My World

Just a place for my thoughts and views…..

A trip to Orissa !!!

with 2 comments

It was my first visit to Orissa – the state on the east coast of India. Few of us have started an initiative “Educate to Empower (E2E)” which has been started with a vision of providing effective education at an affordable price to the masses. Our first project through E2E is a community school(Mayurbhanj Public School) in a tribal area of Mayubhanj district. A group of 6 of us staying in different parts of the country, with many more joined in to help out , started with this initiative in April 2010.

Mayurbhanj Public School

Mayurbhanj Public School

This visit was mainly to visit our own school, meet with the students, the E2E team and understand the current situation. And obviously visit to the tourist places was also on  the list. Reaching Bhubhaneshwar, we(myself and Vaibhav) were greeted at the airport by our friends Gobinda and Vinit. Escorted by bike we got to see the city at a glance. The city, very much different from Bangalore, reminded of my native place Patna. It very much had the similar types of houses, people, roads etc. But the city was quite clean and very well maintained.

Passing through the lanes we reached at our staying place – flat of one of the friends of E2E Aarti. Greeted by the sweet Halwa and chai we refreshed ourselves listening to the stories by Vinit about the village and the school. Vinit is a great storyteller and can keep you listening to his stories as they never end.

Now time was to visit few tourist places of Bhubhaneswar. Started with a visit to Nandan Kanan which is spread in a

Konark Temple

Konark Temple

large area famous for the white tigers. With forest and lake inside there are lots of animals, reptiles at this place. The sunset view at the lake with the lotus was one view to be watched. Spending around 3 hours at this place with some photography, watching the animals, boating we were on our way to the banks of Mahanadi. With moonlight at the banks of the river we enjoyed the pakoda and tea. The silence besides the riverside was very soothing. Driving back to Bhubhaneshwar we had a discussion on the school and plans for the next day being made.

Early morning wake up and we were off to the Sun Temple at Konark. The sea in the Konark was one of the cleanest beach. With fishermen and ships at their work early morning we enjoyed the beautiful sea waves hitting the shores with the roar. The walk through the narrow streets led us to the Konark Temple. The temple with a beautiful architecture takes the form of the chariot of Sun God. We caught hold of a guide who told us interesting stories related to the temple and the carvings on it.

Sea View Near Konark Temple

Sea View Near Konark Temple

After contributing into the tourism of Orissa now was the time to visit a slum school “Sailya Sai Slum School”. Located in a slum besides the big apartments in the city of Bhubhaneshwar, this school is started by a elderly person from the same slum. The classes are run from Std 1 to Std 5. Even the teachers were from the same slum. With the efforts of the principal and teachers the students are really very much devoted. Spending few hours at the school we talked with the principal and the students.

Now was the time to enjoy the delicacies of Oriya food.  We went to a traditional Oriya restaurant where we had the “Dalma” – the really tasty Oriya cuisine. With full plates of different types of other cuisines we had a heavy lunch. After a short nap, we had a meet with the Touching Lives Team who had come down from Mumbai. The 3 personalities of the team – Dr Sonia Mackwani, Kunjal Shah and Asif Vadsaria were one of those energetic people. We had an informal chit chat with them knowing more about each other , getting introduced. The Touching Lives team was here to provide training to the teachers of the “Mayurbhanj Public School.

Chandipur Beach

Chandipur Beach

Time to leave for Mayurbhanj now to meet the kids, principals and check out our own initiative. Yes todays world everything can be done remotely but still till you do not go on the field the real work doesn’t happen. In the darkness of the early morning we reached the village. The smell of the village, the birds, the stars in the sky all was an enchanting view. Next 2 days we were to be in the village. On reaching itself I realized the 2 days were just too less to enjoy the place. We needed to make the full use of the 2 days.

Its 9 am in the morning and the students are all sitting in their classes with their bags. Meeting all the teachers, principal and the students we had a nice time flashing back the memories to our school days.

Class at Mayurbhanj Public School

Class at Mayurbhanj Public School

We got a warm welcome from them. Observing the classes, discussing on the issues of the school, and the future plans was the agenda of the whole day. Apart from our own school “Mayurbhanj Public School” which has currently classes from class 1 to 4, there is another school running few meters away. This school is for the tribal girls and is from 8 and above. This has a great story behind which I might talk in my next blog. Meeting the girls you will feel they are such a hardworking and very much confident girls. Really the efforts of the founder has produced a good result.

Community school means the whole community should participate in the running of the school. This is the underlying principal on  which the school will run. Continuing this we attended the Parent Teachers meet where all the parents were involved in coming to a solution to the problems the school was facing. It was really encouraging to see the parents taking interest.

How your village visit can be complete without a walk in the evening through the village, have tea at a tea shop, visit the farms. And this was really the village of India which still goes into darkness as soon as sun sets. The whole village was dark with kerosene lamps litting on everyone’s door. Chit chatting on the roof top of the school enjoying the breeze and talking we all had a nice sleep.

An Evening Walk in the Village

An Evening Walk in the Village

Time to go back to our destination. But before that one visit to the Chandipur beach. During high tide you can walk through the sea for 5kms at this beach. Chandipur is an important site as it has a rocket launching station. Tests for various missiles such as Agni, Prithvi, Trishul have been conducted here. Enjoying the high tide and the sea water we were off to our place.

It was a nice holiday and a nice opportunity to meet the students and the other people associated with the school. Time to work more on the initiative. Anyone interested in knowing more about the school, visit or drop us a mail at


For more pics of the school visit


Written by Priyanka Varma

September 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] of travelling for me.  The year had started with a trip to Coorg, two trips to Waynad , visit to Orissa and now to Dandeli. This trip was planned just 2 days before. Giant Wood […]

  2. Good work Priyanka.
    Sreedhar Ambati


    December 27, 2010 at 11:23 am

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