WHY we need you in India
WHAT does the 28 Day India Road Trip Involve?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: 28 DAY VOLUNTEER ROAD TRIP
LOCATION: (start point) DELHI, DHARAMSALA, UDAIPUR, MUMBAI & GOA (end point)
START DATES: 1ST & 3RD MONDAY OF EACH MONTH (every month in July)
ACCOMMODATION: Hotels, volunteer houses, buses and trains
MIN DURATION: 28 DAYS
MIN AGE: 16+
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
This volunteer road trip allows you to visit 7 different Indian states in 28 days, plus volunteering in the community at the end! Experience everything from India’s incredible nature, culture and beautiful monuments, to its delicious cuisine.
The tour leader will meet you at New Delhi, and after checking in to your hotel, you will receive an in-depth orientation for your trip. Early morning on Monday, you will travel to Shimla, on a lovely heritage train as it journeys through the Himalayan landscape with beautiful views of the mountains. Here, you will go hiking in the mountains, taking in some stunning viewpoints, tasting the local food with local people, stay in a beautiful guest house located in the midst of the mountains. We will also walk around this mountain town to view temples, monuments, and museums.
We then travel by bus through the Himalayan mountains to experience 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 magnificent waterfall, and learn about Buddhism.
Then it’s a train ride to Amritsar, to visit the Golden Temple, an awe-inspiring sight. You will then travel to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, perhaps the highlight of the trip and worth viewing in person! Spend some time here soaking it in. You can also enjoy the Taj Mahal from a beautiful garden near the the Yamuna river.
Next up is the hustle and bustle of Udaipur, a place igniting all the senses. We will watch a cultural dance show and take a visit to the stunning Udaipur palace, the second-largest palace in India. We then head into the Thar desert, for a camel safari and camping experience under the stars.
You then travel into Mumbai, to visit its crowded streets, go on a Bollywood film city tour, and then a boat ride into the Arabian sea. Here we’ll visit an island temple called the Elephanta caves.
Our final destination is beachside Goa, where you will meet other volunteers who are already volunteering on various programs. Before you start your own volunteer section of the trip, we first visit various UNESCO sites and nearby beaches in Goa. You can also try yoga or an Ayurvedic massage.
The last week is spent volunteering on a variety of community engagement projects. You will have the choice volunteer at our women empowerment project, the community school, on renovation projects, the animal shelter or even at an old people’s home.
- Airport transfers – 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
- 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
See dropdown section further down for full schedule.
The beach goers destination with the right mix of infrastructure and order coupled with that crazy un-ordered Indian charm. Goa is a really fun destination, with plenty of party goers and a relaxed funky vibe great for the free spirited types who want a more ‘westernized’ taste of India!
Udaipur is commonly called the Venice of the East and nicknamed ‘the city of lakes’ is located in the 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 and perfect for those who want to experience the history and culture while volunteering in India.
- Volunteer on local projects
- Interact with the community and other volunteers
- Explore some of India’s best sights
Food & Accommodation
Along the route you will have overnight stays in hotels/guest houses, buses and trains. More information can be found inside the schedule.
All accommodation is included during your stay. All accommodation is simple, yet clean and comfortable with running water/showers and adequate western style bathroom and toilet facilities. You’ll be sharing a room with other volunteers of the same gender, normally a maximum of 4 per room.
3 good meals are also provided every day of the program (2 at weekends). The food served is mostly vegetarian and is authentic Indian with spicy and non-spicy options available. (Note, if you ask for it spicy…. watch out!) The food will mainly consist of indian dishses with rice, pulses, vegetables and rotis with some chicken dishes.
1 Day Orientation
24/7 In-Country Support
Project Materials & Equipment
Pre-departure Expert Advice
Preperation Tools & Checklists
Certificate of Completion
If you want the ultimate adventure, whilst giving back at the same time, this would be a great option. This experience allows you to meet new people, interact with the community and to travel India, for an all round adventure!
