India Road Trip

North by Northwest - India

Only 600€ per week!

Journey into India and experience seven vastly distinctive regions of this exotic and diverse country by experiencing the perfect road trip of a lifetime!

The India Road Trip takes you from the capital city to the foothills of the Himalayas and to the beaches in Goa. Experience Buddhist culture, visit Golden Temple and Taj Mahal. An adventurous camel safari coupled with a night camping in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan and UNESCO heritage sites. Participate in community engagement projects in Goa.

Culture
Learning
Leisure
Community Engagement
Physical Demand






Program Description

This is an Eco-tourism travel program that gives you the opportunity to visit 7 different Indian states in 28 days! Experience everything from its amazing nature, culture and beautiful monuments, to its sublime cuisine by traveling through a cross section of this vast sub-continent. Keeping with the values of our organisation, this program is environmentally friendly.

Once you arrive at New Delhi, you will be received by our tour leader. After checking in to your hotel, you will receive an in-depth orientation about your travel program. Early morning on Monday, you will travel to Shimla by train, with the “Himalayan Queen”, which is also recognized by UNESCO. Experience this wonderful heritage train as it journeys through the Himalayan landscape with beautiful views of the Himalayan mountains. During your time in Shimla, experience hiking in the mountains, absorb breathtaking views, taste the local food with local people, stay in a beautiful guest house located in the midst of the mountains, experience mountain village lifestyle and walk around Shimla town to view temples, monuments and museums.

On the next part of your journey, go on a bus journey through the Himalayan mountains to dive into Tibetan culture in Dharamshala, the home of the Dalai Lama. Go on a walking tour through the monasteries, experience a holy walk the way the locals do, visit a marvelous waterfalls, and learn Buddhist teachings and their way of life.

Further, travel by train to Amritsar, to visit the charismatic Golden Temple which is not only a religious place of the Sikhs, but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody, irrespective of caste, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment without any hindrance here. It also represents the distinct identity, glory and heritage of the Sikhs. Admire the beauty of its architecture in gold and soak into the ambience of this wonderful place.

You will then travel to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal to witness its amazing grandeur. Walk into the Taj Mahal at sunrise which is the best time to visit. Spend your time marveling at this beauty. You will also be taken to the ghats of the Yamuna river to relax in the beautiful garden with the Taj Mahal at its backdrop.

You are just at the beginning of this real adventure! Further, you will be encompassed into the colorful and vibrant culture of Udaipur. Witness an energetic cultural dance show and visit the beautiful Udaipur palace which is the second largest palace in India. Travel into the Thar desert, go on a camel safari for an amazing camping experience under the star light sky and experience a caravan lifestyle.

You then travel into Mumbai, to visit its crowded streets, take the Bollywood film city tour, go on a boat ride into the Arabian sea to visit an ancient island temple called the Elephanta caves and explore the city of Mumbai. You will also have some time on your own in the evenings.

Your adventure does not end here, travel to one of the most exotic locations of Goa where you will meet other participants taking part in various community engagement programs. In Goa, you will be introduced to various UNESCO sites and taken to some of the most famous beaches of Goa to unwind. We will introduce you to yoga and an Ayurvedic massage which will relax your body and prepare you for the project phase.

On the last week of your travel, you will have this splendid opportunity to take part in a variety community engagement projects. You will have the opportunity to work alongside local people at our women empowerment project or at the community school or at a renovation projects or animal shelter or even participate to interact with senior citizens at an old aged home. The choice will be yours to suite yourself into the best project to become a part of an ever expanding community.

What’s included

  • Airport transfers as per the policy – Airport Pickup in New Delhi
  • Presence of a dedicated program coordinator throughout your travel, at the projects and facilities – logistical management support in case of emergencies
  • Authentic Indian and European meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the duration of the entire program as per the meal plan
  • Accommodation at hotels, homestays, and at our accommodation facility – shared single gender accommodation.
  • Local transportation to all venues
  • Entry fees to all places
  • Extensive pre-departure information

What’s Excluded

  • Personal expenses such as table drinks, room service items, laundry, telephone calls, tips, porterage 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
  • Any service not specified above

Few things to consider while you are with us

  • Request to be back at the accommodation by 22:30 everyday
  • Participants will not be entertained to hire any vehicles on their own
  • Consumption of alcohol are strictly prohibited at all our Centers
  • Respect and adhere to our code of conduct
  • Our staff are 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 centers, 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 Delhi Airport as this is quite a crowded airport, and we would not want to lose you!

