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A Study Tour (2023), From the Hills to the Bay

Updated: Apr 1

An unforgettable Joy of Learning & Discovery...

A 3-day and 5-night trip from the hills of Deogarh to the waves the of Bay of Bengal, The majestic Sun temple, Lord Jagannath temple, Science parks & museums of Bhubaneswar, food culture ... and above all the very first travel experience with friends!

Ek-Asha is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting life-enriching education and providing opportunities to underprivileged children across India. For EK ASHA, education is something that goes far beyond textbooks and classrooms. We planned for a study tour (Learning Yatra) to provide a lifetime experience to children from the hills and forests.

Our idea was to expose children to the rich and diverse culture, heritage, nature, and science of Odisha.

The journey started as 76 students and 13 mentor-volunteers from 8 villages in Odisha's Deogarh district embarked on a learning yatra to Bhubaneswar, about 270 kilometers away from their homes.

Everyone was filled with excitement and curiosity as they stepped onto the bus, eager to start their journey. The children were accompanied by volunteers and teachers along with generous friends and volunteers who helped organize the trip, provide guidance, and make food arrangements throughout the tour.

We spent the next 3 days gathering countless memories of togetherness and exploration while visiting many locations. Everywhere we went, our group was welcomed with open arms, and we felt like part of a family in each new place we visited.

Day-1 26/02/2023

Bhubaneswar is a city steeped in history and culture, and our group of over 100 people was excited to explore all that it had to offer. Our first day was jam-packed with activities that took us through the city's rich history and scientific wonders.

Most of our students had never seen a city like Bhubaneswar before and many of them were awestruck at the grandeur of the buildings and busy streets filled with people.

Our day began with a guided walking tour with Ekamra Walks that took us through the narrow streets and ancient temples of old Bhubaneswar. Our passionate guides from We4You filled the day with fun-filled learning through the fascinating stories and insights into the temples, the people, and the culture of Bhubaneswar.

After the walking tour, we headed to Science Park, which is located near the planetarium. The Science Park is a fantastic place to learn about various scientific concepts through interactive exhibits and activities. The exhibits cover topics related to physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences. The activities and exhibits are suitable for all ages, and our students spent a few hours exploring them.

One of the highlights of the Science Park was the hands-on exhibits that allowed us to experiment with scientific concepts. We got to learn about space and the universe through the planetarium show, which was a thrilling experience for everyone. We thank DR. Himanshu Shekhar Satpathay for his personal engagement with the kids. This will surely stay with the kids for their lifetime.

Our visit to Bhubaneswar continued to be filled with excitement and learning opportunities. After an exhilarating day at the Science Park, we headed to the Pathani Samanta Planetarium.

The staff was welcoming, and we explored various exhibits before settling into the dome-shaped theatre for a stunning show. We learned about the constellations, and how the solar system was formed, and witnessed a breathtaking display of stars, planets, and galaxies projected on the ceiling. It was an educational and enjoyable experience for all of us.

The State Museum is a place of culture and knowledge filled with artifacts that have survived through the ages. Today, students eagerly waited for their turn to explore the museum's wonders. Our journey started with ancient artifacts arranged in chronological order - pottery, coins, and sculptures that immersed us in history. Each item was a testament to the intricate designs and craftsmanship of the past. The visit ended with a gallery showcasing modern art from around the world. It was a day filled with excitement, wonder, and a deeper appreciation for the world's rich cultural heritage.

Overall, our first day in Bhubaneswar was filled with history, culture, and science. We were thrilled to have experienced so much in just one day and are excited to see what the rest of our trip has in store for us.

Day-2 27/02/2023

The second day of the study trip was off to a great start. All the students and teachers were up bright and early for their eye check-ups at Ramakrishna Mission.

After the eye-check-up, they set off to their next destination: Konark.

Once they arrived, they all got off the bus to explore the sun temple, take pictures, and learn about its history. Everyone was in awe of the magnificence and architecture of the temple.

After a few hours of exploring, it was time to head to their next destination: The sea beach! The students were filled with excitement as they arrived at the beach.

There were so many activities to do like swimming in the sea, building sand castles together, and exploring colourful markets nearby. Everyone enjoyed their time together by the sea before it was time to go back on the bus again and head towards Shree Jagannath.

Jai Jagannath! The students arrive at the temple, amazed by its grandeur and beauty. They eagerly make their way up the steps to the grand entrance.

The students were greeted by the head priest of the temple (Bada Panda, Shree Mandira Puri), who warmly welcomed them and proceeded to explain the rich history and spiritual significance of the sacred site. It was a truly enlightening experience, as the students listened intently, absorbing every detail of the priest's words.

In addition to the gracious hospitality of the head priest, the students were also fortunate to have the esteemed presence of Puri Honorable SP, who had thoughtfully arranged for their comfort during their visit. With such attentive arrangements in place, the students were able to fully immerse themselves in the spiritual atmosphere of the temple, and take in all the beauty and majesty it had to offer.

Overall, the experience was one that the students would never forget. From the deep insights of the head priest to the thoughtful arrangements of Puri Honorable SP, every aspect of their visit was filled with warmth, knowledge, and a profound sense of spiritual wonder. It was a true privilege to be welcomed into this sacred space, and one that the students would always cherish.

Day-3 28/02/2023

Students began their third and final day trip early in the morning. They were all excited to visit the Nandan Kanan Zoo, it was their first time. During their 5-hour journey, they watched and learned about different animals in their natural habitats.

After their visit to the temple, the group embarked on a journey to the Dhauli Shanti Stupa, where they were greeted by a serene and tranquil atmosphere. As they entered the grounds, the students immediately felt a sense of peace wash over them, and they couldn't help but be drawn in by the beauty and tranquillity of the place.

During their visit, our students were introduced to the seven pillars of this magnificent site, each one representing a different aspect of the human experience. The first pillar, for example, represents the importance of love and kindness, while the second pillar stands for peace and harmony.

As they explored the stupa, the students were struck by the power and significance of each of these pillars. Each one represented a profound aspect of the human experience, reminding them of the importance of compassion, understanding, and mindfulness in their daily lives.

They watched a light show during the evening cultural show featuring light and music. It was a unique experience for them as none of them had seen such shows before. The show ended with an inspirational message that motivated them to strive for greatness in life and pursue their dreams without fear or hesitation.

After a few hours of pleasantries, we returned to our staying place for dinner. The night ended with cheerful laughter as everyone remembered all the amazing sights we experienced throughout the day on our journey. It was an unforgettable experience that left everyone feeling satisfied and contented as they said their goodbyes.

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