India Explorer Tour & Volunteer
This is an Eco – travel project that lets you visit 5 different Indian states in a month. Letting you experience everything from its amazing culture to its sublime cuisine by travelling through a cross section of this vast sub-continent. Keeping with the values of our organisation, this program is environmentally friendly.
This travel tour starts from Goa which boasts of pristine beaches and Indo-Portuguese culture and into the ancient temple kingdom of Hampi to marvel at its stone architecture and ancient cultures. From here we go down South to the backwaters of Kerala and hike in the tea plantations of the blue mountains as they are called. Travel to the Southwestern part, to the city of Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu, to visit magnificent ancient Hindu Temples and also witness ancient forms of dancing. Your tour then takes you to the north of India to the foothills of the Himalayas in Sikkim where you can help the local Himalayan communities by teaching at local schools and in renovating Buddhist Monasteries.
You will have the most memorable experience visiting local markets, tasting various Indian cuisine, temple visits, nature experiences and taking part in community service in many ways will be the norm for these 21 days.
The program also focuses on a variety of community engagement projects. You will have the opportunity to work alongside local people at our renovation projects at our community schools and also take part in environmental initiatives.
We encourage our participants to take the initiative to build, renovate and beautify Buddhist monasteries or public schools as most of the schools in India and community centres are not very attractive, do not have the learning atmosphere and excellent infrastructure for children. We are working to make such type of centres attractive with children friendly aspects.
- Cleaning and dusting the walls, ceiling , scraping off the old paint
- Apply base colour, once or twice as per requirement
- Plan out the required drawings as per requirement of the class
- Draw and paint animals, alphabets, colours, fruits, vegetables, body parts , tables, rainbow, shapes etc
- Gardening (eg. teaching children to grow a vegetable garden)
- Carpentry, fixing doors, windows or any wooden installations
- Setup rainwater harvesting systems at remote villages
- Build basic toilets for underprivileged communities in remote rural villages
- Building play structures for children
- Constructing tanks for easy access of clean drinking water at the slums
- Construction of clean and hygienic toilets
- Construction of cooking stoves as the slums
- Setting up solar panels at the slums as per-requirements
- Airport transfers as per the policy – Airport Pickup in Goa
- Presence of a dedicated program coordinator throughout your travel, at the projects and facilities- Logistical management support in case of emergencies
- Authentic Indian meals and European for the duration of the entire program as per the meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Accommodation at hotels, home-stays, and at our accommodation facility – Shared accommodation.
- Local transportation to all venues
- Entry fees to all places
- Extensive pre-departure information
- Personal expenses such as table drinks, room service items, laundry, telephone calls, tips, portage at hotels or airport, bottles of water during your road travel etc.
- Any additional expenses caused by or liability for disturbance in trip program due to circumstances, weather conditions, sickness, natural disasters, riots etc.
- Liability for or insurance against injury, loss of life, accidents or loss of goods
- Our program does not cover any liability and does not insure participants.
- Participants must have appropriate insurance before joining the program.
- Any camera fee where applicable.
- Visa application.
- Any service not specified above
Aims & Objectives
The aim of this program is to bring you closer to the authentic India from the south to the north. Through different projects and activities, you will get to truly immerse yourself in various diverse culture, ancient architecture, different customs and lifestyle.
Your adventure in India begins with 2 weeks Packed full of activities exploring the Indian culture and country before finishing off your experience with a week of volunteering in The Buddhist monastery of Sikkim.
Arrive at Dabolim airport, Goa where you will be met by coordinators who will take you on the 45 minute transfer to the North Goan base.
Day 1: Monday
After your arrival at Dabolim Airport in Goa on Sunday, our coordinators will receive you at the airport and transfer you to our base in North Goa which is about a 45 minute drive.
You will be introduced to your fellow travelers and other participants working on various social projects. Begin with an orientation session which will take you through Indian culture, do’s and don’ts as a traveler in India, and safety precautions during your travel. We then go out to visit the famous colorful Goan market and visit the North Goan beach to watch the sun go down the Arabian sea.
Day 2: Tuesday
We begin our day with a visit to old Goa, the part which was previously a Portuguese colony. Admire the beautiful Portuguese architecture and visit the beautiful spice plantation hidden away in the mountains and enjoy some great spread of Indian food in the pristine location. Later in the evening, we go for a Bollywood movie.
Day 3: Wednesday
You will learn cooking Goan food and visit the beach for a few hours.
Day 4: Thursday
In the morning we will give you a Hindi language class, teaching you a few words which will be helpful for you through your travel in india, in the afternoon after lunch you will go and visit Fort Aguada before taking an evening bus to Hampi on a journey back in time, ruins of an ancient Hindu kingdom and a world UNESCO heritage site.
