Featuring Dharamsala – The Indian Town with a Tibetan heart
Plus Touring India’s Golden Triangle:
Delhi, Agra, Bharatpur, Samode and Jaipur
This tour has been designed for volunteers who are young at heart and ready for their next adventure! Volunteers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a developing country, experience another culture and contribute to the development of education in the local communities (both Tibetan and Indian) in Dharamsala India. The culture of this town, which is home to the world’s most famous refugee, His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama, is enriched with the Tibetan way of life. Scattered about the Himalayan hilltops are monasteries, nunneries and sacred retreats which all contribute to raising the energy of this special place.
We run this program in collaboration with LHA Charitable Trust which was created to form a cultural and social service bridge between the Tibetan Refugees in Northern India and the people elsewhere that have so much to learn from their wisdom. LHA has been working with the Tibetan Refugees in India since 1997 and is delighted to expand its reach by welcoming you.
What is really special about this program is that you are paired up with your learning partner via email one month before the program starts. This affords you the opportunity to start building your global friendship and helps your partner practice their English in advance of your arrival.
After your stay in Dharamsala, there will be a tour highlighting the best of India’s most scenic and historical places featuring the GOLDEN TRIANGLE.
India’s Golden Triangle comprises the three most visited cities in the country: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, which are all connected and have been dubbed “golden” for the extraordinary wealth of cultural and historical splendor on offer in each of the three cities.
- Airfare to India
- Inter-India Flights
- Other tour-related transportation in India
- Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, including luggage handling
- Accommodations in First Class hotels in Delhi, Agra, Bharatpur, Samode & Jaipur
- Standard Accommodations with private bath in Dharamsala
- Hotel service charges and taxes
- Daily breakfast
- Other meals as per itinerary
- All site entrance fees
- Pre-paid Gratuities
- Locally guided
Special Added Features:
- Welcome Dinner
- Tour of The Dalai Lama’s Temple and Gardens surrounding his home.
- Lecture from Ama Adhe, author of “The Voice That Remembers”
- Tour of the sites of the Tibetan Children’s Village
- Lecture on Buddhism from a local Tibetan Rinpoche or Monk
- Tour of Norbulingka – The Institute to preserve Traditional Tibetan Handcrafts and Art
- Sunset visit of the Taj Mahal
- Visit to heritage city of Fatehpur Sikri,
- Visit by Rickshaw to the bird sanctuary in Bharatpur
- Excursion via Elephant to the Amber Fort in Jaipur.
- Farewell Dinner
Volunteer Projects Include:
- Every day between 9am and 12pm you will spend time on a one to one basis with your learning partner. The first half of the morning is spent with you either teaching conversational English. As our relationships grow, there may be other areas that become evident in which our group can assist. During this time your Tibetan friend will also take you out to experience the local sights through their eyes, even taking you into their own typically Tibetan homes. Then after an extended lunch break we meet up again as a group at 3pm. The rest of the afternoon is spent doing special activities such as visiting the Dalai Lama’s temple, attending lectures by local refugees and having a guided tour around the local school, the colorful Tibetan Children’s Village. Evening opportunities include such things as Tibetan Massage, Yoga, Tibetan Cooking classes, Tibetan language classes and/or just a quiet sunset stroll overlooking the snow covered Himalayan Peaks. In other words on this tour you not only get to help where it is much needed but you also get an authentic Tibetan experience that is well off the beaten track!
- In Delhi a visit to the Salaam Baalak Trust, to assit children that live and work on the streets. Their mission is to provide a sensitive and caring environment for these children and they believe that volunteers are a vital part of that mission. They welcome volunteers from all backgrounds and skill-sets to come to their organization and spend time with the children and staff there.Barara is between Agra and heritage city of Fatehpur Sikri, and has been declared a “Tourist Village”. It has been host to IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) delegates from USA since 1964 and ahs created a peaceful coexistence with perfect harmony between all communities that has no communal or caste based violence occurred.
- At Samode, the “Dream Project” pairs you with a local student and together discusses the student’s dreams for this art project. We have found it to be a valuable opportunity in teaching children the value of dreaming: how important it is to have dreams, to wish for things, to have goals in life… and how visualizing ones dreams in this way and keeping them near you while you sleep helps your dreams come true.
