Backpacking India Explorer

Project Overview

Take this fantastic opportunity to travel around the most wonderful parts of India gaining experience during this 21-day project which ends with you making a valuable contribution working as a volunteer. With this project located in stunning Goa, you can look forward to immersing yourself in the culture and cuisine of India. Relax as you visit the stunning beaches on the west coast, then travel down South to the backwaters of Kerala where you will experience geographical beauty as you hike through tea plantations in the Blue mountains. Take in the wonders of temples in the ancient kingdom of Hampi and the state of Tamil Nadu. While visiting the temples, you will also benefit from lessons in an ancient form of dancing. Marvel at the magnificent palaces of Maharajas and row peacefully along coconut-fringed backwaters before you volunteer at the Buddhist monasteries at the foot of the breath-taking Himalayas in Sikkim.

What's included
  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation
What's not included
  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa

Project Itinerary

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.

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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.

Week 1

Monday

On your first day there will be an orientation meeting where you will be joined by other volunteers and travellers. Here you will find out about Indian culture, what you should or shouldn’t do as a traveller in India, and the safety precautions you will need to take during your time in the country. Following the meeting, you will be taken to the famously colourful Goan market then to the beautiful North Goan beach where you will experience the magnificent sunset over the Arabian sea.

Tuesday

Experience Indo-Portuguese culture in old Goa, previously a Portuguese colony. Immerse yourself in the spectacular architecture before visiting the stunning spice plantation hidden in the mountains where you will enjoy a delicious spread of Indian food. Topping off a wonderful day,  you will be taken to see a Bollywood movie in the evening.

Wednesday

After tasting the Indian cuisine of the previous day, today you will learn to cook your own Goan food. The afternoon will be spent visiting the beach before taking a step back in time in the evening as you travel to Hampi on the evening bus. Experience the awe-inspiring ruins of the ancient Hindu kingdom in this UNESCO heritage site.

Thursday

Picture yourself checking into an idyllic guest house surrounded by rice fields. A tour of the ancient kingdom on a bicycle will reveal to you spectacularly detailed temples and outstanding views. A Yoga session at Sunset overlooking the mountains ends this rewarding experience with pure relaxation and restoration.

Friday

Following on from the previous evening’s theme, your day will begin with a Sunrise session of Yoga and meditation, setting your mood for the day ahead. A boat ride on a traditional round shaped coracle on the river Tunga awaits you today, offering a fresh perspective of the kingdom. Leaving the kingdom, your journey this evening will take you to Mysore, once the capital of South India.

Saturday

Today you will arrive at a fabulous guest house alongside the river Cauvery. You’ll go on to visit the magnificent Mysore Palace and temple, located at the top of a hill, with a perfect viewpoint of the city. To end the day’s activities, experience another aspect of traditional Indian culture as you watch the making of, and learn how to wear, the Indian silk saree during a visit to a silk factory.

Sunday

Your last excursion in Mysore takes you to the famous Mysore Devarai Urs market where you will savour the flavours of a tasty selection of South Indian foods. Continuing your journey this evening, you will travel via bus to the backwaters of Kerala.

Week 2

Monday

Reaching Kerala in the morning, you will check into a boathouse. After cruising on the backwaters for the entire day, including a visit to local markets situated along the shores, you will have an Ayurvedic massage, dinner on the boat and an overnight stay.

Tuesday

Staying in the state of Kerala, your journey today will take you to the Blue mountains in Munnar where you will hike through one of the largest tea plantations in the South of India. Not unique in the region, this plantation is just one of many established in the 19th century, which decorate the rolling hills in the former resort for the British Raj elite.  A nature trail leads you through the tea plantations, followed by a viewing of traditional Kalari Payathu art and Kathakali dance at a Punarjani traditional village. Your accommodation for the night is located in the mountains overlooking the plantations, at a picturesque guest house.

Wednesday

Leaving Munnar to visit Madurai, the third largest city of Tamil Nadu, you will immerse yourself once more in historical and cultural riches. Constructed around the widely acclaimed Meenakshi Amman Temple, the city is steeped in architectural and cultural heritage, earning Madurai the title the “Athens of the East” as it arguably equals the level of historical treasures. Between the 3rd and 10th century B.C. the Pandya kingdom and the Greeks had a trading relationship. Your day will culminate with a tour of the magnificent city and an overnight stay.

Thursday

A second day spent in Madurai when you will visit 3 iconic temples, experience and learn some Carnatic music and watch a temple concert in the ancient city. Relax as you stay overnight in the city once again.

Friday

On route to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, you will leave Madurai and fly from Chennai to Bagdodra before travelling the last section of your journey by road. Boasting a dramatic landscape including a section of the Himalayas and India’s highest mountain, Kanchenjunga standing at an impressive 8,586m, Sikkim is a small state neighbouring Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal which is situated in the northwest of India. Its beauty is not limited to the mountains, the state also houses glaciers, alpine meadows and an extensive range of wildflowers. At the top of a steep path, the Buddhist monasteries sit on the hilltops. Including in these is the Pemayangtse which began in the early 1700s.

Saturday

A day of relaxation and sightseeing in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Sunday

A day free of activities for you to relax and reflect on your experiences.

Week 3

Monday – Friday

The final section of the project engages you as a volunteer at the Buddhist monastery of Sikkim. Here you will be expected to use your own initiative to take an active role in building, renovating and restoring Buddhist monasteries or public schools. At present, many schools in India are neither aesthetically pleasing nor rich in learning environments. The aim of the project is to make them more attractive and child friendly through completing the following activities:

 

  1. General clean of the walls and ceilings, including scraping off any old paint.
  2. Apply a base colour (as many times as required)
  3. Plan artistic representations to meet the needs of the class
  4. Decorate the walls with drawn and painted animals, alphabets, colours, fruits, vegetables, body parts, tables and any other relevant images.
  5. Gardening – for example, educating the children about growing vegetables
  6. Cleaning classrooms
  7. Present the renovated classrooms to the children and the community.
  8. Carrying out carpentry projects such as fixing doors or windows and completing installations
  9. Establish systems to harvest rainwater at remote village locations
  10. Work in remote rural villages building basic toilets for underprivileged communities
  11. Construct play equipment for children
  12. Carry out work in the slums to:
    1. build tanks for easy access to drinking water
    2. install clean and hygienic toilets
    3. construct cooking stoves
    4. set up solar panels as required to provide energy

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** Please note: This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances. **

 

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