“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
The above epigraph holds true especially in the recent context of Indus Valley World School students going on a trip to Panna National Park, Madhya Pradesh, from 29th May to 3rd June. Six days chock-filled with wholesome experiences, the students were left filled with empathy for the nation’s wildlife resources and the pressing need to conserve the same at the end of the trip.
The Camp Panna Resort overlooking the Ken river was the perfect place to stay. One of the main attractions of the trip was the 2 days safari where the teachers and children set off for the reserve in their designated jeeps. The natural splendor in the form of extensive plateaus, tall grassland and the unparalleled beauty of the Ken river mesmerised all. Being a huge national park of approximately 542 kilometer square, the jeeps couldn’t explore the entire area but they did try to, whilst searching for the awaited tiger. A total of nine jeeps had set out for three thrilling jungle safaris and some chanced upon tiger as well as bear, and all had the fortune to watch a leopard closely in its majestic prowl. The number of bird species found in Panna is around 200 that include migratory birds as well and the sight of white necked stork, king vulture, paradise flycatcher and many rare kinds added to the wildering effects in Panna. Later, the children set on a boat ride across the lake in the reserve, which was relaxing and enjoyable. Other wild creatures spotted included vultures, cheetals and sambhars. The woody areas were dotted with deer, sambhars, peacocks, nilgais and langurs. Overall, revelling upon the sight of animals, God’s creations, was an enriching and definitely an out-of-the-textbook experience.
The other main attraction was the Pandava Waterfalls. 300 small steps led down to the falls and the children had a gala time at the beautiful spot. The variety of fish and the overall greenery was breathtaking.
While returning home on the 2nd of June there was a general sense of melancholy, for the experience had been one to remember. However, as the children were being collected from school by the parents, there was also the excitement which travel always induces. It makes borders seem redundant, it expands the horizons of imagination. Armed with memories and wholesome experiences, the children would now relate the incidents and lessons they learnt to their parents. Travel builds character and the students at Indus Valley World School can certainly say they built theirs with this trip.