4 Week India Road Trip- Volunteer and Travel
Fancy visiting 4 distinct states of India in one month? This Eco-tourism travel project could be the ultimate road trip for you. You’ll be taking in the experiences on offer across five very different regions of exotic India! Travel from the base of the Himalayas to the picturesque beaches of Goa taking in magnificent sights from the Taj Mahal, to the hot springs of Shimla. Spending a night in a desert in Rajasthan, travelling to the home of the Dalai Lama, trekking through forests, riding camels, exploring palaces, forts and temples and visiting world heritage sites, you will experience India in the fullest way. From its depth of culture to its sensational cuisine, your experiences will be vast as you travel on this environmentally friendly program.
Included in the Road Trip are a variety of opportunities to participate in volunteer projects where you’ll be working alongside local people to renovate community schools and take part in environmental work.
Your adventure is split into 3 blocks, the first 8 days takes place in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Agra, the second 8 days in Rajasthan, Udaipur and Mumbai and the last 10 days in Goa.
Beginning your road trip in New Delhi, the capital city, you will have an introductory meeting where you will meet the people associated with the project and begin to acquaint yourself with Indian life. From New Delhi, you will travel to Shimla to embark on a two-day trek reaching heights of 3100 metres. As part of this adventurous journey, you will also visit Thattapani Hot Springs, Shimla City and Dharamasala. In this home of the Dalai Lama, you will experience Tibetan culture within India and visit a temple and fort.
Returning to Delhi after your trek, you will have a day of sight-seeing and immersing yourself in the culture of this marvellous city. While at the city you can enjoy an array of culturally and historically important sites, as well as taking in the unique and distinct characteristics of the multitude of cultures alive in the city as people from all over India are drawn there to visit the capital city.
Finally, you will visit the Taj Mahal, a unique jewel of India, this testimony to true love standing within a marble mausoleum will leave you with an everlasting impression, confirming its place as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The second part of your trip begins in Rajasthan with the majority of your time spent in Udaipur, “the city of lakes”. In this magical setting you will witness incredible sunsets from the monsoon palace, enjoy a boat ride on the Pichola lake, take a cooking lesson in Rajasthani cuisine and watch a Bollywood movie. As if those experiences aren’t good enough, the icing on the cake is a camel ride into the desert where you will spend the night under the starlit sky.
Finishing off your visit to India, the third part takes place in Goa – a city dubbed as one of the top tourist destinations in India. Travelling in the warm climate down to the pristine sandy beaches, you will enjoy a sensational cuisine and be welcomed by friendly locals. Formerly a capital of Portuguese India, it is acknowledged as a UNESCO world heritage site as a result of its quantity, and quality of Churches and Cathedrals. As part of your trip you will also visit a spice plantation, a fort and take in the sights at some local markets. With a range of volunteering projects taking place in the vicinity, you will spend time taking part in a project which could involve working in a community school, orphanage, women’s shelter, elderly care centre or on an environmental project.
- Airport transfers as per the policy – 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 meals and European (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for the duration of the entire program as per the meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Accommodation at hotels, home stays, and at our accommodation facility – Shared 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, portage 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
Aims & Objectives
The aim of this program is to bring you closer to the authentic India. Through different projects and activities, you will get to truly immerse yourself in the culture, customs and lifestyle.
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 travel time
Distance 370 km
Day 2: Tuesday
The day begins early with an orientation session with our tour leader. This session also includes 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 30 minute uphill walk and brings you to the highest point of Shimla city set at 2250 mts. 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 cozy 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 architectured 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 a 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 your 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 at the island. Return to main land and spend the remaining part of the day exploring the sights of Mumbai. Overnight stay at Mumbai.
Day 18: Thursday
Today, you will take 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 at 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
A Few things to consider while you are with us
- Requested to be back at the centre or guest houses by 22:30 everyday
- Participants will not be entertained to hire any vehicles on their own
- Consumption of alcohol are 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!
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)
This route takes you from Delhi to Shimla and then we head north towards Dharamshala. We travel down again to Delhi and Agra and move further to the Western India state of Rajasthan. Then we head down south to Mumbai and finally into Goa.
Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh which translated means ‘The Land of snowy mountains’ is situated 2,205 metres (7,234 ft.) above sea level. The city is adorned with forests of pine, rhododendron and oak and is infamous for the monkeys that frequent it. Blessed with warm flowery summers and snowy winters, it was declared the summer capital of the British Rule in India in 1864. The city is famous for its Tudor and Neo-gothic architecture styles which date from the colonial era. However this does not rob it of its ‘Indianness’ as local markets and street vendors are present everywhere.
