We read about the Saraswati Mahal Library in Thanjavur, and we visit it and go through the extensive library containing various sorts of ancient books, palm-leaf manuscripts, and our visit adds a lot of information to our knowledge about one of the oldest libraries. Excursions are a must in a school curriculum. An actual visit to a place of historical or cultural interest supplements our knowledge about it.
That is why excursions play a vital role in the educational system. Nowadays students are taken even abroad for an on-the-spot study of the lifestyle of a nation which is entirely different from ours. I heard of a trip to Singapore for students of Plus II class of a school by plane. This is a great improvement in the concept of taking students on excursions. Even a dull, listless student turns enthusiastic and mixes with his schoolmates when he is on an excursion. Even adults need diversions, fun and excitement.
So outdoor activities like going on an excursion is vital to everyone, especially to the students. Our school arranged an excursion to the cool Ooty and Kodaikanal to escape from the heat of Chennai summer. We went by bus up to Mettupalayam from where the hill train is run up to Ooty.
Journey by the hill train is most pleasant. All along the route we found a range of hills and small streams over which bridges have been built. Now and then the train passes through small tunnels when lights in the train are switched on as it is quite dark. The scenery on both sides while we journey is breathtaking. We arrived at Ooty and we were accommodated in a big hotel. We went to the Botanical Garden where various sorts of flowers including varieties of roses, some yellow, some rosy, some red, some white, were on display. Ooty was very cool and it had a very pleasant atmosphere. Ooty is called the queen of the hill stations.
Ooty and Kodaikanal are in the Nigeria range of hills. There are many waterfalls in and around Ooty and Kodaikanal. There were hundreds of tourists in Ooty and Kodaikanal. Even foreigners come to Ooty and Kodaikanal during the summer season. Ooty was first discovered by an Englishman and the British Governors used to camp in Ooty during summer. Kodaikanal is as good a hill station as Ooty.
Vegetables like potato, turnip, tomato, lettuce and so on are grown in Ooty and Kodaikanal. There are many coffee estates in both the places. Coffee plants are grown on the slopes of the hills. Cool climate is essential for the growth of coffee and tea.
Hundreds of men and women work in the coffee and tea estates. Eucalyptus trees are grown abundantly in Ooty and Kodaikanal and the eucalyptus oil sold in the hill stations has a special quality. There are wildlife sanctuaries around Ooty. The Mudhumalai Wildlife Sanctuary which has all kinds of wildlife is on the route to my sore from Ooty. Traveling by a vehicle, we can spot elephants, peacocks and some other birds.
The excursion we undertook was most enjoyable and instructive. The Thomas of the niliris is an ancient tribal people. They live high up on the hills and their customs and beliefs are peculiar. They consider the buffalo sacred. As all the tribal people they too want to live secluded from the urban area.