Road Trip - 28 Day India (Shimla, Dharmasala, Agra, Goa)

WHY we need you in India

group outside the Taj Mahal

WHAT does the 28 Day India Road Trip Involve?

group outside the Taj Mahal

Why Involvement Volunteers International?

alex stock india

  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: Criminal background check required

Overview

Explore India’s diverse beauty with our 28-day eco-friendly travel program! Visit seven unique states, discovering culture, monuments, nature, and cuisine while prioritizing the environment. Upon arriving in New Delhi, our tour leader welcomes you, and after settling into your hotel, you’ll receive a detailed orientation. Begin your journey with a Monday morning train ride to Shimla on the “Himalayan Queen,” recognized by UNESCO.

Enjoy the heritage train journey through the Deccan Plateau and Himalayan landscapes, taking in stunning mountain views. In Shimla, engage in mountain hikes, try local food, stay in a mountain guest house, and explore the town’s temples and museums.

Travel by bus through the Himalayas to experience Tibetan culture in Dharamshala, home to the Dalai Lama. Walk through monasteries, visit waterfalls, and learn about Buddhist teachings. Move on to Agra to witness the grandeur of the Taj Mahal at sunrise and relax by the Yamuna river.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Udaipur, witness cultural dances, and explore the second-largest palace in India. Head to the Thar desert for a camel safari and camping under the stars. Explore Mumbai’s streets, take a boat ride to the Elephanta Caves, and enjoy evenings at your own pace.

In Goa, join community programs, visit UNESCO sites, and relax on famous beaches. Experience yoga and Ayurvedic massages before heading to the magical ruins of Hampi, once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Conclude your trip with a week of community engagement projects, choosing from options like women’s empowerment, community schools, renovations, animal shelters, or spending time with senior citizens at an old age home. Select a project that resonates with you and be part of a growing community, leaving with unforgettable memories of your incredible journey.

What’s included

  • 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, homestays, and at our accommodation facility – Shared single gender accommodation.
  • Local transportation to all venues.
  • Entry fees to all places.
  • Extensive pre-departure information

What’s Excluded

  • Personal expenses such as table drinks, room service items, laundry, telephone calls, tips, portage at hotels or airports, bottles of water during your road trip etc.
  • Any additional expenses caused by or liability for disturbance in the 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.

Location

Goa, Kerala
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, Rajasthan
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.

Project Tasks

  • 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.

Road
Trips


- 28 Day Road Trip










All prices in USD
  • 1 Month - $2880
Vol House
What's Included
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Airport Pickup
  • Local Transportation
  • 1 Day Orientation
  • 24/7 In-Country Support
  • Project Materials & Equipment
  • Pre-departure Expert Advice
  • Preperation Tools & Checklists
  • Certificate of Completion

Testimonials...

FAQ

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!

Day 1:Sunday

Arrival at Delhi Airport. Our Coordinator will be at the airport to welcome you into India & direct you to your accommodation. Soon after your arrival and overnight stay at New Delhi on Sunday.

Week 1: Delhi, Shimla & Dharamsala

Day 2: Monday

Travel from Delhi to Shimla:

On the morning of Monday, 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, we checked 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 3: 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 “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 acclimated 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 traveling with at a safe place from where you can collect them after the hike.

Day 4: Wednesday

Today is the best! to experience the Himalayan ranges. Hike into the Himalayan mountains which is also quite a challenging element of your trip which culminates on top of a hill at 3100 metres offering an amazing picturesque view of the Himalayan range. You will rest here while having your lunch in the ambiance 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. A 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 5: Thursday

Our tour leader will take you on a beautiful heritage walk through the deodar forests to visit historical monuments and temples. Afternoon, we take a bus to Dharamshala, the abode of the Dalai Lama.

Shimla to Dharamshala Bus ride: 9 hours

Day 6: Friday

Dharamshala – Experience Tibetan culture, and 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 to a traditional Tibetan dinner. Night stay in Dharamshala.

Day 7: Saturday

Dharamshala – Experience Tibetan art Visit Norbulingka Monastery to learn thangka Painting and wood carving.  

The Norbulinka Monastery is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan art & has 300 artisans with traditional masters passing these skills down to coming generations. Housed within the monastery the art of statue making, metal craft, thangka painting, tailoring and woodcraft are some of the heritage skills that are honed by aspiring artisans.

Day 8: Sunday

Spend your day in Delhi to visit the Lotus Temple, Gandhi Museum, and Red Fort. Overnight stay in Delhi. New Delhi is the Capital city of India and contains the best of modern India fused with a rich history that spans centuries. The Lotus Temple is a marvel that serves as a monument that embodies the true nature of a country with a myriad array of faiths & religions. Delve into the architectural wonder of the Red Fort which was once the capital of the Mughal empire exhibiting Mughal-style buildings with the influence of Hindu design.  The Gandhi Museum will serve as a window to one of the most influential personalities in Indian and world History.

Week 2: Agra & Rajasthan

Day 9: Monday

Taj Mahal (Agra)

Today we have an early start, we take the morning train from Delhi to Agra.  Arrive in Agra and check into a hotel just next to the Taj Mahal. A stunning architectural triumph that was inspired by love.

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).

  • Agra to Udaipur (Air conditioned Indian Railways)

Day 10: 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 11: Wednesday

Today we went on a temple tour in the morning. Visit the beautiful sculptured 8th and 10th-century ancient temples on the outskirts of Udaipur. We return to our center and then in the evening, we take an overnight bus to Jaisalmer which is approximately 12 hrs for the next highlight of our trip – The Desert experience.

