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 volunteer-travel program of 2 to 4 weeks we will visit symbolic places in the North of the country such as Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Puskhar, as well as trekking in the Himalayas and spending a few days in a rural community. 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 lessons, and other activities that will allow you to deeply experience the Indian culture.
• Visit the famous Amber Fort in Jaipur on an elephant.
• Learn to dance bollywood and paint your hands with henna.
• Volunteer on one of the local projects of Jaipur.
• 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.
• 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 later, a visit to the 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. Jaipur is a fusion of old history and modernity. It is popularly known as the Pink City because of the extensive use of the local abundant 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 – 6 (TUESDAY – WEDNESDAY): JAIPUR
In the morning you will do 3 hours of voluntary work. In the afternoon you will participate in cultural activities such as: Bollywood dance and typical & traditional dress styles of India with instructors. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 7 (THURSDAY): 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 8 (FRIDAY): 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 the volunteer house. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAYS 9 – 10 (SATURDAY – SUNDAY): JAIPUR OR UDAIPUR
Free weekend to explore Jaipur. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
Optional Udaipur trip: You would go there straight from Pushkar on day 8. Over there you will visit the City Palace, the Sahelion-ki-bari gardens and the local Museum. In late afternoon you will take a boat ride on Lake Pichola and visit Jag Mandir. On Sunday, there is a stop at Ranakpur, the famous 15th Century Jain Temples, on the way back to Jaipur. (Breakfast both days, Dinner only on Sunday).
DAY 11 (MONDAY): JAIPUR
In the morning you will do 3 hours of voluntary work. In the afternoon you will participate in a cultural activitiy: the famouse Indian art of “Henna making” by local experts. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 12 (TUESDAY): JAIPUR SIGHTSEEING
After having an early breakfast, the day begins by visiting the famous Amber Fort while riding an elephant (optional) to the fort. Later, a bicycle rickshaw ride through the busy streets of Jaipur and experience the “Pink city‟ close-up. Afterwards you will have free time to do shopping in the old “bazaars” of the Pink City. Overnight stay in Jaipur. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 13 (WEDNESDAY): JAIPUR – PATHANKOT (HIMALAYA)
More sightseeing in Jaipur in the morning. Transfer to Jaipur railway station in the afternoon and board your overninght train to Pathankot. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 14 (THURSDAY): ARRIVAL AT PALAMPUR
Transfer from Pathankot railway station to Palampur volunteers’ house. Welcome by the staff of the NGO and orientation with a briefing about your further activities and programme. Overnight stay in Palampur. (Lunch & Dinner).
DAY 15 (FRIDAY): PALAMPUR – 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
Early in the morning, a one hour yoga class, then, after breakfast, transfer to the town of Kangra by Toy Train (narrow gate). Visit of Kangra Fort, and amazing views of the valley of river Banganga and the mountains near Kangra. Later, a visit to Brajeshwari Temple and then return back to Palampur. Overnight stay in volunteer house. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 19 (TUESDAY): KANGRA EXCURSION
Early in the morning, a one hour yoga class before breakfast. In the mid-morning you will start your sightseeing tour in Baijnath Temple. Afterwards, a visit to a monastery and ashram, Adareta Museum and Tea Factory. Overnight stay in Palampur. (Breakfast & Dinner).
DAY 20 (WEDNESDAY): PALAMPUR – DELHI
Early in the morning, a one hour yoga class before breakfast. The morning is then free to explore the city on your own. 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 breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. Later on, visit the amazing Lotus temple; this distinctive lotus shaped 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. Pick up at Goa airport and transfer to the volunteers’ house. After arrival, introduction with the staff & settling into the accommodation. Overnight stay at volunteer house. (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
After breakfast, volunteer work in one of the projects of the local communities for 3 hours. Afternoons are free to go to the beach and other activities. 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 had to pick one to announce the trip but it is not the only one. 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]