India 2013 - Day Seven (penultimate day of activities!)

We had an especially early start this morning (so early that breakfast wasn't even ready to be served so we had to have a breakfast packed up to take with us on the bus!) and, although the day began fairly cool and cloudy again, the sun soon broke through and it turned out to be another blistering hot day!

The drive to Chandigarh took over three hours but it gave us a good opportunity to speak to the teachers who were accompanying us on the trip and see some more of the fascinating sights on and beside the roads here.

First we visited another school, Golden Bells Public School, in Mohali. We were greeted with a very warm welcome; bindis put on our foreheads, petals sprinkled at us and garlands placed around our necks. We met with the chairman of the school (Lt Col C S Bawa) who owns and runs the school wth the help of his wife (acting as principal) and his family. He gave us some food and then took us on a tour of the school.

This school was diffrent to the others which we have seen as it has some children who come from such a distance that they board there. We saw the living area where the children stay and found out that the children who board stay for the whole term before returning home and some of those who do this are as young as four years old!

Some children from the school gave us a short dance performance and teachers shared some kind words about their pleasure in hosting us at their school. We were very touched.

After this we moved on to the market at sector 22. Chandigarh is a very organised place which has been divided into sectors, each housing different facilities; schools, hospitals, markets etc. and we also noticed that the road discipline in Chandigarh is much better with people using lanes and following traffic signals!

Having looked around the market at all the suits, saris, shoes and jewellry for sale (and managing to resist any purchases, keeping our luggage restirctions in mind!) we moved on to the famous Rock Garden. This is a sculpture garden, also known as Nek Chand's Rock Garden after its founder Nek Chand, a government official who started the garden secretly in his spare time in 1957. The garden was created entirely from waste (crockery, electrical sockets, bracelets etc.) and is incredible to look around. We took a lot of pictures!

We then had lunch in the market area of sector 17. For lunch, we went to the fast food restaurant "Hot Millions" which is a famous brand in North India offering a whole range of foods from around the world. t was the original fast food restuarant here before the arrival of the chains we know such as; Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway and McDonald's. We both had a paneer burger to try and continue our indian dining!

On the way back to Jalandhar, we stopped at the Harappan ruins museum which archaeological display showing finds from thousands of years ago in India. It was inteersting to look at the coins, weapons and pottery from the anient civilisations here.

We are now back at the hotel and are organising ourselves (and our cases!) as we have a very busy final day ahead of us before leaving early on Friday morning. We have thoroughly enjoyed our few days of sight seeing but are very excited to be back at Bawa Lalvani for our last day and are looking forward to working alongside the staff and children again.


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