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 of travel time
Distance 370 km
Day 2: Tuesday
The day begins early with an orientation session with our tour leader. This session also includes a 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 33-minute uphill walk and brings you to the highest point of Shimla city set at 2250 m. 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 cosy 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 architecture 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 centre. 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 centre 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 an 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 the 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 centre 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 centre. 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 on the island. Return to the mainland and spend the remaining part of the day exploring the sights of Mumbai. Overnight stay at Mumbai.
Day 18: Thursday
Today, you will 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 centre 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 centre 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 centre, spend your time in one of the beautiful beaches of Goa to return to the centre 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 centre. 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
*Mode of transportation could change due to unavoidable circumstances
*This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
- 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)
- 3 meals p/day weekdays / 2 meals p/day weekends
- Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
- Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
- 1 day orientation
- Daily transportation to project
- In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
- Fundraising support
- University course credits (where applicable)
- Certificate of Completion
- Travel Insurance
- Tours, Souvenirs & spending money
Programs begin every 2nd & 3rd Monday (or every week in July), and volunteers are required to arrive the day prior. Your accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees.
A free airport pickup is included when arriving to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). You must arrive between 06:00 to 23:00 on Sunday.
If arriving early you could wait at the arrival’s terminal for the pickup time, or book a private transfer with us for $50, and any extra nights also at $50.
If arriving late
We strongly discourage arriving after your pickup window, as we leave the hotel at Delhi on Monday early morning at 6:00.
There cannot be any arrivals after the weekend (Sunday), as the road trip begins on early on Monday. We only receive participants on Sunday before a participant’s program begins.
If you arrive later than 23:00 on Sunday
Please contact the coordinator and they will guide you on how to reach the hotel. You will have to pay the taxi charges from the airport to the hotel on your own which would cost about 700 INR. Reach the hotel before 4:00 on Monday.
***Please note we leave the Hotel at Delhi at 6:00 on the morning of Monday***
From the airport to accommodation, it takes 45 minutes by road.
Weekends are always free for relaxing or sightseeing of your choice. Our ground operators will help you organise additional trips with special (non tourist) rates which can be paid directly in local currency. As a volunteer you will gain access to local knowledge, opportunities and value you simply would not find if staying as a standard tourist.
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, band aids/plasters, tape, antihistamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhoea, 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)
- Fleece top/sweater
- Locks for bags
- Outlet adapter
- Toiletries – Preferably biodegradable
A few things to consider while you are with us
- Request to be back at the accommodation by 22:33 everyday
- Participants will not be entertained to hire any vehicles on their own
- Consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited at all our Centres
- 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 centres, 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!
India is an eclectic and intoxicating cultural experience like no other! Home of the famous Taj Mahal, the Himalayas, the sacred Ganges river, and over 1 billion people of varying languages, cultures and beleifs, India is sure to push you to the boundaries of your comfort zone.
IVI is focused on establishing sustainable employment and education through volunteering efforts in India. Children in some of the regions we service have not had basic nutritional background. Over 950,000 newborns per year in India die from infections. Education about health for families provides a strong foundation for self-care in the communities we service in India.
India’s climte ranges from tropical down south to alpine up in the northern mountain regions.
From April until the start of October is summer, and in most places in India, is very hot. In June the monsoon rains start in Kerala down south, and move inland. Further north and in the rural areas of Rajasthan, it can get pretty cold from December to January- sometimes as low at minus 5 degrees!
Be prepared for some hot temperatures but if in the Sikkim region, bring along some warmer clothing as it can get cold in the mountains.
India is a country FULL of culture! From the beautiful colours, different religions, ancient traditions and the smells of spices- India is a country like no other. It’s the the second most populous nation after China, with over 1.2 billion people.
The most prominant religions are Hinduism and Buddhism and around 13% of the popualrtion are Muslim. Because there are so many religions, India celebrates a large number of festivals throughout the year. Some of these include Diwali, Holi, Eid and Good Friday.
In India, the cow is considered to be a Holy animal and you will see cars either driving around, or simply waiting if a cow is in the road holding up traffic! In some parts of India it is forbidden to eat meat or drink alcohol.
You will see many temples in India, as well as colourful clothing, particually the sari’s that the local women wear, and many cultural dance shows and activities.
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