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this program is to bring you closer to the authentic India and to truly immerse you into the culture, customs and lifestyle. This program will also give an opportunity to take part on community engagement projects and activities to understand local community lifestyle.

Schedule

Week 1: Delhi, Shimla & Dharamsala

Day 1: Monday

Travel from Delhi to Shimla:

Soon after your arrival and overnight stay at New Delhi on Sunday.

On Monday morning, your first day in India, hop into a UNESCO heritage train ride to Shimla. On this vibrant train journey, observe the beautiful and ever changing Indian landscape, regular day to day life on the streets, and finally a 5 hours ride into the amazing Himalayan mountain landscape. After reaching Shimla, you will check into a guesthouse located with a great view of Shimla.

  • New Delhi to Shimla – Train (Air conditioned with recliner seats Delhi to Kalka, Toy Train Kalka to Shimla)
  • Travel Time: 10 hours travel time
  • Distance 370 km

Day 2: Tuesday

The day begins early with an orientation session with our tour leader. This session also includes briefing on aspects such as culture, safety and health precautionary measures, transportation, money, etc. Visit the famous monkey temple also called as “Hanuman Temple” which is situated atop a hill, it is a 30 minute uphill walk and brings you to the highest point of Shimla city set at 2250 mts. Spend your afternoon, soaking into the views of the beautiful hill town, visit the local market and get acclimatized to the Himalayan environment. Late afternoon, we proceed for a 2 hour bus ride deeper into the misty mountains of the Himalayas for an overnight stay at a local himalayan village. A local family in the mountains will host you for the night.

Carry an extra set of clothes and drinking water in a light backpack. The tour leader will arrange for you to leave your bigger backpacks that you may be travelling with at a safe place from where you can collect them after the hike.

Day 3: Wednesday

Take a hike into the Himalayan mountains which is also quite a challenging element of your trip which culminates atop a hill at 3100 meters offering an amazing picturesque view of the Himalayan ranges. You will rest here while having your lunch in the ambience of the outdoor himalayan setup. Head back down to the village and drive back to Shimla, overnight stay at a guesthouse at Shimla.

The coordinator will help you get safe drinking water at the start of the trek. Packed lunch will be provided during the trek. The trek through the mountains will be approximately 7 hours long.

Trek Distance: 7 Km Trek

Difficulty Level 2 – Uphill and downhill

Altitude: Approximately 3100 meters

Terrain: Rocky, gravel, river crossing and winding tracks.

Duration of Trek: 7 hours.

Day 4: Thursday

Our tour leader will take you on a beautiful heritage walk through the Deodar forests to visit historical monuments and temples. In the afternoon, you will take a bus to Dharamshala, the abode of Buddhist monks. Arrive late in the night at Dharamshala and check into a cozy hotel for a night’s stay in Dharamshala.

Shimla to Dharamshala Bus ride: 9 hours

Day 5: Friday

Dharamshala – Experience Tibetan culture, visit the traditional Tibetan market.

After a relaxed breakfast, visit McLeod Ganj and walk into the beautiful Buddhist monastery and go on a 20 minute walk to a wonderful waterfall located in the mountains. Your walk through the markets will give you an insight into traditional Buddhist shops selling various interesting traditional ornaments and cultural clothing. The evening will be spent around McLeod Ganj and treat yourself for a traditional Tibetan dinner. Night stay in Dharamshala.

Day 6: Saturday

Today begins with an early breakfast, after which you will travel by bus to Amritsar. After arrival at Amritsar and check into a hotel to refresh. In the evening, visit the charismatic Golden temple of Amritsar to get a splendid view of the temple at sunset. The Golden Temple is the most prominent heritage site that has made an impact in the world. Overnight stay at Amritsar.

Day 7: Sunday

Travel to Agra

Today you will have an early start, you will take the morning train from Amritsar to Agra. Arrive in the evening at Agra and check into a hotel just next to the Taj Mahal. This evening you can choose to explore a bit of Agra on your own or just choose to relax for the evening.

