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Find your inner peace through yoga and volunteer work in India! This unique Himalayan retreat project is filled with fun activities as well as meaningful volunteer work. Activity highlights include a trek to Billing, visits to temples, Buddhist monasteries and tea plantations, meditation classes and, of course, yoga practice!

Program Highlights: 
  • Deepen your yoga and meditation practice in the heart of the Himalayas
  • Trek through Bir, a serene refuge for Tibetans, surrounded by mountains
  • Visit tea plantations and holy sites
  • Volunteer with children at a local daycare center
  • Enjoy freshly cooked Indian meals three times a day

Your Schedule at a Glance (Two week commitment): 

Arrival Day, Saturday: Arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). You will be picked up at the airport and taken to your accommodation in New Delhi. Take the rest of the day to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of India!

Day 1, Sunday: Take a short flight to Dharamsala (not included in program fee). Once you arrive, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your new home in Palampur. After some time to rest and meet other volunteers, you will have an orientation session which will go over your schedule for the rest of the trip.
 
Day 2, Monday: Start your day by volunteering at a local daycare center, doing some light renovation, repair and paint work. In the evening, participate in an introduction to yoga class, as well as a meditation session.

Day 3, Tuesday: After a morning of volunteering, you will visit tea plantations, a Palampur highlight, as well as go on a tour of other famous sites such as the Shiva Temple and Tashi Jon Monastery.

Days 4-6, Wednesday-Friday: Continue doing volunteer work at the daycare center in the mornings and taking yoga and meditation classes in the afternoons. 

Day 7, Saturday: Trek day! Head to the hill town of Bir for a 4-5 hour walk, enjoying the scenery and the majestic Himalayas along the way. Stay overnight in Bir, a town known for its huge number of Tibetan refugees.

Day 8, Sunday: Head back to Palampur, visiting Buddhist monasteries along the way. Take the evening to rest after your weekend away.

Days 9-12, Monday-Thursday: Go back to volunteering at the daycare. You may also have the opportunity to teach and play with the kids this week. In the evenings continue your yoga and meditation practice.

Day 13, Friday: Spend your last day in Palampur, shopping, sightseeing and having fun with your new friends.

Day 14, Saturday: Departure day.

 
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Location of the Project:  India, multiple locations
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Project length:  2 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)
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Volunteer Work:  Painting, light renovation
Age:  18-60
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 25 international volunteers
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Important Note:  A domestic flight from New Delhi to Dharamsala must be purchased for Day 2 of the schedule.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms in volunteer house
Food:  Most meals are included
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Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers are provided on both arrival and departure days
Orientation:  Project orientation and itinerary overview is included
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights (including an additional domestic flight from New Delhi to Dharamsala), visas (if required), travel health insurance, meals on Day 1, lunch on Day 9 (Sunday), personal expenses.
India is said to be the Heart of the East, sharing borders with five other Eastern countries. A culturally diverse country, India is a must-see destination for travelers. With Hinduism at its core, the region is founded on a deep-rooted respect for nature, for people and for altruism as well as the daily practice of yoga for ultimate wellbeing.

This volunteering retreat is located in Palampur, India. Palampur is a small town surrounded by rice fields and tea plantations, located just beneath the majestic Himalayan Mountains and a mere 35 kilometers southeast of the spiritual center of Dharamsala. The town gets its name from the Indian word “palum” which means stream, as several rush throughout the town. 
Volunteer work for this project takes place at a daycare center. The specific volunteer tasks are dependant upon the number of volunteers and the center needs at the time. Responsibilities for time periods with less than three volunteers will center on childcare activities. The children at this center are between two and four years of age. For groups of three or more, the volunteer work will consist of light renovation and painting of the daycare centers.

Some of your tasks may include:
  • Light renovation work
  • Painting of daycare center
  • Assisting teachers with childcare activities

Sample Schedule: Volunteers will arrive on Saturday and be transported to a volunteer house where they can relax and get to know their fellow volunteers for the rest of the day. On Sunday volunteers will fly from New Delhi to Dharamsala. Volunteer work will begin on Monday and continue through to Friday, with work mostly taking place in the mornings and yoga and meditation classes and day trips in the afternoons/evenings. The trek to Billing will take place over the first weekend. The next week will follow a similar schedule, with a mix of volunteer work and guided tours/trips. Volunteers will return to New Delhi that Friday evening and depart for home on Saturday.
Internet
Internet:  Wifi is available at the volunteer house
Laundry
Laundry:  Washing machine is available for use at the volunteer house
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Shared, single-gender rooms in a volunteer house. Bathrooms include modern toilets. Mixed-gender, tent accommodations are provided on the evening of Day 8 during the trek. Sleeping bags or mattresses will be provided.
Food:  During the project, three meals per day are provided at the accommodations, and are freshly prepared by the chef. Vegetarians can be accommodated. Breakfast usually consists of breads and spreads. Lunches and dinners are generally rice dishes with vegetables, chicken, lentils and curry. Two liters of clean drinking water will be provided daily.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Basic level of English
  • Good level of fitness (can trek for 4-5 hours)
  • Police clearance
This program itinerary contains several travel highlights. Top destinations include the following:

Lord Shiva Temples 
These temples are dedicated to one of the Hindu deities, Shiva who is said to be the destroyer of ignorance.

Tashi Jong Monastery
The Tashi Jogn is one of the several Buddhist monasteries that will be visited during this retreat.

Tea Plantations
Palampur is most well-known for the tea plantations that surround it. Volunteers will visit tea plantations to learn more about the process of growing and producing teas.

Trek from Bir to Billing
Participants will trek for two days from Bir to Billing, where volunteers can participate in fun activities such as paragliding.
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