Timing & Date play a very important role in every person’s life. Likewise after Summative exams, children were eagerly waiting for the tour date to be declared and it was finally announced for 5th October 2017. The school planned a three days excursion for students of grades VI and VII to the devotional land of Junagadh, Gujarat.
On the very exhilarating day of 5th October, the school campus was echoing with happiness as children were counting the number of hours left to start for the tour. On the evening of 5th October, at around 6.30 P.M, after taking an early dinner, the journey began from the school campus. 97 children accompanied by 16 staff members were on their way towards their destination: Junagadh. It’s a city located on the western shoreline of Gujarat. It is an astounding place which has a flourishing cultural diversity and vivacity with spiritual as well as historical sites.
In the initial leg of the journey, the bus appeared to be a dancing zone, full of dance and music. Children danced on the beats of music without any break. Eventually, with a drop in their energy and them dropping into the seats, they fell asleep by mid-night.
After an overnight journey, we reached our first destination at Hotel Kohinoor in Diu, at 8 A.M. Children got refreshed, had an appetising breakfast followed by dips and jumps in swimming pool. After enjoying the pool, it was time for lunch and then rest. Later half of the day passed in exploring the famous places of Diu.
Day 1 – Gangeshwar Temple – INS Khukri – Naida Caves – Nagoa Beach
The first exploration began with the darshan of Gangeshwar Mahadev, an ancient Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiv. The main attraction of this temple was its five Shivalings in the form of Lord Shiv which were installed by Pandavs during their exile. As this temple is located nearby the sea, children also understood some geographical concepts like – formation of beaches, work of sea with its physical features, etc.
The next stopover was at INS Khukri. It is the memorial site of an Indian Naval Ship that sank during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Visiting this place gave an insight into the bravery of our unrecognised national heroes who sacrificed their lives. Carrying the memories of our Indian Naval heroes, we left to witness nature’s creation in the form of magnificent caves at Naida Caves. These caves resonated nature’s beauty having rocky cliffs and multi-coloured sand walls and various textures of rocks. Children felt the joy of going back to early age and witnessing the life in caves with some mazes and confusing routes to cross. We ended the caves visit hailing nature as a beautiful architect.
Upon returning to the hotel, we all freshened up and had a mouth-watering dinner. A traditional artistic show mesmerised the students, wherein a group of tribal people surprised us with their stunts, dance and fire display. They also involved teachers and students in dance. The day concluded with an applause and appreciation of this unique talent and a memorable group picture with them.
Day 2 – Diu Fort – Somnath Temple – Devalia Safari Park
New morning arose at a new place. After having breakfast, children were ready to start their second day of tour. Our first point of visit was the Diu Fort, which is constructed along the coastline of Gujarat. Entering the fort, children were amazed to see several cannons and inscriptions which were made a few hundred years ago. Some children sat on the cannons to witness a magnificent view of the sea, others stood beside the cannons pretending to operate them, some tried climbing the lighthouse and many such adventures were afoot.
Along with these entertaining activities, they were also asked to observe the ruins of the walls, arches, gateways of the fort in order to understand the working of military defences in past. The journey continued and we reached the Somnath Temple of Lord Shiv. We learned about the glorious history of the temple, why and how this temple was plundered by many foreign invaders in the past and what made this temple a place of pilgrim.
Having done with a delicious lunch, we continued to the most awaited place of the day: the Devalia National Park. There was a certain thrill, excitement and joy of driving through the national park, hoping to catch a glimpse of various wildlife forms. Deep inside the park, the keen eyes of the students managed to spot the Asiatic Lions, Deers, Nil Gai, Leopards, etc. The beauty of nature in its purest form was breath-taking. The day came to an end and we reached Hotel Lords Inn in Sasan Gir Forest. Students freshened up and had a yummy dinner. The day concluded with playing indoor games, watching TV and recollecting the fun-loving and thrilling activities.
Day 3 – Junagadh Swaminarayan Mandir – Narayan Dharo – Gondal Mandir
The third day of our tour was initiated with darshan at Swaminarayan Mandir in Junagadh. We were guided by a devotee who explained the mahima of this Mandir with awe-inspiring prasangs. Our next stop was at Narayan Dharo. It is a river front of Harini River, blessed and visited by Lord Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami and many other deities.
Final destination of this tour was Gondal Mandir. We visited all those places where Param Pujya Hariprasad Swamiji had done seva of His Guru, Yogiji Maharaj as a youth, including the porch, staircase and ghat of Gondal Mandir. Before leaving the mandir, we performed pradakshina and children also enjoyed playing in a bath kund which was a part of this mandir. Really, the intricate carving of temple, picturesque landscape and peaceful ambiance gave a divine feeling.
It was a fun filled trip to explore a completely new horizon of Spiritual, Cultural, Historical and Geographical world.
We heartily thank everyone who planned, organised and managed successfully such a wonderful tour to manifest the slogan – “Kuch Din To Guzaro Gujarat Mein”.
Reported by: Rashmi Ma’am