The students of Ekya and CMR National Public School went on an Outbound trip to Kodaikanal. In addition to what they learn in the classroom, these trips help children actually explore and understand the things they learn. This trip opened up the world of stars to these young students and they really enjoyed themselves.

Here is a detailed report of the trip by one of our young astronomy enthusiasts, Sohan Shanbhag, from Grade 7, Ekya School, JP Nagar.

With our suitcases, all packed, twenty-six excited faces embarked on a journey to Kodaikanal. We boarded a 27 seater A/C bus at 8:45 pm on the 19th of April 2019 from Ekya School J.P Nagar, Bengaluru. We were accompanied by Shanti Ma’am and two tour guides. All of us had fun talking to students from CMR NPS and Ekya School B.T.M Layout. According to me, everybody on the bus slept well, this would keep us fresh and energetic for the next day.

At 8:00 am, our bus stopped at the end of the Main Road. We got to know that our bus didn’t fit on the road that goes to our camp, so we had to go by jeep.
Four jeeps had come to take us. One of them had our loaded suitcases, and the other three took us to the camp. It was about a twenty minute drive from the Main Road.
When we reached the camp, we were welcomed by the manager and staff of the camp.

Ashutosh, Laksh, Vedant, Arav, Rishabh and I had occupied a tent which had 8 bunk beds. There were two extra beds, so we put all our suitcases in one and all our goodies and valuable things in the other. We also covered them with a blanket so nobody would get to know about our secret hiding place. The tent had an attached bathroom. Every night, we used to decide the order of brushing and taking bath in the morning. On Saturday, I got to bathe first. Unfortunately, I went in too early and the hot water was not available yet.
That morning, after everybody freshened up, we left for the canteen to eat breakfast. On our way we were stopped by two of the tour guides who walked up to us and told us that they wanted to talk to us.
They introduced themselves- Riyaz Sir was in charge of all the adventure activities. And Sneh Sir was in charge of all the astronomy and museum activities that were in store for us. Sneh Sir told us that post breakfast we would have fun while taking part in the adventure activities; including Burma Bridge, rope walking and many more.
After a sumptuous breakfast, with the company of Riyaz Sir, we went down the path towards the adventure activities. After we put on our safety harnesses, we started with the net walking activity; it was quite tough. Then, we walked on a tight rope, on a mini cylinder and even a bridge made out of logs! Zip lining while sitting on a tire was so fun! As soon as we started the zip line, it started drizzling, so we had to postpone the activities to post lunch.
After a power-packed lunch consisting of rice, rasam and many other items, we left to do the other activities. We also had to do some survival activities. We went for tea and snacks. After a short break in our tents, we assembled at the canteen for the bonfire. We had a nice time playing Chinese Whispers, singing and dancing. We later had dinner and talked for a while. We went back to our tents and had a party. We shared all the goodies we got from home. According to me, day one at our camp was fun and adventurous. We slept at 11:45 pm, after sharing horror stories!

We woke up at 5:45 am and freshened up. At around 7:30 am, post breakfast, we went for a trek on the beautiful hills of Kodaikanal. We went down the hill, through large trees. An experienced farmer and Riyaz Sir accompanied us on our way. Many of us got stuck in twigs and roots, but still managed to make our way to our first checkpoint-the waterfall. Shanti Ma’am took many pictures of our group while all of us were posing. Our second checkpoint was the hilltop. This was the first time in two days that we got a strong enough network connection to speak to our families.
We went back to the tents and freshened up for lunch. After a hearty lunch, we left for rock climbing. All of us did an exceptional job by climbing above our height.
Before the tea break, we made rockets with Sneh sir. We were given all the materials needed. He taught us the fuel and chambers of a rocket. He told that the fuel for our rockets was a dangerous chemical called ‘Dihydrogen Monoxide’ and if it fell on us, it would harm our skin. Cautious but excited, we were ready to launch our rockets. All of them went really high and some of the ‘chemical’ fell on our skin. We panicked a lot and asked each other if our skin looked different.
Sir later told that he tricked us! It was nothing but the water [H2O]. We had a good laugh! Then we started our next task-making a sky wheel, which acts as a guide to locate constellations. We had to cut and stick paper. We noticed that many Harry Potter characters were named after constellations like Draco Malfoy, Sirius Black, and Bellatrix Lestrange. We later had tea and cake. Then, we went back into our tents and rested for a while. At around 7:00 pm, we assembled at an open and leveled area. Five people were sleeping and refused to come. We were there to learn how to assemble the parts of a telescope. We were able to magnify and find stars and constellations. Looking at the stars was quite fun.

At around 7:45 pm, we went for dinner. After having hot and fresh Masala Dosas, we back into our tents and rested for about a couple of hours. Later, at around 9:30 pm, we were called near the telescope to observe the Moon and its craters. All of us were talking about the Rabbit on the Moon. We had to wait for about fifteen minutes for the clouds to clear up before we could see the Moon. The Moon definitely had to treat all of us for waiting to see it! We went back into our tents and slept by 11:30 pm.

After freshening up by 7:30 am, we left for breakfast. A jeep came, and it loaded our suitcases as we were leaving the camp. We hopped on and went towards the bus. We boarded the bus and left for the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory. Over there we learned about the layers and spots on the sun and how the telescope can magnify the sun. We then had lunch at a restaurant. After lunch, we left for the Shenbagnur Museum of Natural Sciences. The animals were real, but not alive- they had been preserved. Then we went to Bryant Park. We observed different types of flowers. We played running and catching in the open ground. We left the park at around 5:45 pm. Before dinner, we played some songs on the bus. At around 7:15 pm, we went to Domino’s Pizza for dinner. We played some word games while eating. We left Kodaikanal taking with us all the good memories we shared there. This was around 8:15 pm.

This trip to Kodaikanal was absolutely amazing. I would like to thank Shanti Ma’am, Ekya School and our parents for giving us the opportunity to explore Kodaikanal. We were sad after leaving Kodaikanal but at the same time happy reaching home.

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