Day 5: Friday
Check into a beautifully located guest house close to the river Tunga. We then go on a bicycle tour of this ancient kingdom to visit amazingly carved temples and witness breathtaking views of the kingdom. In the evening, experience Yoga at Sunset on a hill overlooking the mountains.
Day 6: Saturday
Begin your day with Yoga at Sunrise and meditation and go on a coracle ride in the river Tunga and witness this kingdom through another perspective. In the evening, we depart to another destination called Mysore.
Day 7: Sunday
Check into a beautiful guest house and visit the famous Mysore Palace and an impressive Indian temple situated on a hill. In the evening we visit the Palace light illumination.
Day 8: Monday
Visit the famous Mysore Devaraj Urs market and taste a spread of south Indian food. We then visit a silk factory where you can witness the making of silk sarees.
In the evening we take a bus to the backwaters of Kerala.
Day 9: Tuesday
Arrive in the morning. After breakfast get an Ayurvedic massage and later check into a boathouse. Here you will cruise the whole day in the backwaters, and enjoy dinner on the boat and an overnight stay in the boathouse. You will also get a chance to visit markets along the backwaters.
Day 10: Wednesday
Later in the morning, we depart to Munnar also called the blue hills of tea plantations, one of the biggest in south of India. Munnar is a hill station in the Western Ghats located in the state of Kerala. Munnar which was a former resort for the British Raj elite, is set within rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the 19th century.
Witness the traditional art of Kalaripayattu and Kathakali dance at Punarjani traditional village. Stay overnight at a guest house situated in the mountains overlooking the plantations.
Day 11: Thursday
Departure to Madurai.
As the third largest city of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is a city known for its historical and cultural significance, the first association with the city being the acclaimed Meenakshi Amman Temple. In fact, the city has been constructed in the form of a lotus around the Meenakshi Amman temple. An ancient city with a rich cultural and architectural heritage, it is called the ‘Athens of the east’; but Madurai, arguably, has as much as history as Athens itself. The Greeks traded with the then Pandya kingdom from the 3rd to the 10th century B.C.
Day 12: Friday
Madurai. Sightseeing in Madurai where you will visit 3 iconic temples, witness a Carnatic music concert in a temple.
Day 13: Saturday
We take a flight to Bagdogra and by road to Gangtok the capital of Sikkim.
Sikkim is a small state in northwest India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Part of the Himalayas, the area has a dramatic landscape including India’s highest mountain, 8,586m Kanchenjunga. Sikkim is also home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s.
Day 14: Sunday
Rest Day in Gangtok, Sikkim. Evening we go to explore the town of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
Day 15-19: Monday to Friday
Help in renovation activities at the Buddhist monastery in Sikkim
Day 20: Saturday
A day for you to relax and go shopping if you choose to.
Day 21: Sunday
A few things to consider while you are with us
- Participants are requested to be back at the centre or guest houses by 22:30 everyday
- Participants will not be entertained to hire any vehicles on their own
- Consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited at all our centres
- Respect and adhere to our code of conduct
- Our staff is there to support you and to guide you and make your trip memorable, we request you to kindly follow their instructions at all times.
- You will not be allowed to bring outsiders inside our centres, guest houses or hotels
- Please provide your mobile phone number during the time of booking, as this will be useful for us to contact you at the Goa Airport as this is quite a crowded airport, and we would not want to lose you!
This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Mode of transportation could change due to unavoidable circumstances.
A route that takes you from Goa to Hampi and then we head south towards Mysore. We travel down again to Kerala and towards the east to Madurai. From here we travel to the North eastern region to Sikkim.
This is a tiny state along the west coast with a distinct culture absorbed from the legacy of its colonial past. The evidence of the 400–odd years of Portuguese rule is still apparent in the people’s dress, language, religion and cuisine and in their music, a fusion of the plaintive fado with the lilting rhythms of local folk songs. Today, Goa is one of India’s most popular holiday destinations, with its idyllic beaches, lush paddy fields, coconut plantations and villages dotted with pretty white-washed churches and grand mansions. Goa’s friendly, easy-going people go out of their way to make visitors feel at home.
A UNESCO world heritage site on the south bank of the river Tungabhadra has inspired many architects, travelers, explorers, archaeologists, scholars, traders and many more through the centuries and still is a traveler’s paradise. Hampi boasts of evocative ruins of Vijayanagar or the “City of Victory”. The capital of three generations of Hindu rulers for more than 200 years. The site, which comprises the Sacred and Royal Centres, has a superb location with rocky ridges and granite boulders acting as natural defenses. This is the first place on a traveler’s bucket list if you are ever in Southern India.
Situated among the fertile fields and skirted by wooded hills, Mysore was the capital of the Wodeyar rulers, who were governors of southern Karnataka. Today, Mysore is an important cultural centre, with the largest university in Karnataka state. It is also renowned for its ivory work, silk weaving, sandalwood incense and carvings.
