Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cannanore Quest field trip

Cannanore Quest proved to be an actual quest for the small group of students and chaperones that ventured out on this path of discovery. We started out by visiting Calicut, the ancient port of Calicut, which is now a thriving modern city, with beautiful malls and hotels. However, the old exists side-by-side with the new. We visited the ancient Portuguese church, Matri Dei Cathedral, built in 1598 and destroyed by the Dutch in 1639. It is currently being renovated. The Tali Temple, built by Swami Thirumulpad (Zamorin) within his palace complex in the 14th century, was also very interesting.

The explorers then moved on to Kappad Beach, the landing spot for Vasco Da Gama in India. It was awesome stepping on to the beach, and being transported back down the ages to the Portuguese arrival in India.

From here we moved on to Cannanore,(Kannur) where after endless enquiries, we reached our destination- the beautiful Kairali Riverside Heritage resort on the Katampally River. We enjoyed the food and the facilities there, before we started a memorable period working at the Ashrayam School for Mentally Challenged children. This is an amazing school catering to children with different types of mental disabilities. The Principal,who has been a part of the school for over twenty years acquainted us with the type of work being done for children from 0 years to 18 years. It was overwhelming to see the spirit of service in action here- the teachers were dedicated and the parents cooperative, while the children themselves seemed to be gaining a great deal from a wide range of activities like yoga, physiotherapy, tailoring, weaving, candle making, book binding and elementary reading, writing and computing.

We were fortunate to witness the sports day and organized a puppet show for the children. Our students played games and did a spot of gardening.The painting activity was very successful and it was rewarding to see the looks of joy on the children’s faces after they completed their works of Art.

The Home for the Aged that we visited gave us a good insight into the lives of those who are old, forgotten and deprived. Thanks to Mrs Menon, we were able to understand the problems of the inmates there and empathise with them. We also had a taste of Kannur’s rich cultural heritage when we visited the Muthappan Temple, The Academy of Folk Arts, the Arakkal Palace and Fort St. Angelo.

Kannur also boasts of a huge handloom weaving industry and we were fortunate to visit a handloom industry, as well as ‘The National Institute of Fashion Technology’.

Our stay at Sunfun Beach resort was wonderfully peaceful. The sound of the waves, the golden sands, inspiring sunsets and delicious food make this destination worth visiting. The Ayurvedic massage was a rejuvenating experience too, for those who had one.

On our way back to Kodaikanal, we stopped at a modern mall in Calicut and enjoyed ourselves shopping and eating at Pizza Hut.
Marsha Joshi
English teacher