Friday, June 25, 2010

Visit to Mysore

Last Friday Medalis and I traveled to Mysore, a neighboring city in Karnataka which is approximately three hours from Bangalore. SVYM is centered in Saragur, a small village about an hour outside of Mysore. The organization has several facilities in Mysore, including the youth hostel we stayed at, where many master’s students and international students of the Vivekananda Institute of India Studies live for the duration of their studies.

We arrived in the evening and visited St. Philomena’s Church and the stunning, illuminated Mysore Palace. Early on Saturday morning, we drove to Saragur and were joined at the central SVYM hospital for breakfast by Dr. R. Balasubramaniam (Balu). After touring the hospital, we visited the nearby Viveka School of Excellence. Medalis and I were both amazed at the comprehensive variety of services offered at SVYM’s extensive facilities in Saragur.

In the afternoon we traveled to the Vivekananda Memorial Hospital at Kenchanahalli, about twenty minutes from Saragur. The hospital provides a combination of western and ayurvedic medicine, catering primarily to the surrounding tribal population. The final stop on our excursion was the Viveka Tribal Center for Learning at Hosahalli, where approximately 400 tribal children live and learn. The tribal school bridges India’s most traditional populations with modern education. One section of the school features a cluster of open-sided hexagonal buildings, somewhat resembling huts. Students can literally climb in and out of the classroom, returning to their villages when necessary and attending school whenever possible.

On Sunday, Medalis and I toured the inside of Mysore Palace and visited the Chamundeshwari Temple atop Chamundi Hill. On Sunday night, Dr. Balu and three other visiting Cornellians joined us for dinner at the hostel. We returned to Bangalore very early on Monday morning.

Our trip to Mysore exposed us to the enormity of SVYM’s endeavors. Witnessing the scope of their projects was awe-inspiring. Dr. Balu is a remarkable man whose vibrancy and humility have withstood his 25-year journey building SVYM, and whose vision has served millions. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play a role in this extraordinary organization.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Eva and Medalis:
    I am sure you are enjoying your work at SVYM. It is a great organization and is being led by a wonderful set of principles of democratic governance. Dr. Balu was my mentor in India and I attribute my success to SVYM. I am sure there is a lot you will learn and I am hoping this will be truly benificial for your futures. I am currently tied up with several grant writing assignments and will become available for a chat or a phone conference with you all. I am so excited to know you were in Mysore. I went to medical school there and I have some very dear friends and families in Mysore as well. Keep up your postings... makes me feel nostalgic about my motherland.
    Arun Karpur