Fancy visiting 4 distinct states of India in one month? This Eco-tourism travel project could be the ultimate road trip for you. You’ll be taking in the experiences on offer across five very different regions of exotic India! Travel from the base of the Himalayas to the picturesque beaches of Goa taking in magnificent sights from the Taj Mahal, to the hot springs of Shimla. Spending a night in a desert in Rajasthan, travelling to the home of the Dalai Lama, trekking through forests, riding camels, exploring palaces, forts and temples and visiting world heritage sites, you will experience India in the fullest way. From its depth of culture to its sensational cuisine, your experiences will be vast as you travel on this environmentally friendly program.
Included in the Road Trip are a variety of opportunities to participate in volunteer projects where you’ll be working alongside local people to renovate community schools and take part in environmental work.
Your adventure is split into 3 blocks, the first 8 days takes place in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Agra, the second 8 days in Rajasthan, Udaipur and Mumbai and the last 10 days in Goa.
Beginning your road trip in New Delhi, the capital city, you will have an introductory meeting where you will meet the people associated with the project and begin to acquaint yourself with Indian life. From New Delhi, you will travel to Shimla to embark on a two-day trek reaching heights of 3100 metres. As part of this adventurous journey, you will also visit Thattapani Hot Springs, Shimla City and Dharamasala. In this home of the Dalai Lama, you will experience Tibetan culture within India and visit a temple and fort.
Returning to Delhi after your trek, you will have a day of sight-seeing and immersing yourself in the culture of this marvellous city. While at the city you can enjoy an array of culturally and historically important sites, as well as taking in the unique and distinct characteristics of the multitude of cultures alive in the city as people from all over India are drawn there to visit the capital city.
Finally, you will visit the Taj Mahal, a unique jewel of India, this testimony to true love standing within a marble mausoleum will leave you with an everlasting impression, confirming its place as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The second part of your trip begins in Rajasthan with the majority of your time spent in Udaipur, “the city of lakes”. In this magical setting you will witness incredible sunsets from the monsoon palace, enjoy a boat ride on the Pichola lake, take a cooking lesson in Rajasthani cuisine and watch a Bollywood movie. As if those experiences aren’t good enough, the icing on the cake is a camel ride into the desert where you will spend the night under the starlit sky.
Finishing off your visit to India, the third part takes place in Goa – a city dubbed as one of the top tourist destinations in India. Travelling in the warm climate down to the pristine sandy beaches, you will enjoy a sensational cuisine and be welcomed by friendly locals. Formerly a capital of Portuguese India, it is acknowledged as a UNESCO world heritage site as a result of its quantity, and quality of Churches and Cathedrals. As part of your trip you will also visit a spice plantation, a fort and take in the sights at some local markets. With a range of volunteering projects taking place in the vicinity, you will spend time taking part in a project which could involve working in a community school, orphanage, women’s shelter, elderly care centre or on an environmental project.
After arriving at New Delhi on Sunday, your project begins on a Monday morning following your overnight stay at a guest house.
Early on your first morning, you will travel by bus to Shimla. This is a 10-hour journey but will pass quickly as you take in the beautiful, varying landscape of India, the bustle of everyday life and the peaceful, exquisite scenery of the Himilayas. On arriving at Shimla, we will check into a guesthouse overlooking Shimla.
An early morning breakfast starts off your day and is closely followed by an orientation meeting with a local program coordinator. During the meeting you will find out about Indian culture, safety and health precautions while travelling, using transportation, money and any other relevant information. Your day then takes you into the misty mountains, beginning with a trek through the beautiful pine and rhododendron forest. This rocky terrain requires a good set of hiking boots or other suitable footwear to protect your feet. In your backpack you will need an extra set of clothes and drinking water. Your other bags will be securely stored ready for you to collect at the end of the trek. Your day will end housed with a local family in the mountains.
Trek: Distance (First day 10 Km Trek). Difficulty Level 2 – Uphill and downhill. Altitude: Approximately 900 meters to 3100 meters. Terrain: Rocky, gravel, river crossing and winding tracks. Duration of Trek each day: 4-6 hours.
A light breakfast starts off the day before you set off on the more exerting section of the hike – this time reaching a height of 3100 metres and providing a spectacular view of the Himalayan range. At the peak you will have time to rest and enjoy a packed lunch which will be provided for you. Prior to the hike, your coordinators will ensure that you collect safe drinking water as you will not be able to collect any as you climb. After a 6-hour long adventure, you will catch a bus from the village to Shimla where you will stay overnight at a guesthouse.
A day packed full with activities in Shimla including a visit to the famous monkey temple before lunch – the Hanuman Temple which will take you on a 30-minute walk to the highest point of the city at 2250 metres. Following a break for lunch, you will have time to look around the local market and make some purchases if you wish. In the evening, enjoy a relaxing walk around Mall road to absorb Shimla’s lively atmosphere. Dinner will be provided for you before the next part of your journey takes you on an overnight bus trip to Dharamshala.
On arriving in Dharamshala, you will enjoy another exciting day of activities after checking into a hotel and recovering from your journey. You will experience Tibetan culture as you visit McLeod Ganj and stroll through the picturesque Buddhist monastery before taking a 20-minute walk into the mountains to view a magnificent waterfall. Following this there will be visits to traditional Buddhist shops in the markets which sell Tibetan clothing and a variety of fascinating ornaments. You’ll also see the Kangra Fort heritage site and visit a tea garden and a Kangra temple.