Day 1: To Delhi
Depart for Delhi on your overnight flight
Day 2: To Dharamsala (D)
Arrival in Delhi where you connect to Dharamsala . Arrive late morning arrival. After acclimatizing yourself to the sights, sounds and culture. In the afternoon, a tour of The Dalai Lama’s Temple and Gardens surrounding his home. Since fleeing Tibet and setting up sacred home in Dharamsala the Dalai Lama now has thousands of visitors from all over the world to His home in exile which is situated on a Himalayan hilltop with incredible views. Afterwards your local Host will talk to you on what to expect over the next few days. Overnight Dharamsala.
Day 3: In Dharamsala (B/L/D)
Today we will hear a special lecture from Ama Adhe, an incredible Tibetan Elder woman who spent 27 years in a Chinese Torture camp. The stories of refugees are incredibly humbling yet sure to ignite your desire to help even more. To get the most you can from this experience we suggest you read her book “The Voice That Remembers” prior to coming on the tour. Overnight Dharamsala.
Day 4: In Dharamsala (B/L/D)
Tour of LHA Charitable Trust and lecture on Social Service Practice with the Tibetan Refugee Community from Prof. Neil Guidry of Tulane University who co-founded the organization in 1997. LHA has been a great source of not only inspiration but an educational foundation for the Tibetan people. LHA’s mission is twofold; offering free social services and education to Tibetans, while raising global awareness of the Tibetan struggle and bringing to light what this incredible culture has to offer to world peace. Overnight Dharamsala.
Day 5: In Dharamsala (B/L/D)
Tour of the sites of the Tibetan Children’s Village (Established by the Dalai Lama’s Sister and now educates some 30,000 Tibetan Refugee Children throughout India and Nepal), so that the Tibetan culture is kept alive. Overnight Dharamsala.
Day 6: In Dharamsala (B/L/D)
This morning’s lecture on Buddhism from a local Tibetan Rinpoche or Monk. Participants will be given a brief mantra empowerment and guidance on mantra meditation practice focused on developing a compassionate heart. We have a great deal to learn from Buddhism as its number one message of compassion for others can be understood in any language, culture or creed. Overnight Dharamsala.
Day 7: In Dharamsala (B/L/D)
Today we will have a tour of Norbulingka – The Institute to preserve Traditional Tibetan Handcrafts and Art (a great opportunity to buy gifts that will support the community). While strolling through beautiful Japanese style gardens our group will witness young Tibetans being trained in the Tibetan arts as they have been for hundreds of years. Overnight Dharamsala.
Delhi stands as the capital of Modern India. Here you can see the mingling of the Old and New India, the ancient and the modern. Delhi is made up of seven ancient cities, spanning the period from the 11th to 20th centuries. Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many emperors, which has left behind a plethora of monuments that commemorate the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Very few cities in the world can express such a profusion of architectural styles. Welcome dinner and Overnight Delhi.
Day 9: In Delhi – 1st Volunteer Program (B)
After breakfast proceed for city tour of Old Delhi. Old Delhi was an ancient walled city. Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in 1650 switched the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi. Shah Jehan possessing an exquisite talent, especially in architecture, created the seventh city and in the process brought about Delhi’s glorious renaissance. Start the day with a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi. Here we will see Red Fort [from outside] the most opulent Fort and Palace of the Mughal Empire. The fort is Shah Jehan’s symbol of power and elegance, built behind red sandstone walls. Its main gate (Lahore Gate) faces Chandni Chowk; the perpetually congested avenue heading west from the Red Fort is filled with twisting lanes, small streets and crowded bazaars. Also visit Raj Ghat, the memorial site of the Mahatma Gandhi; Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India; and Chandni Chowk, the bustling and colourful market of the old city. Chandni Chowk was the commercial centre of Delhi in the old time and we will see it come alive in the morning as the trading day starts. After lunch on our own, we depart to the Salaam Baalak Trust, to assist children that live and work on the streets. Their mission is to provide a sensitive and caring environment for these children and they believe that volunteers are a vital part of that mission. They welcome volunteers from all backgrounds and skill-sets to come to their organization and spend time with the children and staff there. There are a range of volunteer activities available. Specifically, they need volunteers in the areas of education, mental health and healthcare, life skills development, documentation and communication, creative expression (includes sports and talent development), and computer skills. Return to our hotel for our overnight stay in Delhi and dinner on your own at one of the wonderful local restaurants.
