Yashvi Agarwal, Bronze level participant from Modern High School for Girls’, Kolkata sharing her Adventurous Journey experiences with us.
With hearts full of enthusiasm and curiosity, forty nine girls from the IAYP Unit boarded the buses to set out for ‘Panchalingeshwar’ in the afternoon of 29th September, 2016. Panchalingeshwar happens to be located on the Eastern Ghats, Nilagiris to be precise. Located at a distance of 30km from Balasore in Orissa, its main claim to fame is the temple atop a hill that enshrines five Shivalingas.
Our training began early. Our very first session with Mr Mukhoty, the IAYP Programme Manager was a briefing on ‘Understanding Adventure’ and ‘Route Planning’. We learnt that self-discovery and acclimatization were the two most important aspects of adventure. This was followed by ‘The 6 km Trek’. It was quite an experience because the previous night, a herd of wild elephants had traversed the same path, leaving behind large footprints which were converted into small puddles due to the rain. The outskirts of the Singhbhum District was the end point of out trek. It was a place which had a small lake with a 20ft submerged temple built by Raja Singhavarma. This was located in the Buffer Zone of the forest of Simplipal- one of the seven tiger reserves in India. Mr Mukhoty also told us about the three most important things required for survival on a camp- food, shelter and fire. We acquired essential information about the varying types of shelters, tents and other requirements. After this each of us took active part in pitching tents which brought a feel of self satisfaction. We were then briefed on the different kinds of ropes and knots, and about the various equipments mainly throwing light on carabiners, zummers, descendeurs and pulleys. We ended our day with a session on First Aid, where we were taught that first aid was providing scientific aid to a medical victim.
The next day, we had to abstain from our daily morning activities due to heavy rain. We started our day with an interesting session on the Camping Code which included mountain manners, hut manners, etc. We learnt how important it was to respect the culture and customs of the local people of a place. This was followed by another session on the demonstration of all the important knots we had learnt about. Then we were engaged in an exciting activity- Zummering. It was an interesting experience as it was something new for most of us. Right after lunch we set out for another activity- Rappelling, some distance away from our guest house. A short session on maps and orientation was conducted before our thrilling experience of rappelling. This was followed by the camp night. We danced, we sang, we laughed, to sum up we had a gala time.
On the final morning of this very short expedition, we trekked some distance to visit the Panchalingeshwar Temple. We were told all about the beauty of the Simlipal Forest which was right next to the temple. Very soon, we headed back to the camp and having had our lunch we were ready to leave for Kolkata. Just as all good things come to an end, our camp was no exception, but I can very confidently say that we left Panchalingeshwar with memories and valuable lessons that would stay with us for a lifetime and a half. We learnt things that would help us in the future for situations we might unexpectedly encounter. We truly discovered ourselves on this journey. Thanks to all the teachers and Award Leaders who accompanied us. This trip was one of the most memorable experiences that we ever had. Click here for more pictures