Written by Phoebe S, Year 13 student.

Tashi Delek

A group of sixth form students have recently returned from a two week adventure to the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The group were based in a Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, at the incredible Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, which became their home for the duration of their visit. The monastery holds close ties with Queen Elizabeth High School and has done for many years. We are the only school group that has the privilege of visiting this Tibetan settlement, or any Tibetan settlement we think, where we are able to secure permits allowing us into this closely protected area.

In India, the students gained knowledge and understanding of the Tibetan culture and Buddhist religion and became an integral part of the community for two weeks. The students felt so privileged to be able to take part in a whole host of activities, such as: visiting Tibetan and Hindu temples and surrounding communities; tasting a range of delicious Tibetan and Indian food; meeting up with their penpals at TCV school; being part of school life in two schools; holding an Easter egg hunt for the young monks; washing and feeding elephants; visiting a coffee plantation in the nearby Indian hill station of Madekiri, visiting Mysore’s maharaja’s palace and market to name just a few. The photos below will give a flavour of the visit.

One of the highlights of the trip was when the group spilt into pairs and bravely taught lessons in the monastic school, which they found to be challenging but great fun and where they taught a whole range of topics that would make their teachers at QE proud. The students were able to show their appreciation for the hospitality shown to them by the community by giving a much appreciated donation to the school, which will be used to kit out the school with text books and stationery. Well done to everyone for their year-long fundraising efforts and thanks to all those who have supported us along the way.

Now we are back home and reflecting on our adventure it is so difficult to put into words the amazing experience we have had. We will however try to by showing a film of our adventure which we will present to all of the year groups and at a special film night for parents, friends and interested people so that they can experience a little bit of Tibet in India. Dates yet to be arranged.

Click on the thumbnails below to see more photos from the trip: