The idea to conduct the first ever Heritage Walk in Gramiksha arose by chance, but it turned out to be one of our most popular events. Under our project, Udaan, volunteers from Gramiksha go to teach children from underprivileged and backward backgrounds in government schools we have adopted. In this process, our volunteers end up learning more from their daily interaction with these innocent minds than they in fact teach them in classrooms. On one such occasion, a volunteer from Gramiksha Jaipur happened to bring up the world famous Amber and Nahargarh Forts in their discussions with kids, and was extremely surprised to hear that most of the children had never visited them. In fact most of the children had barely even ventured into urban Jaipur city! This realisation gave birth to Heritage Walk, an initiative by Gramiksha to take some of the children we teach on a day out to Nahargarh and Amber forts in Jaipur.
On the crisp morning of 13th
January, our volunteers filled a bus with some of the teachers and, of course, the students of one of the schools. We received another surprise in the very morning itself when the teachers told us that this was the first time many of the children were sitting in a bus. The kids seemed visibly over the moon about the prospect of traveling via bus to admire the iconic monuments that were hallmarks of Jaipur city. This was a true eye-opener for us.
After absorbing the various sights of the Pink City from the bus, our little entourage disembarked at Amber fort. Each of the children was star struck on seeing the enormity of the fort in its first look itself. As we entered the Fort premises, the crowd of kids became quite difficult to manage, such was their excitement on exploring the fort with their bhaiyas and didis. They were radiating everywhere, fascinated by everything; curious to know, eager to learn. The children almost seemed to be touching and feeling everything around them, taking in as much of the fort as their senses could handle.
We guided the kids around the Forts, recounting stories and anecdotes about their history. The children questioned us repeatedly, and the most seemingly ordinary of sights piqued their curiosities. From the very peak of the fort, the little children were overwhelmed by the view before them, and could not understand how they could possibly be so high up!
Among great competition, probably the most gratifying moment of the day for us was the look on the children’s faces on our way back. The way they looked at us conveyed a much greater Thank You than any words could have. As usual, we all learned far more than we could have expected. What we take for granted, the children enjoyed and appreciated to the fullest, with a genuine glint of joy in their eyes and a smile on their faces. They cherish life’s simplest pleasures, pleasures we don’t care to think about twice. Every step of the Heritage Walk brought a bigger smile to the faces of our volunteers and their Udaan students, and the most difficult part of the day was its end. We should truly feel privileged to have the opportunity to work so closely with the underprivileged, and this day is a small step in this direction, which will never be forgotten.
To catch a glimpse of Heritage Walk click here