Get to know the real India on this feature packed three-week trip with an optional extra week to explore and party on the beaches in Goa. You will get a taste of the rich Indian lifestyle where you engage yourself in meaningful volunteer work and travel to some of the most exotic locations in Northern India.
During your time here you will get to see diverse and breath-taking landscapes; from snow-capped Himalayan Mountains, jungles, crowded cities to deserted beaches.
This extensive trip will connect you to the cultural, historical and popular highlights of India where you get to visit cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Dharamshala and the Golden Temple City of Amritsar.
Spend time volunteering in day centres and orphanages in Delhi and Palampur where you will get to teach, play and of course have fun with the children! Walk down the bustling bazaars and streets of Delhi that are perfect for trying some mouth-watering cuisine and breathe in the pristine surroundings of the Himalayas as you arrive into Palampur.
Experience the bliss of visiting the monument of love and 7th wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal as well as lots of other exciting places of interest, including; the India Gate, Humayuns Tomb, Jaipur (Pink City), Agra, Golden Temple of Amritsar and lots more!
Our structured itinerary will allow you to make the most of your trip, taking in the famous and best sights as well as the not so known local treasures. Our local coordinator will accompany you throughout your stay, so you can learn all about the local culture and history.
India is the seventh largest country in the world and home to more than a billion people. See its rich culture, multiple regions and magnificent architecture.
The India Summer Experience has several start dates throughout the summer. These are 23rd June 2018, 7th July 2018, 21st July 2018, 4th August 2018 and 18th August 2018. In 2019 the dates will be 8th June 2019, 22nd June 2019, 6th July 2019, 20th July 2019, 3rd August 2019 and 17th August 2019.
Day 1 – Arrival
Your amazing journey is about to begin! Our local team member will be waiting for you at the airport, where you will then be transferred to your accommodation. Depending on what time you arrive, you will have the rest of the day to relax and meet everyone else.
Day 2 – Orientation and Sightseeing
After breakfast, everyone will gather around and have their orientation that will provide the project itinerary, information about your trip that awaits and general safety advice.
You will then head on out to start your adventure! Now is your time to explore the hustle and bustle of the capital Delhi, where you will get an extensive tour of the city and visit historical monuments like Qutub Minar, India Gate, Lotus Temple and Humayun’s Tomb.
Days 3 to 7 – Volunteering and Explorations
Today is your first day of volunteering and our local co-ordinator will accompany you to one of our project sites in Delhi. Spending the week in one of our care centres / orphanages, your time and dedication will help to provide the love and care these children need. You will provide informal education classes, play games and get involved with other creative activities. You can find out more information here.
Day 6 – Akshardham Temple
One of the most memorable experiences for all volunteers, you will visit the Akshardham Temple. This beautiful temple has lots of spiritual significance, breath-taking architecture and you can even witness the fascinating water show.
Day 8 – Exploring Delhi and Travelling
You will have the day to explore Delhi and its bustling bazaars and streets where you can purchase souvenirs and taste some mouth-watering Indian cuisine.
Once the evening sets in, everyone will board the overnight bus to the Himalayan town of Palampur.
Day 9 – Welcome to Palampur
You will awake in Palampur, a small town located at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains. Breathe in the fresh air and admire the pristine surroundings in this beautiful rural town.
Once settled in to your accommodation, our local team will take you on a tour of the town showing you the local markets, shopping centres and ATMs.
Spend the evening on the volunteer house rooftop where you can watch the sunset over a surreal backdrop of snow-capped mountains and tea plantations.
Days 10 – 14 – Volunteering
Spend your mornings volunteering in a day care centre where you will get to teach and have fun with all of the local children. Get competitive with sports, teach English, play on the swings and even get creative with arts and crafts!
From 14:00 each day, you will have plenty of free time to visit the local markets, visit the nearby monasteries, eat way to much local food and experience the countryside living in India. Back at the house you can spend time playing badminton or even get involved with the regular yoga class on the rooftop!
Days 15 & 16 – Trekking in the Himalayas
One of our personal highlights, you will get to trek through the Himalayan Mountains towards Mcleod Ganj along the famous 10km Triund trek.
Around every corner you will be greeted with another stunning view of snow clad mountains, lush green tea plantations and so much more! Camping out overnight is a once in a lifetime experience!
Once you reach Mcleod Ganj you will have the rest of the day to relax and explore the local area. Famous for its spiritual importance, you can visit the Dalai Lama Temple, learns lots about Buddhism and make friends with the Tibetan locals.
