By Minakshii Borana

The students of grades 6, 7 and 8 had a thrill filled 3 days’ time out with their friends when their experiences outran their expectations. Very truly said – “God’s presence is felt much stronger when one is closer to nature”. Pondicherry, much renowned for its scenic beauty and serene surroundings left an impression on our young hearts.
The AUROBINDO ASHRAM all set in the heart of the city constitutes the soul of Pondicherry. Its sanctity could be felt all over the place and every place we went as tourists emitted an all pervading divine peace. An air of spiritual harmony reined the ashram which encompasses within it the Samadhi of Aurobindo Ghosh, the renowned philosopher, guide, writer and social activist. AUROVILLE, with its message of international brotherhood had an aura of light, the light of inner beauty and self-realization. Its message strong and loud manifested itself in 'MATRIMANDIR', a unique meditation hall built keeping in mind the natural sunlight falling upon a crystal ball placed within the golden dome, illuminating the entire hall. The golden dome left us all spellbound. Children had a peep into the HAND MADE PAPER FACTORY where the entire process right from collection of raw materials to processing to the generation of the final product was well demonstrated. What an enriching experience indeed! The ROCKY BEACH, a rare in its kind was different, as it was surrounded by black, huge rock boulders. The natives say they served the dual purpose of beautification and safety from floods. Sunset at the Rocky Beach is one sight many crave for and carry in their hearts for a long time. Last but not the least, SAINT BASILICA'S CHURCH, a 103 years old church and the best in Pondicherry mesmerized all who visited the place. It looked beautiful and colorful. The father of the church briefed the children about its importance and blessed them.
MAHABALIPURA M, a place of historical importance is famous for its monolithic cave temples. The five ratha temples, Arjuna's penance temple and the shore temple, all exhibit great Indian architecture and craftsmanship. Truly, Indian heritage is rich and India is beautiful! Young Depsites felt proud to be Indians and retraced into the past to get a feel of that era. The CROCODILE PARK at Mahabalipuram left no stone unturned to excite our students to the maximum. More than a thousand varieties of crocodiles and alligators thronged the place in their natural set ups, some of them swimming, some walking while most of them sunbathing. They seemed lethargic very opposite to their dangerous deadly nature. The highlight of trip and the most informative and educative part of it was saved for the end-- THE DAKSHIN CHITRA – a picture of the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil nadu. An artificially created set up for each state depicted the culture and lifestyle of each of them. Young Depsites educated themselves with hands on experiences, enjoyed the rural flavor and shopped thoroughly.
With a heavy heart and loads of memories to cherish, we traced our steps back to Bangalore. The trip surely did leave us more rejuvenated and instilled in us a spirit of rediscovery of India, a land of immense wealth in terms of a strong future and a rich past.


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