India has always been a great travel destination due to its exoticism, mysticism and its rich cultural heritage. Despite having experienced a great economic growth in the last few years, there are still social inequalities and poverty. On our Indian experience program of 2 to 4 weeks we will visit symbolic places in the North of the country such as Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Puskhar and Amritsar as well as trekking in the Himalayas. In Jaipur you will participate in a volunteer program of your choice for a few days. During the last week you will travel to Goa to do more volunteering, as well as enjoying the exotic beaches. We have prepared this trip with an Indian NGO that has many social projects where international volunteers participate. You will not only volunteer and travel, but also attend talks about the Indian culture and language, practise yoga and take dancing and cooking lessons, among other activities that will allow you to deeply experience the Indian culture.
• Visit the famous Amber Fort and other tourist attractions in Jaipur while volunteering in local projects.
• Learn to dance bollywood and paint your hands with henna.
• Visit the Thar Desert on a camel and spend a night under the stars.
• Be blown away by the Taj Mahal, the most popular and beautiful heritage site in India.
• Visit the amazing Golden Temple in Amritsar and watch the retreat ceremony in the Indo-Pak Border.
• Discover McLeod Ganj, its Tibetan markets, the Dalai Lama Temple and other nearby temples surrounded by nature.
• Trekking in the Himalayas and camping.
• Enjoy the exotic Goa beaches while you volunteer in a community.
The basic package is for two weeks, but it is possible to do it for three weeks or for four weeks.
DAY 1 (FRIDAY): ARRIVAL AT DELHI AIRPORT
Welcome and pick up at the international airport of Delhi by one of the organisation reps. Transfer to the volunteers’ house in Delhi. (Meals included depending on your arrival time).
DAY 2 (SATURDAY): FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING OF DELHI
After breakfast a sightseeing tour of New Delhi including some important cultural symbols of India. Drive past through impressive India Gate, Parliament house and President’s Palace. At greater ease visit of Raj Ghat, the memorial built in honor of Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation. Later on, visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a Sikh temple to learn about the youngest religion of the world and absorb some of the special atmosphere around this beautiful and serene holy shrine. (Breakfast & dinner).
DAY 3 (SUNDAY): DELHI – AGRA
After breakfast, an early morning transfer to Agra. On arrival, check into the hotel and then a visit to the red sandstone Agra Fort with its beautiful palaces, mosques and gardens. Later on, a visit to Taj Mahal, the most famous part of Indian heritage and an essential symbol of love and romance. Guided visit and free time to enjoy it later. Overnight at Agra hotel. (Breakfast).
DAY 4 (MONDAY): AGRA – JAIPUR
Start the day with an early breakfast and then drive to Jaipur, about 5 hours. On the way, we will visit Abhaneri step walls and Chand Baori which is considered one of the largest and deepest step wells in India. After that we will visit Harshat Mata Temple, a medieval temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. At the end of the day we will arrive at Jaipur, the Pink City where many buildings were made with the pink plastered stone. Jaipur thrills the soul with its massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples and lush gardens. Upon arrival, visit the NGO office for a small orientation with a briefing about your activities and programme. After orientation, transfer and check-in at the volunteer house in Jaipur. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAYS 5 – 8 (TUESDAY – FRIDAY): JAIPUR
In the morning you will do 5 hours of voluntary work. In the afternoon or evening you will participate in cultural activities such as: Bollywood dance, Henna making, typical & traditional dress styles of India and a dinner with a local family. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 9 (SATURDAY): JAIPUR SIGHTSEEING
After having an early breakfast, the day begins by visiting the famous Amber Fort where you will take a guided tour. Mid-morning visit to Nahargarh fort, standing tall amidst the Aravalli range, is the pride of the city of Jaipur. Along with Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh acted as a defensive circle to guard the city of Jaipur. In the afternoon visit the Jal Mahal or water palace, an intrinsic example of Indo-Mughal architecture, by the waters of Man Sagar Lake. Later, a bicycle rickshaw ride through the busy streets of Jaipur and some free time to do shopping in the old “bazaars”. Afterwards, visit to Galta Ji (monkey temple), 10 km to the east of Jaipur. Continue visit to the Birla Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Overnight at accommodation. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 10 (SUNDAY): JAIPUR – PUSHKAR
After breakfast we will travel to Pushkar, one of the holiest pilgrimages for Hindus and the only place in India with a temple dedicated to the “Creator‟ God Brahma. On arrival in Pushkar, we will take a camel safari atop the “ship of the desert” going through the Thar Desert. Our safari concludes in a tent where we can enjoy a clear view of the star-lit night sky. Dinner & overnight. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 11 (MONDAY): PUSHKAR – JAIPUR
After breakfast, return to Pushkar and later, a leisurely guided tour of Pushkar town with its small lanes, colourful markets, but most importantly, the steps to the Holy Lake and about 500 temples. Our tour will conclude with a visit to Lord Brahma’s temple, the creator God for the Hindu people. Later in the afternoon, transfer to Jaipur. Overnight stay at accommodation. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 12 (TUESDAY): JAIPUR
You will be at leisure in the morning and at mid-morning you will watch a Bollywood movie in a theater. In the late afternoon you will go for vegetable shopping in a typical Indian market and then do a cooking class of traditional Indian cuisine. Overnight stay at accommodation. (Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 13 (WEDNESDAY): JAIPUR – AMRITSAR
You will be at leisure all day until the night when you will take an overnight train to Amritsar (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 14 (THURSDAY): AMRITSAR
On arrival to Amritsar, transfer to your accommodation. Visit the stunning Golden Temple which is situated in the center of the waters of the holy tank. Later on, visit to the Indo-Pak Border (Wagha Border) to watch retreat ceremony. Simultaneously flags of the two nations are ceremoniously retrieved and lights are switched on marking the end of the day.
