School trip with kids

Dear friends, here I am with the last news from Varanasi.

As every winter, the hospital work has increased. Doctor P. K. Singh has resumed eyes operations at full rate: about forty in three sessions and patients are almost always elderly persons and poor.

In the hospital page you can find the Activity Report 2009.

Some kids relax under a hut in the garden

Everyday there are some kids in the infirmary; winter brings its pathologies and children are the firsts to be affected, even teachers have a cold.

The Siddhapith seen from Rajghat; it occupies the green strip’s length. The part that is not white is the new containment wall, erected last summer

But in the last fifteen days, temperature grew warmer and people started speaking about an early and probably terrible summer. The river is at the seasonal minimum of the last thirty years and it has been a long time since it didn’t rain.

The kids visited by the speech therapist

School lessons are often outdoors, under the sun. Masonry classrooms are cold for the most of the morning, even if they are kept open.

Learning with fun

In the afternoon, some groups of kids and girls practise on musical instruments or sew puppets after drawing and cutting paper patterns out. They have an extraordinary manual ability. Other boys and girls stay here to play together or to cycle.

Bicycle ride in turn

Anil Baba and I quickly visited Rajghat’s archaeological excavations, in the park next to Lal Khan mausoleum, on the opposite bank as regards the Siddhapith.

Lal Khan mausoleum, Rajghat

Here stood the ancient Varanasi (1000 BC – 1100 AD) which from Rajghat extended as far as Adi Keshawa temple, at the confluence of Varuna and Ganges. Part of what was found during excavations is displayed at Bharat Kala Bhavan museum. Today this area is principally occupied by schools and private institutions.

Ancient Varanasi excavations

Last Saturday doctor Bodhisattva Chakravarti came and visit us. He is speech therapist in a centre for disabled kids, quite far from our ashram, out of Varanasi. Nilu, an acquaintance of ours, accompanied him. He visited about twenty children of ours suffering from language disorders and gave them some exercises to improve their pronunciation. He even added that he will come for free once a month for a check. Admirable.

Doctor Bodhisattva Chakravarti asks the kids

We organized a school trip for third, fourth and fifth form kids. There was no one missing, and they were 122 on departure. We piled them into two buses. To tell the truth, there were about ten older kids, too, the ones who go to external schools, and seven teachers.

Peace Bell, Sarnath

The first leg was Sarnath, some kilometres far from the city. Guru Ratna had already taken a group of kids there some years before, and, after some years, we wanted to come back with this new generation.

Damhek Stupa

Sarnath is where Buddha gave his first sermon and for many centuries it has been an important spiritual and cultural centre. There are ancient monuments, as Damhek stupa and the remains of the Buddhist centre destroyed in the Twelfth Century. There are a museum with many pieces of the excavations and a small zoo, too.

Deer and kids

There is a lot of vegetation, big meadows and trees. At the zoo park kids had a picnic on the grass with samosa, gulab jamun and fruits, enjoying it a lot. Then we visited the excavations, the stupa and the museum.

Inside the temple dedicated to Buddha, Sarnath

The next leg was DLW (Diesel Locomotive Works), one of the six industries producing locomotives in India. We walked in warehouses of a thousand square meters through all the stages of production. The kids, all very disciplined, watched with interest and curiosity.

Vishvanath, BHU

Then we went towards Benares Hindu University to visit Bharat Kala Bhavan museum and Vishvanath temple. At the entrance, a high-ranking officer of the University Security, son of a disciple of Shri Aghoreshwar, recognized Anil Baba. With his car and some of his men escorted us to the building and accompanied us inside the museum personally, acting as our guide through all the halls and allowing us to finish the visit after closing time. Very educated and nice person, then he offered a snack to the kids on coming out of Vishvanath temple.

Afternoon snack

This is an extension of the original, also known as Golden Temple, dedicated to Shiva,  Lord of the city. Vishwanath temple or Vishveshwara, Lord of the Universe, is in the city centre, in the alleys above Manikarnika Ghat.

Mahabody Society temple

At nightfall, last leg, Krin Kund Kina Ram Sthal, Aghor centre founded by Baba Kalu Ramji and Baba Kina Ramji, line of Masters which Shri Aghoreshwar belongs to. Finally, at about seven, we reached the ashram.

Lotus in the park

The kids were a little tired for the long walks but satisfied; I had a lot of fun, too, walking around with hundred rowdy but orderly kids.

Worth repeating! 

Let’s go!