Born and brought up in the scenic state of Jammu and Kashmir, 23 school students and two teachers got an opportunity to travel all the way to the beautiful and salubrious Blue Mountains, thanks to the Indian Army.
After spending three memorable days in the Nilgiris as guests of the Wellington-based Madras Regimental Centre (MRC), the students belonging to different strata of the society and studying in classes 8 to 10 at the Government High School in Mahori of Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir will head home on Saturday.
Till about a year ago, Mahori was affected by militancy.
The education tour, which started on November 15, has been facilitated by the Indian Army as part of Operation Sadbhavana, a welfare project launched by it in the far-flung border areas of the country.
The tour in-charge Major R.K. Anand told The Hindu that the objective of the tour was to provide an opportunity to the students to interact with the people and acquaint themselves with the culture and traditions of South India. By train and bus they visited places like Bangalore and Coimbatore before coming here.
In keeping with the objective, they visited the Lawrence School in Lovedale where they interacted with a number of students and their teachers. They also visited many tourist spots including the Sim's Park, the Dolphin's Nose and Lady Canning's Seat in Coonoor and places like the Government Botanical Garden here.
He added that the visitors were thrilled with the museum at MRC and a display of martial arts by the thambis (jawans) of the centre.
A tour of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington was also organized for them. Officers hoped that they would make the optimum use of the opportunity provided to them to gain first-hand knowledge of life in the South and always carry with them the message of peace and harmony.