In half-term, 27 pupils and four members of staff embarked on a cultural trip to India. They travelled around Rajasthan, experiencing many diverse aspects of this amazing country. Charlotte G and Toby M share their highlights from this unforgettable trip.
India is the most alien place I have ever been to. The depth and beauty of the culture is, in my opinion, what makes it such a special country. The trip was such an amazing experience, and I would definitely like to go back to explore other parts in the future.
The chaos and crowded nature of Old Delhi made the walking food tour an intense but fun experience. The food we tried was delicious and I especially enjoyed the goat curry. Even on the first day, it became apparent that we were a novelty in India, and we began to be followed by a crowd of Indians wielding phones wherever we went.
In complete contrast to the bustle of the capital, we took the bus to Sariska Manor. Staying on a tiger reserve, we were able to appreciate the beauty of the jungle, even if we didn’t get to see any tigers! The landscapes were stunning, and the skies were perfect for stargazing.
A highlight for me was trekking through the desert on a camel safari to watch the sunset and have dinner. The Indian music and authentic dancing made this night a very special one. Something that really struck me was the kindness and friendliness of all the Indians we met. Even if they had very little material possessions in their lives, they were all so polite and happy which is definitely something to learn from.
Being in India for the festival of Diwali was incredible. The celebrations were many times greater than the fireworks we have for Guys Fawkes night. We were able to watch over the city of Bikaner on the roof of our hotel, and the sky was filled with fireworks for the whole night. Everyone really enjoyed wearing saris and traditional Indian dress, and all the rituals we got to take part in made the night one to remember.
Being able to do a trip like this with school is such an amazing opportunity, and sharing these experiences with friends, whilst also meeting new people, made our visit to India one of the highlights of my Marlborough College career.
Having had a smooth flight, but quite a long and arduous wait around in security at the airport, we were ready to experience the wonders of India. Once through security, the first thing which I was taken aback by was the smog which engrossed us and was like a thick layer of fog, dust and pollution. I was stunned by this, as although I had been told that pollution in India was far greater than it is in the UK, I didn’t realise it was to that extent. I was also taken aback by the rubbish which was literally everywhere. I had never seen so much rubbish and it was disheartening to see the cows trying to find scraps of food in the rubbish.
Delhi was amazing. The vibe, atmosphere – it had it all! The hagglers, street food and smells and sheer amount of people was an experience I will never forget. The first night when I tried the goat kebab, it was superb. The flavours and spices were amazing and the naan is something I will truly miss.
During the trip, we must have travelled many 1,000s of miles around Rajasthan and north western India. Watching the world whiz by was amazing and it was so heart-warming to see how all of the children were just having fun with not a worry in the world, and how we in England worry about everything, considering that in India some of these people don’t know when their next meal will appear.
Some of my many highlights of the trip were: going to Agra and seeing the majestic Taj Mahal, embracing my fear and going to the rat temple – an experience I will never forget – and the friendliness and kindness of the Indian people by keeping so many places open for us just to have a tour when it was a national holiday. The amazing jewellers in Jaipur with some jewels costing in excess of £5 million! The safari in the middle of nowhere and seeing the amazing Indian jungle and the delicious (yet slightly repetitive) curry and dal which I thoroughly enjoyed. Meeting up with the deaf children and giving them gifts and hopefully bringing some joy by playing with them and having fun with them. Finally, the super Diwali in Bikaner which was an experience that I will never forget, with the fun and happiness all around and the singing and dancing!
I have loved India, and would definitely go back soon!
A big thank you to Mr Smith, Mr Richards, Miss Gray and Miss Hvass for making this trip possible and creating everlasting memories of our time in India.