Day 12: Thursday

“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. We then go sightseeing in 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 we camp in the desert under the stars. Overnight stay in the desert which is guaranteed to be one of your most memorable moments in life.

Day 13: Friday

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 that evening, we took an overnight bus back to Udaipur.

Day 14: Saturday

  • You will spend the entire morning learning the art of Rajasthani puppetry and painting. We will then take an overnight bus to Mumbai.
  • Udaipur to Mumbai – Bus (Comfortable air-conditioned bus)

 

Day 15: Sunday

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 16: Monday

Today, we took an early morning superfast train to Goa. Arrive in Goa early at 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 spread of Goan lunch, you can relax and freshen up and meet other participants at the house. Overnight stay at our centre in Goa.

Day 17: Tuesday

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 plantation, learn about various Indian spices, and how they are grown before reaching your plates. After a sumptuous lunch at the plantation, spend some time at the plantation and on the way back visit a small yet beautiful waterfall. Later in the evening, take your time out on your own. Overnight stay in Goa. \

Day 18: Wednesday

After breakfast spend the morning with a hands-on session in preparing a typical Goan lunch. We then visit the mangroves of Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary to get a glimpse of local & migratory birds in the afternoon. We trek up a small hillock to witness the ruins of a Portuguese seminary before getting back to the centre & get packed up for the next leg of our adventure. We board a bus & head out for Hampi after dinner

Day 19: Thursday

Arrive in Hampi early morning where we check in to our rooms & freshen up. After breakfast, we take a guided tour into the ancient realm of the Vijaynagar empire. Your guide & the exquisitely carved structures will take you back in time to an ancient civilization at its peak. The sprawling complex of Hampi is a UNESCO heritage site. We then lunch at one of the finest eateries in Hampi & resume our tour.  We also get a glimpse into one of the rituals carried out by the main temple in Hampi. Dinner & a well-deserved night’s sleep.

 

Day 20: Friday

After breakfast, you are free to explore this amazing destination dating back to the 14th Century, at your leisure. Hampi is truly a photographer’s paradise where you can capture elements of a bygone age that still endures within these ruins.  We then meet for lunch & board a bus & head back to the beaches of Goa. On reaching Goa we get back to our centre for the night.

Day 21: Saturday

  • 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.

Day 22: Sunday

Day to relax, breathe in, and catch up with your new friends at the guest house in Goa

Week 4: Community Engagement Week in Goa

Day 23-27: Monday to Friday

During this week, participate in our community engagement program which consists of many projects such as the community school or a renovation project an animal shelter or even participate in interacting with senior citizens at an old age home. The choice will be yours to suit yourself into a project to become a part of an ever-expanding community. During the second half of the day spend educational and quality time with migratory children at our outreach program. Overnight stay in Goa.

Day 28: Saturday

Departure.

The 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 Saturday (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). 

  • Accommodation
  • 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
  • Airfares
  • 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 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.

Here are some general things you can do when visiting India:

  1. Taj Mahal, Agra: Marvel at the iconic white marble mausoleum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its breathtaking architecture and romantic history.

  2.  
  3. Golden Triangle Tour: Explore Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, collectively known as the Golden Triangle, to experience the rich history, cultural heritage, and architectural wonders of North India.

  4.  
  5. Varanasi: Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance of Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, known for its sacred ghats along the Ganges River and vibrant cultural traditions.

  6.  
  7. Backwaters of Kerala: Cruise through the picturesque backwaters of Kerala on a traditional houseboat, surrounded by lush greenery, serene lakes, and quaint villages.

  8.  
  9. Rajasthan’s Desert Cities: Discover the vibrant colors and royal heritage of Rajasthan by visiting cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer, famous for their majestic forts, palaces, and desert landscapes.

  10.  
  11. Wildlife Safari: Embark on a thrilling wildlife safari in India’s national parks and sanctuaries, such as Ranthambore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, and Jim Corbett, to spot tigers, elephants, leopards, and a diverse range of flora and fauna.

  12.  
  13. Himalayan Destinations: Explore the scenic beauty and tranquility of the Himalayan regions, including hill stations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, and McLeod Ganj, offering breathtaking views, adventure activities, and spiritual retreats.

  14.  

  15. Cultural Festivals: Experience the vibrant festivals of India, such as Diwali (Festival of Lights), Holi (Festival of Colors), Durga Puja, Navratri, and Eid, celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm across the country.

  16.  

  17. Ayurveda and Wellness: Rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with Ayurvedic treatments and wellness therapies offered at renowned Ayurveda resorts and retreats in Kerala, Rishikesh, and other parts of India.

  18.  

  19. Cuisine Exploration: Delight your taste buds with the diverse and flavorful cuisines of India, ranging from spicy curries and street food delights to mouthwatering sweets and regional specialties, each offering a unique culinary experience.

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)
  • Flashlight/torch
  • 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 22:30 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!
For information on holidays and any programs affected, please see the following link: IN – Holidays – All Programs
  

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. 

30 Years Non Profit Experience

IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.

Affordable Volunteer Travel

We’re not motivated by shareholder profits.   Our fees are fully transparent to ensure maximum benefit where it is most needed. 

Safe & Responsible Projects

All projects include a dedicated 24/7 in-country management team, operational & risk assessment & overseas support contact.   All projects are personally inspected to ensure very high quality.
 

Work Experience & University Credits

We place thousands of Uni students and can assist you with course credits and in-field experience points.   Many of our project coordinators are qualified practitioners in their respective fields allowing unique in-field supervision and Uni accreditation options

Weekends & Extra Tours

Ready to Volunteer in India?