Shimla is home to Asia’s only natural ice skating rink. The handicraft of this area in the form of weaving, embroidery and regional jewelry is renowned not only throughout India, but the world over. Due to its pleasant climate, it attracts a favourable blend of Indian and International tourists throughout the year.
Udaipur, commonly called the Venice of the East and nicknamed ‘the city of lakes’ is located in the princely 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.
Goa in south-west India enjoys a warm and humid climate throughout the year. It is known the world over for its pristine beaches, delectable cuisine, laid back lifestyle and it’s warm and friendly people. Consistently ranked among India’s top tourist destinations, it is the ideal place for first time travelers and adventurers alike to acclimatize to a different culture. From caves behind waterfalls to villages hidden in sandy coconut forests, there is always something more waiting to be rediscovered. The mountain ranges and spice plantations enhance the beauty of this glorious state.
Apart from its natural beauty, this former capital of Portuguese India and home to various UNESCO World Heritage sites has a lot to offer in terms of architecture with churches, cathedrals and forts abounding. Put together, it is all of these aspects and more that make Goa the ultimate travel destination.
Accommodation & Food
Along the route you will have overnight stays in hotels/guest houses, busses and trains.The accommodation is standard with 2-6 people per room on a gender basis.
The meals are a mix of Western and Indian food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables.
Along the route – but not at all times – there are ATMs and small local stores. Please make sure you have enough money with you before starting the trip.
Trip Country Info
Capital: New Delhi
Language: Hindi, English and 22 other officially recognized languages
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Time zone: UTC +5:30
India is known for its pyramid-like temples, its colorful streets and it’s crowded cities. This country represents one of the most vivid and the largest cultures in the world. From the golden triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra to the coast where Ayurveda medicine was born, India offers a 360 degree journey through the most magical of lands. Known for being the second most populated country in the world, India will show you the faces of thousands of Hindu gods in its very vast collection of temples all throughout the country. The land of colors and smiles is ready to take you on your next adventure whether road tripping or helping out in local communities, this sub-continent will amaze your senses. India will shift the way you see the world.
India’s literacy rate is around 60% for women and 80% for men. The principal language is Hindi and English is also commonly used in all major cities. New Delhi, the capital of India, is what many would call the real deal when travelling through the country. It is one of the biggest and most populated cities in the whole world with up to 25 million citizens. New Delhi is known for its amazing cuisine and its new modality of “street food”, which means restaurants with every specialty you can imagine are available to you all throughout the city! Chennai is another of the biggest cities in India, known as the “Detroit of India” for its automobile industry. If you are looking for a quieter spot Kerala is the centre of lifestyle, art, architecture, language and literature in all of the country!
Gap year programs to India are enjoyed in a country with wonderful history that dates back several thousand years. In particular, one of the most incredible historical points of India is how four separate world religions originated here – Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Beyond this, however, India has only truly been independent as a nation since 1947, just a couple years after World War 2 concluded.
In that time, India has grown to be the eleventh largest economy in the world as well as the second most populous nation, second only to China. This isn’t particularly surprising when you consider that India has been an economic powerhouse for trade routes in the past, but it is very impressive to consider that India has almost reached the status of superpower over the course of 66 years.
The geography of India has been a target for nature lovers for many years but is finally becoming an easy place to visit and explore for foreign tourists. With the Himalayas to the north, the desert in the centre and the luxurious beaches to the west, India has a type of climate that suits the desires of just about anyone. Even if you have a soft spot for snow, you can easily embrace that love by visiting some of the northern mountains which are nearly always capped in snow and ice!
With thousands of years of history and an incredibly diverse climate, India is not a place you can simply read about and understand. You have to visit and immerse yourself within the various Indian cultures before you get an idea of just how amazing India really is. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch now to find out more about our amazing gap year volunteer programs and holidays in India or browse the latest experiences below.
Please Note TRU are not currently able to accept any volunteers in India due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. We will be sure to update you when it is safe to travel and restrictions ease in India.
Participant Criteria & Requirements
No requirements have been provided.
No requirements have been provided.
- 24/7 support in case of emergencies
- Airport Pick up
- English speaking coordinator
What's not included
- Airport drop off
- Travel insurance