DAY 15 (FRIDAY): AMRITSAR – McLEOD GANJ
After breakfast, drive to McLeod Ganj (1768m) and visit the Waterfall & Bhagsunath Temple. This is a tranquil medieval temple, surrounded by pools, and is considered sacred by Hindu devotees. It is located in Bhagsu village, 3km from McLeod Ganj. Next, visit the local market of McLeod Ganj, and the Dalai Lama Temple that houses the Namgyal Monastery and shrine rooms. Overnight stay in McLeod Ganj. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 16 (SATURDAY): McLEOD GANJ
Early in the morning we start trekking in the mountains with our guide. It is a beautiful walk through mixed forests of deodar, oak and rhododendron. Our camping spot will give us a panoramic view of the snowcapped mountain peaks of the Himalayas. Overnight stay in tents. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 17 (SUNDAY): McLEOD GANJ – PALAMPUR
After breakfast we will start trekking down to McLeod Ganj. We will have lunch when we get there. After lunch, drive back to Palampur. Overnight stay at volunteer house. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 18 (MONDAY): PALAMPUR – KANGRA – PALAMPUR
Transfer to the town of Kangra and visit of Kangra Fort, with amazing views of the valley of river Banganga and the mountains near Kangra. Later, a visit to Baijnath Temple and the monastery and ashram Adareta Museum. Afterwards, drive to Bir for paragliding. Surrounded by tea gardens and an amphitheater of low hills, is an ideal landing around for para-gliders. Bir has also Buddhist Monasteries that are worth visiting. Return back to Palampur. Overnight at accommodation. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 19 (TUESDAY): PALAMPUR
Visit the local market at Palampur at mid-morning. Free afternoon. Overnight stay at accommodation (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 20 (WEDNESDAY): PALAMPUR – DELHI
Morning at your leisure to explore this fascinating green hamlet surrounded with tea gardens and glittering with abundance of water bodies. After lunch, drive down to Amb railway station to board your overnight train to Delhi. Overnight stay on train. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 21 (THURSDAY): DELHI
Transfer from Delhi railway station to volunteers’ house. After breakfast, you will visit the Akshardham Temple, which means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God. Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss.breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. Later on, visit the amazing Lotus temple; Later on, visit the amazing Lotus temple. This distinctive lotus shaped marvel in marble is surrounded by a landscaped garden and is a symbol of peace.
DAY 22 (FRIDAY): DELHI TO GOA
Transfer from Delhi railway station to Delhi airport to catch flight to Goa, which is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 16th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is also known for its beaches and laid-back fishing villages such as Agonda. Pick up at Goa airport and transfer to the volunteers’ house. After arrival, introduction with the staff & settling into the accommodation. (Dinner).
DAY 23 – 24 (SATURDAY – SUNDAY): GOA
You are at leisure to explore the beautiful beaches of Goa on your own. Overnight stay at accommodation. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
DAYS 25 – 28 (MONDAY TO THURSDAY): GOA
Early in the morning, an hour yoga & meditation session at the accommodation. After breakfast, voluntary work in one of the projects of the local communities for 6 hours in the morning and afternoon. Overnight stay at Goa volunteer house. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 29 (FRIDAY): RETURN TO DELHI AND END OF THE TRIP
In the morning, transfer to Goa airport for your flight to Delhi. In Delhi everyone will wait for their international flight to go back home. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner as per your departure timing).
Volunteering activities offered in the programme:
– Renovation and beautification projects in schools and day care centres for children.
– Fun fair projects for the children.
– Creative art workshop with children (drawing and painting, music, dancing, toy making…).
The price varies depending on the number of weeks that you choose to do.
2 weeks: £800
3 weeks: £1070
Full package (4 weeks): £1,300
Goa flight: £110
This price includes:
– Guide and coordination of the trip.
– All transfers and transport during the itinerary.
– All the tours mentioned in the itinerary.
– Accommodation for all the nights of the program.
– All the meals mentioned in the itinerary.
– Entrance to all the monuments mentioned in the itinerary and guided tours.
– Voluntary work.
– All the cultural activities.
This price does not include:
– Flights: Everyone has to book their own flight. In the case of Goa, this internal flight is not included in the price.
– Visa: The application process and cost are responsibility of every participant.
– Personal travel insurance.
– Meals: The meals not mentioned in the itinerary and drinks (except for the ones offered at the volunteers houses).
This trip is done twice per month so there are many dates to choose. I am not going with the group but there is a tour leader in the destination. You will join a international group of different people over there so there is no need of getting a minimum number of participants from us. Let me know which month you want to go and I will give you exact dates.
For more information contact Belen: [masked]