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The Himalayan challenge provides a little bit of everything: an opportunity to volunteer in a meaningful and sustainable way, a chance to experience the best of rural Indian culture, and to cap it off, a rigorous but rewarding trek in the stunning Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas.
Your volunteer project will take place in Palampur, “The Tea Capital of North India.” You will be working at one of our partner schools teaching English, Health Education, and a variety of other subjects depending on the school’s needs. You will also lead extracurricular activities for the students and work on infrastructure renovations at the school, maximizing your handprint during the two weeks you are there.
The five-day trek will test your endurance; it is crucial that you be in good physical condition in order to embark on this trek. After spending two weeks volunteering at the foot of the Himalayas, you will have the chance to explore the mountains on foot on a challenging trek through the spectacular and scenic Nohru pass. The amazing views and breathtaking scenery will more than compensate for the strenuous ascent through rugged terrain!
If you want to see more of India during your time here, you can sign up for the extension trip that will take you on the Golden Triangle route through Agra, Jaipur, and New Delhi. See world-famous sites such as the Taj Mahal, experience the mouthwatering different flavors of Indian cuisine, and see all of what the world’s most populous democracy has to offer.
On arrival into the airport in Dharamsala, you will be met by a Challenges Abroad Australia representative and transferred to your accommodation in Palampur.
Today you will have an orientation and a quick city tour to see the highlights of the town that you will familiarize yourself to over the coming weeks. You will also have the chance to shop for any needs (SIM cards, toiletries, snacks, etc.)
You will volunteer at one of our partner schools on the outskirts of Palampur where you will have to work with students aged 3-16 in grades 1-10. These schools offer educational opportunities to students who come from poor, rural families and are considered to be Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The staff at these school work tirelessly to make up for the resource disparity between their schools and wealthier private schools, and the assistance our volunteers provide is highly welcomed. You will be focusing on teaching English, as the level of English students speak will affect their future educational and employment prospects. In addition, you will teach about nutrition and sanitation, art, music, sports, drama and any other subjects you may be proficient in. As local schools tend to emphasize rote learning straight from the book, this is an opportunity to teach students in fun and interactive ways, including games and competitions.
You will embark on the most challenging part of your Challenge: trekking in the Himalayas. You will head east to the town of Bir, where you will meet with your guide and gear up for the days ahead. The trek will be of moderate difficulty for the majority, but the portion of the trail leading up to Nohru Pass is steep and exhausting; stay hydrated and keep encouraging each other until you finally make it over the literal and metaphorical hump. On day 20 we return to Delhi.
Today you can either join the transfer and ﬂy back or continue for your Indian challenge on a fantastic 7 day extension, including a 5 day tour of the Golden Triangle
The final week takes you on the most spectacular travel adventure in India: the Golden Triangle tour! Vibrant markets, delicious foods and architectural splendours await as you discover Amritsar (the spiritual and cultural centre for Sikhism), Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur (the beautiful ‘Pink City’), visiting some of India’s greatest cultural gems. Touring these cities not only affords you with spectacular sightseeing opportunities, but with the chance to truly sense the rich heritage, religious diversity and modern life of India.
Optional Travel for $875
You will be picked up from your accommodation in Palampur and transfer to Amristar. From the city you will then travel on to the Wagah border (between Amritsar, India and Lahore, Pakistan) in time to witness the famous ‘lowering of the flags’ border closing ceremony.
Today is full of sight-seeing around Amristar. After breakfast you will start at the Golden Temple, considered the cultural and spiritual centre of Sikhism. From there you will move on to the Durgiana Temple, an important Hindu temple renowned for its carved silver doors. To round off the day you are free to explore the local markets! In the evening you will continue to soak up the local atmosphere by getting the chance to sample some traditional Punjabi cuisine.
Today you will be traveling by train from Amritsar to Agra. On arrival you are then free to explore the city as you wish!
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Its finally time to see the Taj Mahal! An early morning trip to India’s most famous landmark won’t disappoint, and new profile pictures will follow! Following the Taj Mahal you will go onto the historic and enormous Red Fort.
Today will start by visiting the Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, south west from Agra. Purpose built as the capital of an empire, it was then abandoned shortly after completion in the 16th century. You will then take the overnight train to Jaipur for the final stop on your Golden Triangle tour.
Arriving by elephant at the Amber Fort Palace will be a stunning start to your time in Jaipur. Its extraordinary hill-top location overlooking the Maota Lake makes it a fantastic experience. You will then return into Jaipur to visit the City Palace, where you will discover why it is known as the Pink city!
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Your final day in Jaipur will allow you to take in some rather more unusual sites at the Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal. The afternoon will give you more time to do some last haggling in the local markets to ensure you have got all the souvenirs you need.
Today you will transfer back to travel back to Delhi by train ready for your flight home the following day.
|Contact Name||Departure/Arrival Date||Availability|
|All Students||15th June – 6th July 2019 (Ext. 12th July)||Book Now|
|All Students||29th June – 20th July 2019 (Ext. 26th July)||Book Now|
|All Students||13th July – 3rd August 2019 (Ext. 9th August)||Book Now|
Please note that dates are subject to minor changes and these will be broadcast well in advance to your departure.