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Group Size: Varies
Trip code: INVA
Duration: 5-7 weeks
Explore incredible India on a 3-week tour followed by either 2 or 4 weeks volunteering in Kerala. Discover the wonders of India on an epic tour from Delhi, including visits to Agra, the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, rural Rajasthan, Pushkar and romantic Udaipur. Soak up the sun on Goa’s beautiful beaches before heading to Kochi in colourful Kerala, location for your volunteer experience. Help kids by teaching at schools and orphanages or assist at a school building project and make a real difference to the lives of children and communities in India. Don’t miss this unique volunteer & adventure experience!
Spend 5 or 7 weeks in amazing India: Explore India’s highlights on a 3-week tour from Delhi to Kochi and then stay on in Kerala to volunteer for either 2 or 4 weeks at rewarding teaching or community projects. Choose from:
Option 1: 5 weeks: 3-week tour + 2 weeks volunteering with kids in Kerala
Option 2: 7 weeks: 3-week tour + 4 weeks volunteering with kids in Kerala
Option 3: 5 weeks: 3-week tour + 2 weeks volunteering at a building project in Kerala
3-Week Discover India Tour: Delhi to Kochi
The tour route runs as follows:
Delhi – Agra (Taj Mahal) – Jaipur (Amber Fort) – Tordi Sagar rural village – Pushkar – Udaipur – Mumbai – Goa – Kochi, Kerala – Alleppey – Kollum – Varkala - Kochi
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi. Touch down in Delhi at any time. Enjoy some free time to discover Delhi before meeting your group and guide at a welcome meeting in the late afternoon. There’s so much to see and do in Delhi you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Day 2: Agra. A 3-hour train ride takes you to Agra. Enjoy a guided visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, and hop on a rickshaw to see the Red Fort or the ‘Baby Taj’ in your free time.
Day 3-4: Jaipur. Spend 2 days exploring the fascinating “Pink City”, including an orientation walk. Don't miss Jaipur’s City Palace, the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal, the ‘Palace of the Winds’.
Day 5: Tordi Sagar. Experience a slice of rural life in Rajasthan off the beaten tourist trail into the village of Tordi Sagar. Take a tour of the area with a local guide and learn about the artisan trades which still thrive in this out-of-the-way spot. Join an optional camel cart ride into the dunes to watch the sunset.
Day 6-7: Pushkar. Enjoy a delicious local lunch before you leave Tordi Sagar. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city, which takes you to the Lake, the ghats and the Brahma temple. On day 7, see the sunrise from the stunning Savitri temple. End your stay in style with a sunset camel ride, dinner & local entertainment in the desert.
Day 8-10: Udaipur. An 8-hour journey brings you to Udaipur, famous for its beautiful lakes and palaces. Enjoy a guided city orientation tour and then spend some free time in Udaipur: Take a boat ride, join a cookery class, visit a craft village, see temples or the City Palace, have an Ayurvedic massage or watch a cultural show.
Day 11: Udaipur/Mumbai. Travel by local bus to Ahmedabad and pay a visit to the famous and fascinating Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati. Board an overnight train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.
Day 12: Mumbai. Arrive in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Go on an orientation walk to see Mumbai Colaba and the Fort Area. Enjoy some free time to explore India's most lively metropolis, Mumbai!
Day 13: Mumbai/Goa. Take a short, included morning flight to the gorgeous Indian region of Goa. Hit the beautiful beaches of Northern Goa, try delicious food at the night markets, and make the most of the nightlife.
Day 14: Goa. Grab a slice of bliss as you relax on Goa’s stunning beaches. Enjoy some free time in Goa: Visit local monuments, go on a tour of the churches of Old Goa, discover the capital Panjim or join a spice tour. Don’t forget to sample the delicious Goan cuisine - Yum!
Day 15: Kochi (Cochin). Jump on an inclusive, internal flight to Kochi (Cochin) in Kerala. When you arrive, explore at your own pace and discover Kochi’s fascinating history, architecture and style. Please note: At this point in the tour you may be joined by additional group members.
Day 16: Alleppey. Travel on to Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha), the ‘Venice of the East’. Enjoy a guided walk and spend the night in a traditional island homestay on an island, complete with a local dinner.
Day 17: Kollam. Hop on board a boat for a morning ferry cruise around the beautiful backwaters in Kerala. Travel on to the old trading port town of Kollam by public bus and go on an orientation walk.
Days 18-19: Varkala. Visit the bustling fish market on Kollam docks before travelling to the temple and beach town of Varkala. Varkala beach’s unspoilt sands are hidden away from the tourist trail - don’t miss the sunset in this amazing spot! Enjoy some free time to relax: Bliss out on the beach or get spiritual on an ashram visit.
Day 20: Kochi (Cochin). Return to Kochi and go on an orientation tour of the city, including visits to Fort Kochi, the Dutch Palace, Jewish Town, the spice market, St Francis Church and the Dutch cemetery. In the late afternoon or early evening you have the option to watch the traditional Keralan dance form known as Kathakali, one of the oldest dance forms in India - you can even watch the performers put on their makeup before the show!
Most of our travellers on this trip choose to leave the tour and begin their volunteer experience today, collected around 4pm for a volunteer welcome meeting and orientation session. However, as the tour doesn't 'officially' end until tomorrow, you do have the choice to stay with the tour group for the final night. If you choose to do this you will need to ensure that you meet the volunteer group by 9am the following morning in Kochi. Please note that if you choose this option you will miss out on your welcome meeting orientation.
Volunteering in Kerala
You can opt to either:
1) Volunteer with Kids (2 or 4 weeks)
2) Volunteer at a School Building Project (2 weeks only)
Day 1 (day 20 of the tour): Check in to your volunteer accommodation. In the evening you will enjoy a welcome meeting from the local volunteer project team and get a chance to meet your group.
Day 2: During day 2 you will have a cultural orientation, get fully prepared for your project placement plus be given local health & safety advice. After your orientation session you will be given an introductory tour of the fantastic Fort Kochi area which will be your home during your stay in Kerala.
Days 3-7: Volunteering. On day 3 you will be met at your accommodation by the local project coordinator, who will then travel with you to the site of your volunteer project. The cost of travel from your accommodation to the project site is not included but will only cost around £1.50-£2 per day. A typical volunteer day will run from around 09:30am – 17:30pm.
For the further weeks of your programme, weekdays will be spent volunteering, with weekends free.
Please note: This itinerary is a guide only and may be subject to change according to the needs of the local community at the time of your trip. Volunteers should be flexible and ready to adapt to unexpected changes and new situations.
Your evenings and weekends are free time to have fun and enjoy optional activities. You can wander into town and hang out in the cafes, visit the local markets or walk along the coast. You can take a ferry or taxi into the main city if you want to enjoy cultural shows, football matches or go to the cinema. Fort Kochi is a fantastic base from which to explore the gorgeous area of Kerala and your local team can help you to arrange exciting optional activities at your request (extra cost). Optional activities include:
Please note: During school holidays you will work with children in the community rather than in a school setting. During exam periods in December and March you may help out at a women’s empowerment project when the children are busy. On certain religious holidays, no volunteering will take place.
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