“We gazed fearfully into a deep water hole of the elephants, tread on real and imaginary elephant footprints with great awe, and negotiated mounds and mounds of elephant dung. It was quite a climb. We waded through narrow gaps in the shrubs, sometimes getting stung by thorns and other times tripping up and down endless flights of roughly hewn stone steps.”
“After nearly two hours without a break, we reached a plateau in the rock face. A glorious breath-taking view of the surrounding hills opened up in front of us. It worked like a charm to soothe our tired limbs, and the plateau offered a resting place. This thrilling experience shall remain indelible in our memory.”
Prof. Arun Sekar, visiting faculty at the Amrita School of Business, together with his wife Radha, and several students and faculty of the Coimbatore campus was not in some far-off exotic place, when he made these observations.
With the group, he was trekking in the hills around the campus. Recently the students and faculty have together gone on many such treks. Typically they begin after breakfast on a Sunday morning and finish by lunch time.
“These half-day treks are a real stress buster for us,” stated Anoop T. K., second-year student of MCA at the campus.
Added classmate Peddiraju Vinay, “Our campus is plush green. But now we are also able to enjoy and cherish the beauty of these nearby hills. And the best thing is that its not only the students, even our faculty members are just as enthusiastic about the treks.”
Swami Samarpanananda, yoga instructor at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus, is helping organize the treks.
When asked why a yoga instructor would take interest in such activities, he replied, “When we say yoga, the thought that most people have is that of asanas. But truly speaking, yoga is a way of life that encourages a fit body and a sound mind. These treks are a great way to not only exercise the body but also relax and nourish the mind.”
“These treks help students have a better awareness of the surroundings. Not only that, they help bring out the values in them that we seek to inculcate, and provide them training to be in the present moment. While hiking up the hills, the mind is totally focussed on the task at hand i.e. carefully moving ahead.”
“We make sure that we respect the environment and leave no trace behind of our visit. We even collect plastic wrappers and other waste left behind by the army cadets who frequent the hills as part of their training. When the students see their faculty members setting an example by picking up this trash, they also join in without any hesitation.”
The Center for Environmental Studies at the campus that has played a major role in the greening of these hills over time, co-organized these trips.
The Center is now planning a certification program for these treks that would also impart knowledge essential for the protection of Mother Nature.
Encouraged by the overwhelming response from students and faculty members, the organizers are now committed to making these more even more fulfilling for them.
February 18, 2012