• TRAVEL UPDATE: We're open! Program reopening updates and answers to your questions about COVID-19 and our flexible booking policy.

Overview

Be a part of the Yoga and Volunteer Adventure Program in Palampur and experience life in the lap of the Himalayas. With the perfect amalgamation of adventure, peace, and philanthropy, this program is absolutely perfect for you, if you are looking for a retreat.

No matter whether you are a student or a gap year traveler, a backpacker or seeking a family holiday, you'd definitely gain some valuable insights about life from this journey. The program includes volunteer work, trekking adventure activity, yoga and meditation classes, and some explorations amidst the tea gardens. The volunteers would also have an optional Paragliding activity in Bir Billing.

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Program Requirements

Volunteers must be 17 years or older at the time of joining the project. You need to have an open mind and a flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. Participants must be fit and healthy at the time of joining the program. Participants should have no criminal convictions and should provide a clean criminal background check report. A parental consent form shall be required for Under 18 participants joining the program.

Itinerary

Day1 (Saturday)
Arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Our coordinators will take you to the volunteer house or hotel, and you can take rest after your long flight.
(Meals – Not provided)
 
Day 2 (Sunday)
Transfer to Delhi airport, take a short flight to Dharamsala (nearly 1 hour). You will be received at the airport and taken to Palampur accommodation. There you can take rest, and later you’ll have an orientation session which will help you know about the upcoming days’ schedule. In the evening, you can go for a walk to the nearby market.
(Meals - Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 3 (Monday)
You’ll start your Project Work on Monday. Group members would work on light renovation and painting work at daycare centers which cater to the children of the age group of 2-4 yrs. The daycare centers are in poor condition and volunteers pitch in by doing light renovation and repair work. In the evening, there will be the Yoga and Meditation Class for the volunteers, which you’ll get to enjoy in the lap of Mother Nature. The class is for an hour.

We assure that this would completely refresh your mind and make you feel good from within.
(Meals -  Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 4 (Tuesday)
Project Work continues. 
In the afternoon/evening, you’ll go for a visit to Tea Plantations and the factory. Palampur is famous for its tea plantations and the students would get an opportunity to visit the tea factory and see how tea is produced. You’ll also get to take a tour of the famous sights in and around Palampur such as Lord Shiva Temple, Tashi Jong Monastery.
(Meals -  Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 5 - 7 (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)
You’ll continue with your project work at the daycare center. You’ll have the yoga and meditation classes in the evenings.
 
On Friday, you will have a briefing session about the weekend trek.
 
(Meals -  Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 8 (Saturday)
After breakfast, you’ll set out for Bir, a small hill town (nearly 1 hour from Palampur). Bir is famous for its huge number of Tibetan refugees, apart from its serene beauty.
 
You’ll start your trek from Bir, and it’s about 4-5 hours walk until you reach Billing which is also a famous Paragliding site. The chilling breeze will definitely soothe your senses, and the majestic Himalayas will keep accompanying you all the way!
 (Meals -  Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 9 (Sunday)
You shall head back towards Palampur, and on the way, you’ll get to see the Buddhist monasteries. 
(Meals -  Breakfast and Dinner)
 
Day 10 - 13 (Monday to Thursday)
Volunteers will continue with the repair and renovation work, and also engage themselves in teaching and playing with the little ones at the daycare center.The regular yoga and meditation classes will be held in the evenings.
 
On the 13th day, you can say ‘Goodbye’ to your new friends in the center. 
(Meals -  Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 14 (Friday)
You can take rest or do some shopping, before returning back to Delhi.
You can explore on your own if you wish to. 
(Meals -  Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner)
 
Day 15 (Saturday)
You will be picked up and dropped at the airport for your flight to Delhi, and later you can board your homeward bound flight, on the same day.

Note: In the above itinerary, transfers to and from Palampur have been proposed by flight, cost of which would be separate as per actuals and the domestic flights can be booked by participants themselves as well. Transportation can also be arranged by land through vehicle transfer.

Living

We do not compromise on your living standards and tour arrangements. From arranging airport pickups to taking care of your volunteer placement, to putting you at the right volunteer house and helping you take up weekend travel, we help you plan and execute everything in a structured way.

Airport Transfer
Volunteers are picked up from Gaggal Airport in Dharamsala by a member of the local coordinating team. The airport is served with daily direct flights from Delhi. For those participants choosing to travel from Delhi to Palampur by bus, they will be picked up from the bus station and transferred to the volunteer home base.

Accommodation 

You would be provided accommodation in our volunteer home base in Palampur. The accommodation offers spectacular views of the Himalayan mountains and provides a safe living environment for the participants. At the house, we provide same gender sharing dorm style rooms with attached western style toilets, lockers, TV, hot water, internet and a large common area for the volunteers to enjoy their free time. The volunteer house has a huge front and backyard with beautiful gardens where the volunteers can relax and even play outdoor games and activities such as badminton with other participants during the free time.