A cruise along the backwaters is one of the most enchanting experiences that Kerala offers. Explore this labyrinthine network of waterways, which weave through villages set amidst lush vegetation which offers glimpses of Kerala’s unique rural lifestyle, where land and water are inseparable. The most popular backwaters tour is from Kollam, situated between Ashtamudi Lake and the Arabian Sea, to Alleppey on the edge of Vembanad Lake.
One of South India’s great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. This ancient city on the banks of the Vaigai river has over the centuries been a rich repository of Tamil culture. Some 2000 years ago it hosted the famous Sangams (gatherings of writers and poets), which were to provide Tamil literature with some of its most enduring works. From the 7th to 13th centuries, it saw art and trade with Rome and China flourish. Today, religion and culture remain a vibrant part of the city’s daily life.
An area of unspoilt natural beauty, framed by snow capped Himalayan peaks, Sikkim has only recently been opened to visitors. Sikkim is a bowl consisting of rivers, tranquil monasteries and villages, forests of rhododendron, yaks grazing in meadows filled with alpine flowers, charming rural markets, and superb views of the world’s third highest peak, Mount Kanchendzonga. Gangtok the capital of Sikkim reflects this tiny state’s extraordinary ethnic diversity. In the crowded city which spills precariously down a ridge, Lepchas (the region’s original inhabitants) live alongside Tibetans, Bhutias, Nepalis and Indians from the plains. Through Now full of modern structures, Gangtok’s “Shangrila” aspects can still be experienced in pockets of the city and in its alpine environs.
About the Accommodation
Along the route you will have overnight stays in hotels/guest houses, buses and trains. More information can be found inside the schedule
Our Volunteer houses are a standard and comfortable place we call home, there is a mini library, a dining room, a lounge area where you can hang out with fellow participants and a beautiful garden to relax.
The meals are a mix of Western and Indian food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can expect to have a chicken dish about twice per week. At our volunteer houses there are refrigerators which you are welcome to use to store food and beverages.You can also use the kitchen facilities to cook for yourself or eat out at any of the local restaurants.
Trip Country Info
Capital: New Delhi
Language: Hindi, English and 22 other officially recognized languages
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Time zone: UTC +5:30
India is known for its pyramid-like temples, its colorful streets and it’s crowded cities. This country represents one of the most vivid and the largest cultures in the world. From the golden triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra to the coast where Ayurveda medicine was born, India offers a 360 degree journey through the most magical of lands. Known for being the second most populated country in the world, India will show you the faces of thousands of Hindu gods in its very vast collection of temples all throughout the country. The land of colors and smiles is ready to take you on your next adventure whether road tripping or helping out in local communities, this sub-continent will amaze your senses. India will shift the way you see the world.
India’s literacy rate is around 60% for women and 80% for men. The principal language is Hindi and English is also commonly used in all major cities. New Delhi, the capital of India, is what many would call the real deal when travelling through the country. It is one of the biggest and most populated cities in the whole world with up to 25 million citizens. New Delhi is known for its amazing cuisine and its new modality of “street food”, which means restaurants with every specialty you can imagine are available to you all throughout the city! Chennai is another of the biggest cities in India, known as the “Detroit of India” for its automobile industry. If you are looking for a quieter spot Kerala is the centre of lifestyle, art, architecture, language and literature in all of the country!
Gap year travel to India is enjoyed in a country with wonderful history that dates back several thousand years. In particular, one of the most incredible historical points of India is how four separate world religions originated here – Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Beyond this, however, India has only truly been independent as a nation since 1947, just a couple years after World War 2 concluded.
In that time, India has grown to be the eleventh largest economy in the world as well as the second most populous nation, second only to China. This isn’t particularly surprising when you consider that India has been an economic powerhouse for trade routes in the past, but it is very impressive to consider that India has almost reached the status of superpower over the course of 66 years.
The geography of India has been a target for nature lovers for many years but is finally becoming an easy place to visit and explore for foreign tourists. With the Himalayas to the north, the desert in the centre and the luxurious beaches to the west, India has a type of climate that suits the desires of just about anyone. Even if you have a soft spot for snow, you can easily embrace that love by visiting some of the northern mountains which are nearly always capped in snow and ice!
With thousands of years of history and an incredibly diverse climate, India is not a place you can simply read about and understand. You have to visit and immerse yourself within the various Indian cultures before you get an idea of just how amazing India really is. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch now to find out more about our amazing gap year holidays in India or browse the latest experiences below;
Participant Criteria & Requirements
No requirements have been provided.
No requirements have been provided.
- 24/7 support in case of emergencies
- Airport Pick up
- English speaking coordinator
What's not included
- Airport drop off
- Travel insurance