant.  It  sits on  143 acres and houses about 2500 boys from ages 6-18.  Most Lahori never see this campus as it is behind huge walls built in the 1950s and is heavily guarded.  Most schools here have guards.  The school where we had classes this summer has barricades and you enter through a security screen behind a locked door.
The level of detail in the architectural elements was really outstanding.  The grounds are immaculate and although there are few students on campus for the summer, there was still a lot of people running here and there doing work.

 The campus also has  two Olympic size pools, horse stable for 80 horses, and a number of  dormitories.  The stables were amazing.  Below is just a small portion of the stable area.

The newest addition to the stable born less than a year ago.

There are several mosques and temples, (Muslim, Sikh and Hindu) although right now only the Muslim mosque is used. It also has an outdoor amphitheater that is capable of seating the entire campus. 

Obviously I didn't take this picture-took it off the web site as mine didn't do it justice.  Shades of Quidditch Matches and Harry Potter!

This is their debate hall. Yep, debate hall.

Campus Mosque         
High Tea-Just fits here.  The other thing that is kind of unique here.  On the table usually sits a box of kleenex to be used as napkins. This way, if it becomes soiled you just grab another tissue.  Such a nice experience to see this and provides a completely different context to other schools I have seen in the area.


  1. Nice blog, thanks for sharing your experience of our city.

    1. and places like Aitchison :)

    2. Thanks so much. Lahore is a beautiful city.