Vani Dugar, Gold participant from Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata, attended an Exploration cum Adventurous Journey Camp at Dharamshala and Khajjiar from 24th to 29th May 2016. Vani is sharing her experience here with us.
The journey started with the arrival of 69 Award participants (Gold and Silver) and 3 mentors of Modern High School for Girls, accompanied by six ICNL instructors on 23rd May. After a long overnight journey from Delhi, the group reached Amritsar in the afternoon. The whole group visited the Wagha Border to witness the glorious Beating the Retreat Ceremony in the evening.
The next day began on a high note, with a visit to the famed Sri Harmandir Sahib of Amritsar, more commonly known as the Golden Temple. As we walked through the main entrance, we were left speechless at the sheer beauty of the architecture, the exquisite workmanship and the beautiful mix of colours surrounding us. We left the temple with a lingering sense of serenity and a memory that shall never fade. From there, we made our way to the Jallianwala Bagh. Our History textbooks could not have prepared us for the emotions that welled up inside us at the sight of bullet marks on the walls. The plaque beside the Martyrs’ Well informed visitors of the 120 bodies that had been recovered, a reminder of the desperation of our ancestors as they tried to escape the shower of bullets.
IAYP journeys are about being ‘away from home, close to nature’ and this could not have been truer in Dharamshala. Staying in tents, with the stars and the open sky and the mountains just an open flap away, is something we always look forward to. We spent three days i.e. 24th - 26th at Dharamshala and perfumed different activities such as Multi Chain Rope Walking and sessions on tent pitching, first aid, leadership and planning and the chance to construct the Burma Bridge. It was certainly a learning experience for all of us. The 12 km trek to the tea garden left us exhausted but with a sense of achievement. We also saw the cricket grounds, officially the highest in India, and the Dalai Lama Temple from afar.
On 27th, after a seven hours bus journey from Dhramshala we reached Dalhousie from where we left for Khajjiar. It is a fact that Khajjiar is considered to be mini Switzerland of India for its breathtaking scenery. During the next three days of our camp at Khajjiar, we did trekking and hiking. We trekked through sunlit meadows to the village of Pukri in the Chamba district. We did get a chance to interact with the locals and do a village survey. We had sessions on orientation and navigation, knots and ways of overcoming hazards with the ICNL instructors. The Camp Night, as usual, was a fun-filled and touching event.
We bid adieu to Khajjiar on the 30th of May and left for Delhi. As always, it had been an experience which was challenging yet satisfying and educational and fun-filled. Click here for pictures