Day 10: To Agra (B/D)
After breakfast, proceed for the New Delhi tour. New Delhi, designed and built by the British in the 1920’s – it’s a city of wide boulevards impressive Government buildings, green parks and gardens. In 1911 King George V announced the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. The King’s architects, Lutyens and Baker, set in motion the design and construction of Delhi’s eight city – New Delhi. Lutyens designed an “Imperial City” having palatial-sized buildings set amid broad tree-lined avenues punctuated by Mughal style gardens, complete with fountains and shallow pools. It took 20 years to complete this immense undertaking only to have the British pack up and relinquish the subcontinent in 1947. We will visit two monuments from Delhi’s past – Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. Your drive takes you along the ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House. After the tour, we drive to Agra. The. On arrival in Agra, check-in to our hotel. In the evening at sunset visit The Taj Mahal: Visit that magnificent monument to love – Taj Mahal, built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631, and is believed to have taken 22 years to complete, with over 20,000 craftsmen working around the clock. The design and construction is said to be that of the legendary architect, Ustad Ahamad Lahori. Legend has it that once construction was completed, Shah Jehan had Lahori’s hands cut off, and blinded, so he would never be able to duplicate the structure. What makes the Taj Mahal unique is its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, medium of construction and ornamentation. Dinner at our hotel. Overnight in Agra.
Day 11: To Bharatpur and 2nd Volunteer Program (B/D)
After breakfast, we depart for the Barara Tourist village, our next Volunteer program. Barara is between Agra and heritage city of Fatehpur Sikri, and has been declared a “Tourist Village”. It has been host to IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) delegates from USA since 1964 and ahs created a peaceful coexistence with perfect harmony between all communities that has no communal or caste based violence occurred. After the camp visit we continue to Bharatpur and en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri. The imperial city of the Mughal dynasty between 1571 and 1584, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The architectural grandeur of this deserted city cannot be described in words and one can only experience the aura of its magnificent edifices by seeing them. Fatehpur Sikri is the most popular day excursion from Agra, the city of Taj and capital of invincible Mughals for a long time. Arrive into Bharatpur and check into our hotel. The later this afternoon proceed on to visit the bird sanctuary by rickshaws. Dinner and Overnight at our hotel in Bharatpur.
Day 12: To Jaipur (B/L/D)
After breakfast we drive to Jaipur. Lunch along the way. Upon arrival you check into our hotel and have the rest evening of the evening free to relax in the hotel. Known as the “Pink City”, Jaipur is the capital of the colorful state of Rajasthan. It has the distinction of being a well planned and laid out city. As you drive through the old part of town, you will witness a life most unlike others. Witness how the city blooms during the day in a kaleidoscope of color and sound Dinner and Overnight at our hotel in Jaipur.
Day 13: In Jaipur (B)
We depart our hotel for a half day excursion to inspiring Amber Fort. Amber Fort is a marvelous example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. We travel up to the fort in jeeps. The interior of the fort has various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings. As we move between the rooms of this magnificent structure, we can feel the history and visualize the pomp and grandeur of a kingdom never conquered.
IMPORTANT: Elephant ride at Amber Fort cannot be guaranteed in advance. This is due to the fact that the number of elephants and the trips each elephant can take is very limited. All guests have to reach the Amber Fort in time and stand in line to wait their turn to climb the elephant, these lines could sometimes be very long and some guests have had to be turned back.
Lunch on our own before we venture into the city, this time on a city tour. We’ll visit the City Palace Museum where we can see an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art. The museum is resplendent with its collection of robes of royal princes, carpets, an armory of old weapons, miniature paintings portraying court scenes, battle scenes and processions, Also visit the awe inspiring Jantar Mantar (an accurate observatory built in 1726 AD). Included will a photo visit at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) – a five storied wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Evening free for independent activities for shopping and dinner on our own. Overnight at our hotel in Jaipur.
Day 14: In Jaipur: To Samode – 3rd Volunteer Program (B/D)
We leave Jaipur after breakfast for the drive to Samode (about 1 ½ hours). At Samode, the “Dream Project” pairs you with a local student and together discusses the student’s dreams for this art project. We have found it to be a valuable opportunity in teaching children the value of dreaming: how important it is to have dreams, to wish for things, to have goals in life… and how visualizing ones dreams in this way and keeping them near you while you sleep helps your dreams come true. Return to Jaipur for some relaxing before our farewell to India dinner. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 15 To Delhi (B)
An early breakfast as we head back to Delhi and the International Airport to board our flight home.
NOTE: This is a sample itinerary for group tour leaders.
It is a suggestion to assist teachers, religious leaders, organization heads, authors, speakers and other leaders who are planning a travel program for their group.
Your organization could go on a tour like this.
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