Train journey by the famous Indian railways : 11 hours, A/C sleeper coaches

Week 2: Agra & Rajasthan

Day 8: Monday

Taj Mahal (Agra)

The highlight of the India Road Trip is today, witnessing one of the Seven Wonders of the World – The Taj Mahal. Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and spend the day by the river Yamuna to marvel at its beautiful architecture and its surroundings. Later in the evening, hop into an overnight train to Udaipur, “the city of lakes” in Rajasthan.

  • Agra to Udaipur (Air conditioned Indian Railways)

Day 9: Tuesday

Experience Rajasthan – Udaipur “the city of lakes”. While in Udaipur, you will be hosted at our house. Fans of The Jungle Book and James Bond films may recognize Udaipur as the birthplace of Bagheera and the location for the Roger Moore starrer Octopussy. Spend the next 2 days visiting India’s second largest state, visit the beautifully architectured palace, enjoy a boat ride in lake Pichola, and watch a traditional Rajasthani dance and music concert. Overnight stay in Udaipur.

Day 10: Wednesday

Your day will begin with a relaxed morning. Shop at the local markets for vegetable for Indian authentic culinary class to sharpen your cooking skills. After lunch, you will proceed to visit a model desert village setup called Shilpgram where you will witness traditional Rajasthani art and handicraft shops and music. A nice spread of Indian dinner awaits you back at our center. Overnight stay in Udaipur.

Day 11: Thursday

Today, you will go on a temple tour in the morning. Visit the beautiful sculptured 8th and 10th century ancient temples on the outskirts of Udaipur. You will return back to our center and then in the evening you will take an overnight bus to Jaisalmer which is approximately 12 hrs for the next highlight of our trip – The Desert experience.

Day 12: Friday

“The experience of a lifetime” camping in the Desert. Once in Jaisalmer, you will have a bit of time to refresh at the guest house. You will then go on a sightseeing tour of Jaisalmer to a 11th century fort and then take a jeep safari and a camel ride deeper into the Thar desert, where you will stay for the night. Please remember to pack your sleeping bags and water bottles for this part of the trip. Our tour leader will inform you of anything else that may be necessary. Tonight you will camp in the desert under the stars. Overnight stay in the desert which is guaranteed to be one of your most memorable moments in your life.

Day 13: Saturday

You will return from the desert to the guest house and spend time in the city of Jaisalmer, visiting a beautiful authentic Haveli and a lake which is considered to be the largest in Jaisalmer and other tourist attractions. Later this evening, you will take an overnight bus back to Udaipur.

  • Udaipur to Jaisalmer to Udaipur – (Air conditioned sleeper bus)

Day 14: Sunday

Arrive at our Udaipur center and relax. There are no activities scheduled for the morning. You will have the entire morning to yourself and in the evening watch a Bollywood movie at the center. Overnight stay in Udaipur.

Week 3: Udaipur & Goa

Day 15: Monday

You will spend the entire morning for yourselves and go out for shopping into the city of Udaipur. You will then take an overnight bus to Mumbai.

  • Udaipur to Mumbai – Bus (Comfortable air conditioned bus)

Day 16: Tuesday

After arriving at Mumbai early in the morning, you will be taken to the guest house to freshen up. Visit Bollywood film city and popular streets of Mumbai. In the evening, spend the sunset at the famous marine drive just as the locals regularly do. Overnight stay in Mumbai.

Day 17: Wednesday

After breakfast, visit the Gateway of India and go on a boat ride into the Arabian sea to visit the ancient Elephanta caves. A good Indian lunch will be provided at the island. Return to main land and spend the remaining part of the day exploring the sights of Mumbai. Overnight stay at Mumbai.

Day 18: Thursday

Today, you will take take an early morning superfast train to Goa. Arrive in Goa before noon. Check into our house where you will be hosted for the remaining days of your travel. Once at our center in the afternoon, after a good Goan lunch, you can relax and freshen up and meet other participants at the house. Our project coordinator will brief you on the activities scheduled for your days in Goa. After dinner, you will be taken to the famous beach of Anjuna, where you can spend your time at the beach. Overnight stay at our center in Goa.

Day 19: Friday

Explore the rich history and impressive architecture of Old Goa, the former colonial capital of the state. The convents and churches are stunning, and the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which contains the relics of St Francis Xavier.

Visit the interesting spice plantations and get to know about various Indian spices, how they are grown before reaching your kitchens. After a sumptuous lunch at the plantation, spend some time at the plantation and on the way back visit a small but yet beautiful waterfall. Later in the evening, take time out on your own. Overnight stay in Goa.

