I was looking forward to this YAP tour of the South of India. My parents had visited India for the HYM in October last year and they were impressed by the beauty and diversity that such a country can offer. I could not say no to such an opportunity and not visit India.
I arrived at Bengaluru Airport on the morning of the 16th July. I was not aware that all Yappers were on the same flight. We formally introduced ourselves to each other. The Yappers for this tour were Daniel Lackner from Austria, Josefine Jensen, Oliver Hojaard and Oliver Brixgaard from Denmark, Ann-Kathrin Krug and Sophia Nietiedt from Germany, Eline Thuysbaert and Victoria Dozot from Belgium and myself.
Our first day was dedicated to touring the beautiful city of Bengaluru. Our first attraction was Bangalore Palace, which was built in 1878 in Tudor style architecture with fortified towers, battlements and turrets. Our next stop was to see some governmental buildings such as the parliament and the court house. The second day in Bengaluru was more interesting as we went to see some wild animals in a zoo, a butterfly park and we went on a safari. Our third and last day in Bengaluru we went to a University called Christ Church where we had an exchange with the students discussing our education system of our respective countries. On the same day, we met the President of the 41 Clubs of India Mr. Gopal Chopra who gave us a warm welcome as well as gave each of us a gift and a banner. We then had to say goodbye our lovely host families and headed to Hampi.
Hampi is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Hampi we toured around many beautiful temples. It was an experience to remember. At the end of our visit to Hampi, we then proceeded to depart for Mysore and had to catch an overnight train.
When we arrived in the morning we went to see Mysore Palace and after that we went to see a zoo. Our second day in Mysore was exciting as we visited an elephant camp and after we went river rafting. In the evening we attended the AGM of the Hearty-Forty 118 club, where we got the opportunity to introduce ourselves and the chairman gave us a gift he remarked that we were the first Yappers to attend the AGM. On our last day in Mysore in the morning we visited a bird sanctuary park and in the evening we went to see a brightly illuminated Mysore Palace. We could compare morning and evening and both were great experiences.
Our next stop was Coimbatore and we arrived at this city by bus. In Coimbatore we went to visit the Dhyanaling temple where we had the experience to meditate with the locals in front of their God Shiva. We also had a Theerthakund experience at the “pool” where our bodies would be healed from all of our sins. We then moved on to our next city which was Salem. On our first day we went to see a textile factory and after that we had the opportunity to play laser tag. The following morning we visited a coffee plantation and in the afternoon we went to the pool of one of the host and relaxed. In the evening we had a social dinner together.
We travelled to our next city Chennai by bus, where we spent the day with the 41’ers children who took us to swim in a pool. To end our day in style, that evening they organised for all of us Yappers to go and enjoy ourselves at a club. The next day we did some sightseeing visited the Fort of St. George which was occupied by the French. We also visited a chapel dedicated to St. Mary, also located within the fort. We then went on to visit the Cathedral dedicated to St. Thomas and in the afternoon we went to see a small temple.
Our final destination was Hyderabad and we travelled to this city by aeroplane. When we arrived, we rested for most of the day. However, in the evening we had a social gathering. In Hyderabad we were taken to visit a company called Thub which is India’s largest incubator for startups and helps entrepreneurs on their journey to success. We also visited another company called DQ Entertainment which is an animation studio where they produce animation for movies of big companies like Disney and Nickelodeon. On our final day, we spent our morning touring more beautiful temples and in the afternoon we split into two groups where one group went shopping and the other group went to a sports bar to play some biliards. In the evening we had our last dinner and we all said our goodbyes.
It was a memorable experience for me with experiences to last me a lifetime. All the Yappers gelled well together and I have made friends for life. I wish to take this opportunity to thank 41 International for the opportunity to go on trips such as this. In my view, this was not simply a vacation, but more of an educational trip.
On a parting note, I want to say a special BIG THANK YOU to Mr Pankaj Singh and all of our hosts and their families of this South India YAP tour for taking excellent care of all of us as well as ensuring that all of us Yappers had an amazing time. I recommend this experience to anybody.
Yours in International Friendship,
Carl Abela (Malta)