After breakfast, your morning will include a Holy walk to the Buddhist monastery, a visit to St. John’s Church, Kangra Fort and a green tea garden. To reflect on your busy morning, you will have lunch and relaxation time at a peaceful restaurant. An overnight travel after dinner will take you on a 12-hour bus journey back to Delhi.
On arriving at Delhi, there will be an opportunity to rest and eat breakfast at the guest house before continuing with the schedule. A tour around the city of Delhi awaits you today, immersing you once more in national history and culture by taking you to see the India Gate, the Indian Parliament House and President’s House, the Lotus temple, Ghandi Museum and the Birla temple. A relaxing overnight stay at the guest house in Delhi will give you a chance to recharge your batteries.
Visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World, your will take a 4-hour train ride from Delhi to Agra to absorb the incredible Taj Mahal. You have the whole day here before an overnight train ride takes you to Udaipur “the city of lakes” in Rajasthan.
While staying at Udaipur and Jaisalmer, you will be looked after by the project coordinators, and will stay at their house. Udaipur, featured as the birthplace of Bagheera in the Jungle Book and used as the location for the James Bond film Occtopussy, offers you an exciting array of architecture, landscape and traditional cultural activities.
Beginning your day with breakfast, your morning is more relaxing than previous ones. After buying the vegetables and fruits you will need during a visit to the local market, you will learn to perfect your Indian cooking skills . After lunch, you will visit a model desert village called Shilpgram which has a display of Rajasthani art, music and craft shops. Your experiences for today end with a beautiful sunset over the monsoon palace and a traditional Indian dinner back at the centre.
Indulge yourself in history today as you are taken to visit 8th and 10th century ancient temples on the outer edges of Udaipur. In the evening, you will be taken on an overnight bus journey of approximately 12 hours to Jaisalmer where you will begin The Desert Experience.
An experience of a lifetime awaits you in Jaisalmer after recharging at the Guest House. Your adventure today will take you to an 11th century fort before taking a jeep safari and a camel ride into the Thar desert. Make sure you remember your sleeping bags and water bottles for this experience as you will be camping under the desert stars. Your coordinator will let you know about any other resources or equipment you need with you.
Returning to Jaisalmar after your night in the desert, you will spend time sightseeing in this wonderful city. Many tourist attractions exist in this city for you to enjoy including a stunning, authentic Haveli and a lake considered to be the largest in the world. After your day in Jaisalmar, a bus ride will take you back to Udaipur overnight.
Once you arrive at Udaipur, the day is yours to relax and rejuvenate. In the evening, you will attend the theatre and experience a Bollywood movie.
Again, the day is yours to relax and independently experience the beauty of Udaipur, taking some time to shop in the city. A bus journey overnight will take you to Mumbai ready for your next experience.
Arriving in Mumbai early in the morning, you’ll have time to freshen up and relax after your journey before experiencing the cultural hub in the markets of Mumbai. Following this, you will visit some of the city’s main attractions, including the Gateway of India, Jahangir art gallery, an ancient mosque called Haji Ali Darga, and take a walk with the locals on the famous marine drive. An overnight stay in the city will give you a chance to absorb your Mumbai experiences before continuing with the road trip.
Enjoy an early morning breakfast in preparation for an hour long boat ride on the Arabian Sea and a visit to the spectacular Elephanta Caves. You will enjoy a hearty Indian lunch on the island and when your final day of travelling to various parts of India is complete, an overnight bus journey will take you to Goa.
For your remaining time at Goa, you will be based at the Green Lion volunteer house. On arrival here, you will have time to freshen up, relax and get to know fellow volunteers. A project coordinator will meet with you and give you information about your scheduled activities for your days in Goa. A delicious Goan lunch will fill you ready for a trip to the magnificent Anjuna beaches where you can relax and soak up the peacefulness.
Your day begins with an early morning visit to a breath-taking waterfall. You will then move on to a spice plantation where you will be shown how various spices are grown and processed before they can be enjoyed on your plates. Lunch will be enjoyed at the centre and you’ll have an afternoon of looking around before heading back to the centre. The evening is yours to enjoy some free time after dinner.
Day 20 and 21
A wonderful opportunity to experience the wonders on offer in Goa. Visiting the capital city of Goa, Panjim, a 17th century Portuguese fort, Fort Aguada and the village, beaches and markets of Anjuna. You could spend a whole day taking in the historical beauty of Old Goa with its numerous Churches and Cathedrals or spent time on the beach relaxing with other volunteers. Formerly the capital of Portuguese India, Old Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 22 – 26
This will be your period of volunteer work as you assist with the construction and renovation project during the first halves of the day, improving the quality of buildings to raise the standard of living. You will spend your afternoons educating, and spending quality time with, the migratory children as part of the outreach program which aims to improve opportunities for the future through providing quality educational experiences.
A day to yourself after your extensive road trip and hard work volunteering. You could spend it shopping or revisiting one of the magnificent places at Goa. Remember to prepare for your departure as well as enjoying your final day here.
Departure day. You will be taken back to the airport for your return flight.