Day 20: Saturday

Today, experience learning a few yoga postures and experience an authentic ayurvedic massage to relax your body. After lunch at our center, spend your time at one of the beautiful beaches of Goa to return to the center for dinner. Overnight stay in Goa.

  • Goa – Sightseeing (our jeeps and cars)

Day 21: Sunday

This is a day off and you are free to spend it on the beach or spend time with other participants at the center. Overnight stay in Goa.

Week 4: Community engagement week in Goa

Day 22-26: Monday to Friday

During this week, participate at our community engagement program which consists of many projects such as the one for women’s empowerment, the community school, a renovation project, animal shelter or even to interact with senior citizens at an old aged home. The choice will be yours to suite yourself into a project to become a part of an ever expanding community. During the second half of the day spend educative and quality time with migratory children at our outreach program. Overnight stay in Goa.

Day 27: Saturday

On this day you can go out shopping and get ready for your departure. Overnight stay in Goa.

Day 28: Sunday

Departure.

   Note:   Mode of transportation could change due to unavoidable circumstances

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

   Note:   Your departure can be planned either on Sunday (28th Day) from Dabolim Airport in Goa. If you choose to travel further in India on your own or have various other plans after completing your trip with us, we request you to kindly check out on Sunday (28th Day)

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: On Signup

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

  • Due to the length and active nature of this program, a decent level of fitness is required.
  • Participants below the age of 18 should have parental consent.
  • Participants above the age of 65 should have medical clearance.

Additional Equipment

  • Medicines you may require: if you have to take specific medicines on a regular basis, bring them along Otherwise, be aware that most basic medicines and even antibiotics are available in India for which you should have a doctor’s prescription.
  • First-aid kit should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, antihistamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking
  • A sleeping bag, warm clothes and rain jackets (July to March & November to February)
  • Mosquito repellents/mosquito nets
  • Hiking shoes or trainers
  • Please bring a rucksack (backpack), avoid trolleys and suitcase to make you travel comfortable
  • Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders such as Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders
  • Shawl or scarf for temple visits
  • Cash, credit and debit cards
  • Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
  • Flashlight/torch
  • Fleece top/sweater
  • Locks for bags
  • Outlet adapter
  • Toiletries – Preferably biodegradable

Location

This route takes you from Delhi to Shimla and then we head north towards Dharamshala. We travel down again to Delhi and Agra and move further to the Western India to the state of Rajasthan. Then we head down south to Mumbai and finally into Goa.

About Shimla

Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh which translated means ‘The Land of snowy mountains’ is situated 2,205 metres (7,234 ft.) above sea level. The city is adorned with forests of pine, rhododendron and oak and is infamous for the monkeys that frequent it. Blessed with warm flowery summers and snowy winters, it was declared the summer capital of the British Rule in India in 1864. The city is famous for its Tudor and Neo-gothic architecture styles which date from the colonial era. However this does not rob it of its ‘Indianness’ as local markets and street vendors are present everywhere.

Shimla is home to Asia’s only natural ice skating rink. The handicraft of this area in the form of weaving, embroidery and regional jewelry is renowned not only throughout India, but the world over. Due to its pleasant climate, it attracts a favourable blend of Indian and International tourists throughout the year.

About Udaipur

Udaipur, commonly called the Venice of the East and nicknamed ‘the city of lakes’ is located in the princely state of Rajasthan. Primarily known for its art and architecture, it has temples dating as far back as 950 AD and palaces dating back to the Rajput era. The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas) located in the middle of Pichola Lake is an architectural and cultural marvel. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above enhances the beauty of this magnificent city. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, crafts and its famed miniature paintings.

About Goa

Goa in south-west India enjoys a warm and humid climate throughout the year. It is known the world over for its pristine beaches, delectable cuisine, laid back lifestyle and it’s warm and friendly people. Consistently ranked among India’s top tourist destinations, it is the ideal place for first time travelers and adventurers alike to acclimatize to a different culture. From caves behind waterfalls to villages hidden in sandy coconut forests, there is always something more waiting to be rediscovered. The mountain ranges and spice plantations enhance the beauty of this glorious state.

Apart from its natural beauty, this former capital of Portuguese India and home to various UNESCO World Heritage sites has a lot to offer in terms of architecture with churches, cathedrals and forts abounding. Put together, it is all of these aspects and more that make Goa the ultimate travel destination.