Day 17 – Golden Temple, Amritsar
Continuing your journey, you will reach Amristar which is home to the Golden Temple – the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. You will get to experience it both during the day and night when it becomes illuminated! Along the way you will also see the Jallianwala Bagh, where you will learn all about it’s sad history.
There will be plenty of time to spend in Amristar where you can taste even more local food and you could maybe even try eating at the ‘Langar” inside the Golden Temple.
Day 18 – Travelling
The only day where travelling takes up the majority of time, but believe me, it’s worth it! Travelling by train back to Delhi you will get to see incredible views across India. Once you arrive into Delhi, you will change over to a mini-bus and continue onto Agra via the Taj Expressway.
After checking into the hotel, you will need to get a good nights sleep as you will be up nice and early in the morning!
Day 19 – The Taj Mahal
Well it’s time to see the most iconic building in India, if not the world – The Taj Mahal. This monument of love and the most beautiful wonder of the world will leave you speechless!
Afterwards, you will be transported to Jaipur that is commonly known as the royal and beautiful pink city of India.
Day 20 – Sightseeing and Elephants
You have a busy day ahead that starts with a visit to the amazing City Palace in Jaipur. Later, you will get the incredible experience of getting up close and feeding elephants in the local elephant village. You will learn all about the mahouts and get to interact with the local families.
During the evening you will attend a cultural show where you get to enjoy live local folk music and food.
Day 21 – Amber Fort
Today you will travel to the historic Amber Fort, stopping to take photos at the beautiful “Hawa Mahal” – palace of winds.
You will have the opportunity to explore Amber Fort, which is an important symbol of previous rulerships and is an attractive and opulent palace.
After another busy day, you will make your way back to Delhi and check into your hotel for your last nights stay.
Day 22 – Last Day / Travel To Goa
Unfortunately, your amazing journey has come to an end. It’s time to travel back to the airpot to head home or onto your next destination. If you are staying on for the additional Goa week then let the party begin! You will fly to Goa from Delhi Airport and will then be transferred to your hotel for your chance to settle in and relax.
Day 23 – Free Day
The day is your’s to spend soaking up the sun on the pristine golden sand beaches and enjoying some more of the local cuisines.
Day 24 – Sightseeing Tour
Today you will enjoy a panoramic tour of South Goa where yo will visit the Church of Old Goa, Dona Paula and the capital city Panaji.
Days 25 – 27 – Free Time
The rest of your time in Goa will be for you to explore and relax at your own pace. Known for it’s party atmosphere, you can dance well into the night at one of the many beach bars / clubs.
Day 28 – Last Day
You will be transported to Goa Airport where you will then make your way home or continue your journey.
Please note, some monuments and attractions require an entry fee that you are required to pay directly. We recommend that you bring at least $40 to cover any of these fees. Not all meals are included during your time here, please ensure you allow an additional $30 per week for food.
While volunteering you will be staying at our accommodation houses that are simple, clean and comfortable. You will be sharing with up to 3 other volunteers in bunk beds within same-sex rooms.
During your travels you will be staying in comfortable hotels staying in twin same-sex rooms with an en-suite bathroom.
The majority of meals are included within the programme fee. Meals are aimed to be as varied as possible across the week and include many traditional Indian cuisine. You can expect some of the following meals:
Breakfast – Toast, string hoppers, fresh fruits, tea, milk
Dinner – Noodles, pasta, hoppers
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 18 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it does not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should land into Indira Gandhi International Airport (New Delhi – DEL) on your selected start date.
Please ensure your flight arrives between 06:30 and 22:00 to ensure the airport pickup is included within your fee.
On your last day you will need to travel back to the airport for your onwards journey. The return transfer is not included within the programme fee but our local team can arrange this for you.
Are there any age restrictions?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 17 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 – 25, although this is by no means definitive.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise all volunteers to apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates.
Generally speaking, you need to book at least 60 days before your programme start date, although if you are wanting to apply after this, please contact us and we will do our best.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback, we believe 4 – 6 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved in the placement. This also allows you to make the most of free time and explore the local areas and participate in any activities.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are.
The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
You can travel and volunteer with friends, family and / or your partner.
If you are wanting to request to stay in the same accommodation please outline this in the special requirements section within the application form.
Is it safe to travel to these destinations?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of $129 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application was successful.
How do I arrange my travel insurance?
We have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy that is suitable for all of the programmes we offer. You will receive information about this policy along with your volunteer handbook.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try our best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that affect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. Its recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that $50 – $100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week..
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.
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