Volunteer In India Himalaya
- How I get there?
- Where will I stay in Himalayan Program?
- What happens to me when I am in Dharamsala? Who helps me?
- How do you utilize my free time?
- How safe are both the place?
- What will be my food and accommodation during my stay?
- Do I need to bring any items along my trip?
Delhi is the first city you will fly into. Our representative will pick you up from the airport and take you to our hostel in Delhi. You will stay overnight, or for a week if you are participating in language and cultural program. From Delhi, you can either fly to Gaggal Airport in Dharamsala. This is a 90 minutes flight. From Dharamsala, it takes about 45 minutes to reach Palampur. You can also take a bus from Palampur to travel to Dharamsala. The journey takes about 12 hours and you can find air-conditioned buses also. There is a direct bus service to Dharamsala also.
You will stay with a host family during the volunteer program. Our host families all have experience of hosting international volunteers before and they will provide you with a safe and friendly place to stay. You will also enjoy 3 local meals with them. The meals will be prepared hygienically and you are also free to participate in their cultural activities.
New Hope has a local coordinator who will organize your pickup when you arrive in Dharamsala or Palampur. You will be welcomed and also given orientation. You will be introduced to project site and the host family. You will have the coordinator’s mobile phone number and you can call the coordinator anytime if you have any problems or issues you need to discuss.
There are many museums, libraries and fascinating monasteries you can visit in Dharamsala. McLeod Ganj, which is the seat of Tibetan exile government, is uphill from Dharamsala, and is a good place to visit. You can trek to Bhagsu waterfall (3 km), Dal Lake (4 km), Indrahar pass (a longer trek) and to Triund. Other activities include taking part in Yoga, meditation and Reiki healing sessions.
In Palampur, you can visit the scenic tea gardens, take part in trekking expeditions to Dhualadhar Himalayans, and travel to Bir, a town 25 kms east of Palampur and famed for Tibetan monasteries. Other short trips you can take include trip to Baijnath Temple (16km), Chamunda Devi Temple (17 km) Bharkudi (25 km).
Dharmasala and Palampur both lie in Kangra district of Himalchal Pradesh. These areas are all known for their natural beauty, low population density and less crime rate. Both the places are undoubtedly many times safe that Indian cities. We cannot however rule out the possibility of petty crimes like purse snatching. If you take certain precautions, like not show your valuables in public, not walk alone after dark, do not trust strangers easily, make sure your wallets and purses are well hidden in crowded areas, you will ensure nothing untoward will happen.
New Hope Volunteers will arrange your accommodation and meal throughout the program. During the first week of cultural program, volunteers will stay in a hostel. In the hostel, you will share your room with other volunteers and our resident cook will prepare you 3 local meals a day. After the language program, volunteers will stay with a host family. Our host families have been carefully screened and chosen and they will have experience of hosting international volunteers before. The host families will provide you with a warm, comfortable and secure place to stay. You’ll have a room for yourself and eat 3 local meals together with your host family. At least one member of the host family will be able to communicate with you in English. Living with a host family will also provide you with a wonderful opportunity to learn about local culture and customs. During the volunteer program, our country coordinator will be in touch with you every 10-15 days to make sure you’re comfortable and happy. Volunteers will also have access to coordinator’s mobile phone and can call up anytime if any problem arises. We also have a local coordinator in Palampur who will look at the immediate needs of volunteers.
You may bring personal medicines, a sleeping bag, and toiletries. Light warm clothes in winter and long sleeved cotton shirts & trousers in summer. Please do not forget to bring mosquito repellent.
Please bring your cell phone and please ensure with your cell phone provider that you can use local SIM in India. If not, you can buy a really cheap mobile phone in India and use local SIM. With this, you can call and receive phone calls from anywhere in the world.