About the Accommodation

Along the route you will have overnight stays in hotels/guest houses, busses and trains. More information can be found inside the schedule.

Food Arrangements

Mostly Indian style dishes (vegetarian and chicken) will be served during the trip.

Facilities

Along the route – but not at all times – there are ATMs and small local stores. Please make sure you have enough money with you before starting the trip.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

You’ll be on a busy schedule.

Transportation

From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.

Quick Facts

Name: Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya)

Population: 1.252 billion

Capital: New Delhi

Language: Hindi, English and 22 other officially recognized languages

Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)

Time zone: UTC +5:30

Country Information

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!

Climate

India is so vast that climatic conditions in the far north have little relation to those of the extreme south. While the heat is building up to breaking point on the plains, the people of Ladakh, in the Himalaya, will still be waiting for the snow to melt on the high passes.

India has a three-season year – the hot, the wet and the cool. Generally, the best time to visit is during winter (November to February) although there are regional variations.

Summer (hot): The heat starts to build up on the northern plains of India from around February, and by April or May it really heats up. In central India temperatures of 45 °C and above are commonplace. Later in May, the first signs of the monsoon are visible in some areas – high humidity, violent electrical storms, short rain-storms and dust storms that turn day into night. The hot season is the time to leave the plains and retreat to the hills, and this is when Himalayan hill stations are at their best (and busiest). By early June, the snow on the passes into Ladakh melts and the roads reopen.

Monsoon (wet): When the monsoon finally arrives, it does not just suddenly appear. After some advance warning, the rain comes in steadily, generally starting around 1 June in the extreme south and sweeping north to cover the whole country by early July. The monsoon doesn’t really cool things down: at first hot dry and dusty weather is simply replaced by hot, humid, muddy conditions. Even so, it’s a welcome relief, not least for farmers who face their busiest time of year as they prepare fields for planting. It doesn’t rain solidly all day during the monsoon, but certainly rains virtually every day and the water tends to come down in buckets for a while followed by the sun. The main monsoon comes from the southwest, but the southeast coast is affected by the short and surprisingly wet northeast monsoon, which brings rain from mid-October to the end of December.

Winter (cool): Finally, around October, the monsoon ends for most of the country, and this is when most tourists visit. Generally, it’s not too hot and not too cool (although in October it can still be surprisingly humid in some regions). Delhi and other northern cities become quite cold at night in December and January. It certainly becomes cold in the far north. In the far south, where it never gets truly cool, the temperatures become comfortably warm.

Culture

Hinduism is a big part of the story and construction of Indian culture. India is known for its distinctive arts such as architecture, literature and performing arts but in the modern era it has shifted towards the film industry. Bollywood is followed by the Middle East, South Asia and even Russia! Their movies are known for its musical intake and beautiful stories and characters, all, native Indian. One of the things that characterize India the most is its caste system; this model includes the old tradition of arranged marriages and very traditional family values throughout castes and the country. Don’t miss a cricket match when you visit! It is the nation’s favourite sport and a beloved pastime in the country.

Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism are the major religious communities in the country. According to the 1990 census, Hindus constitute about 83% of the population followed by Muslims with 11% and Christians with 2%. Sikhs constitute about 1.6 %. Buddhists 0.6% Jains 0.3% and Zoroastrians (Parsees) 0.085%, of the 1 billion population. The rest constitute other minor religions. The population of all the 6 major religions has increased but Jainism has increased only marginally. India is a land of bewildering diversity. It is a jigsaw puzzle of people of every faith and religion, living together creating a unique and colorful mosaic. There is a festival for every reason and season. Many festivals celebrate the various harvests, signifying great historical figures and events while much express devotion to the deities of different religions. Every celebration revolves around rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, and decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feasts.

Transportation

The Indian railways are one of the largest undertakings in the world. The network covers a distance of over 60,000 Km. Road covers 5.5 million kilometers and over 10,000 km of inland navigable waterways. Using rail and bus services, one can reach almost any point on the Indian map though not always on time. All large cities are also connected with domestic air services.

Buses operate frequently to all smaller towns to/from major cities. There are also inter-state buses that take you from one city to the other (non stop). Before booking your bus tickets, always check the time it would take from one point to the other. For the local buses, you buy the ticket once you get on. For the lines that go between cities you will have to book and pay in advance.

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