We Seniors at Gwalior and Shivpuri !!

Forty- two students of Senior School, accompanied by seven teachers, visited the cities of Gwalior and Shivpuri as part of their annual educational school trip from 19th to 21st of October 2015. Before their departure from Gwalior- a city well known for its ancient temples, beautiful palaces and alluring monuments- the students shared their reflections and learning through beautiful paintings and detailed travelogues. So get ready to hear all about this trip in the words of Sruthi Balakrishnan and Siddhant Sharma.

“It was 3:45 a.m. in the morning19th October of and senior school had gathered in the school foyer, all excited for the much awaited school trip, and that too by train, to Gwalior-Shivpuri. At sharp 4 a.m. we set off for the New Delhi Railway station to board the Bhopal Shatabdi. Most of us had easy-to-carry backpacks, while some carried the cumbersome duffle bags.

After waiting at the station for some time, the train arrived and we settled in. For some time in the train, there was a lot of hustle, after which most of the kids took a much needed nap as most of us hadn’t slept a wink due to excitement.  The three and a half hour rail journey passed in the blink of an eye and soon we reached Gwalior and found ourselves heading for Shivpuri. Some of us were still pretty tired and dozed off. I remember the constant complaints about the music being played in the bus since everyone wanted to listen to something different. Most of us chattered nonstop and had loads of fun with our friends.

In another three hours we reached our resort in Shivpuri. By that time we were all really hungry. We had our lunch and were allotted our rooms. After an hour of rest and change of clothes we were taken to the glittering white marble cenotaphs erected by Scindhia ruler. The chattris were incredibly beautiful, inlaid with precious and semi-precious lapis lazuli and onyx, and display a spectacular effect similar to the Taj Mahal.

We returned from the cenotaphs and were given another forty five minutes or so to rest. At about eight we were called out and it was pretty sure what was going to happen. The music was playing and everyone got groovy. Most of the people formed groups and started to dance in their own rhythm. There was a lot of cheer and joy in the air, as everyone jumped about. After the dance, came dinner. We filled our empty tummies, and went to our respective rooms to rest for the night. Some stayed up the whole night chatting with their friends. Some spent their energies in killing the insects while their roommates were scared to death by them and others just dozed off.

Next morning we woke up early and went on a safari in the Madhav National Park where we spotted a lot of deer, langurs, wild boars and nilgais. Deep inside the Madhav National Park, at its highest point, stands the exquisite George Castle at a height of almost 484 m (1597 feet). Interestingly the castle was built by Jivaji Rao Scindia of the Gwalior royal family for an overnight halt for tiger shooting by the British King George V, when he was to pass that way during his visit to India in 1911. Ironically, it so happened that the emperor could shoot a tiger on the way itself and did not stop at Madhav. We also visited the boat club and returned to our resort at eight, to have a heart breakfast and begin our journey back to Gwalior. Our hotel was right next to the railway station. It was really luxurious and took our breaths away! The rooms were spacious, the service was good and the food was delicious.

After lunch we made our way to the Jai Vilas Palace, remnant of the last rulers of Gwalior. This palace is patterned on European style and was completed in 1872. The rooms were huge and painted in rich hues, decorated with large chandeliers and crystals. The main attraction in this gigantic palace is the Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum. We all left the palace, in awe of the architecture of this magnificent palace.

Our next stop was the Gwalior Fort where we went for most impressive sound and light show which told us the entire story of Gwalior and the fort.  What interested us the most was the breathtaking view of the city of Gwalior. The place where the fort is built is at a higher altitude than the rest of the city, and the darkness of the night added to the beauty of the city’s glimmering lights. It was magnificent. The whole city was visible and to say the least, it was beautiful.  The sightseeing for the day ended, and after a delicious dinner, we were packed off to our rooms for a good night’s sleep. To tell you the truth, hardly anyone slept and rather spent their time chatting away with friends.

The next day after breakfast at about ten, we made our way back to the fort, this time to admire its architecture and beauty in the golden sunlight. It was marvellous and the craftsmanship was out of this world. We also visited two temples inside the fort, Saas – Bahu temple and Teli ka Mandir, both 9th century temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the tomb of Tansen, one of the nine jewels of Akbar’s court and the greatest musician. Our guide was a fun person to be around. His way of explaining things and events was quite amusing. This made our visit even more enjoyable and we finally returned to the hotel.

After lunch we had a fun activity where we got to express ourselves through colours. Soon it was time for us to pack our bags for our return journey. As we had some time on our hands soon, we went to a nearby mall. We loaded our bags in the bus and took out all the money we had in hopes to make some purchases at the mall. Upon reaching the mall, we roamed around for a bit, doing window shopping. A group of us went to Café Coffee Day and had a good cup of coffee. We also visited the haunted house. Many of us came out screaming how thrilling their experience had been. Scary or not, the whole thing was fun. At last, we went to McDonalds to have a quick snack before leaving for the train. The “quick snack” lasted for about an hour and got pretty messy with soft drinks being spilled twice. We enjoyed our time at the Mall, and now the time had come for returning home.

At about seven we made our way to the railway station and bid farewell to this beautiful city. In a span of two minutes, forty two kids with seven teachers boarded the train. None of us slept this time. After dinner all of us ensured we talked as much as possible, given that it would be the last school trip for some of us. We reached Delhi at eleven thirty and the whole one hour of bus journey back to school was a competition of nonstop nonsense. By about one in the wee hours of the morning we got back home to a good sleep. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had lots of fun, especially those for whom it was the last trip- one of a kind with memories that will stay on forever!!”