Orientation

An orientation and briefing session will be provided by our staff in Palampur. We cover areas like culture, safety, locations, transportation etc. Volunteers also have the option to start their program by joining the 1 week Language & Culture Orientation week in Delhi.

Meals

The volunteer homebase in Palampur has full time cooking staff for preparing fresh meals for the volunteers. Volunteers are provided with three meals a day for six days a week. A sample of the meals you can expect are below:
Breakfast - Parantha, Bread, Tea (chai), Jam, Butter, Porridge etc.
Lunch/ Dinner - Dal (lentils), vegetable, rice, roti (Indian bread), pickle, yogurt may be provided along with some sort of curry.

During Your Free Time 

Volunteers can go and explore the market in Palampur and take long pleasant walks. The area in and around Palampur is very safe and volunteers generally prefer to walk down the nearby locations. You can also visit the beautiful tea gardens, temples and Tashi Jong monastery which is located in Palampur. Volunteers are also given a tour of the Palampur market, Tea Garden and Tea Factory and a Yoga class once a week.

Program Cost

Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% banking fee is charged at the time of payment)

What are you Paying for?

  • Airport Pickup from Dharamsala Airport
  • Orientation and local area tour
  • Basic materials required for renovation work
  • All accommodation as per program. Accommodation shall be provided in our Volunteer house or guest house accommodation.
  • All meals as mentioned
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Yoga and Meditation Classes
  • Adventure Activity – Trekking Trip

What's NOT included?

  • Air tickets both domestic and international
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees and Vaccinations
  • Other expenses not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional Paragliding activity 

Program Dates

Months 2021 2022
January - 0923
February - 1327
March - 1327
April - 1024
May - 0822
June 1327 1226
July 1125 1024
August 0822 1428
September 1226 1125
October 1024 0923

Available Filling Fast Not Available Past Date

 

 

FAQ's

FAQ's Application and Program Details
It is advised to apply for the projects once the volunteering/ traveling dates are decided as there are limited spots available. The application fee is valid for one full year and can be sent earlier than the desired year of volunteering for timely confirmation of the seat. As soon as you decide the travel dates, we suggest you to apply for the program and hold your spot. 
Usually, it takes around 10 – 12 working days for the application to be processed and placement to be confirmed. After we review your CV and documents your booking is confirmed and the booking confirmation is updated in your My Account and you can view the information in your account. The application acceptance depends on the availability of seats in the project as well as the eligibility criteria of the program (age, skills and experience etc.).
Volunteers must be 17 years or older at the time of joining the project. Medical Program volunteers must be at least 18 at the time of joining.  
16-year-old volunteers can participate in Childcare projects with a Letter of Consent from the parents.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. India is a country of different culture and traditions, though it is modernized, the cultural sensitivities need to be kept in mind before volunteering in India. The volunteers should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
Participants joining the Medical Program, must be either Pre-Medical, Medical or Nursing student.
Participants must be in good health.
Yes, you are welcome to take part in India Volunteer Programs as part of a group. We welcome families, friends, high school students, college/university and corporate groups to volunteer together in the India program. Volunteering Solutions India program has hosted large student groups as well as families coming to volunteer in the program. We have hosted groups, from universities in UK, Europe, and the USA as well as other countries, in Palampur.
Yes, most definitely, you can as we believe every participant brings something new to the project. If you do not have previous experience, we offer you the opportunity to have a great start with us. We make international volunteering easy – not only are our Volunteer Abroad opportunities rooted in offering you extensive support, but they are also very affordable.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The certificate is provided on request.
All volunteers need to arrive in Palampur on the starting date of the program. Volunteers will be picked up from the Gaggal Airport in Dharamsala by a driver assigned by the local coordinators. Dharamsala is connected to Delhi by daily direct flights. Volunteers who have opted for the Orientation Week in Delhi will travel to Palampur post the completion via bus or flight, depending on their choice. After you arrive at Dharamsala airport, you will be picked up by our local coordinator and transported to Palampur. On the way, you can enjoy the scenic view of the Himalayan mountains and lush green landscapes. 

On the next day, you will be given a short orientation and told about the program, daily schedule, safety guidelines, market tour and weekend trip options.
Flights and Visa
All enrolled participants are provided information on the appropriate Visa requirements for India in the pre-departure manual. You can also contact your pre-departure point of contact to know more about the Visa requirements.
Volunteers first need to arrive in Delhi. The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is connected with all major airports across the globe and flights are easily available. Some of the major flight carriers operating direct flights to Delhi are:
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air India, Jet Airways, Etihad Airways, United Airlines, Swiss Air, KLM Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa, Austrian, Air France, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Finn Air. 

From Delhi, you can take a connecting flight to Dharamsala Airport (Airport Code: DHM). Air India and Spice Jet have daily flights between the two cities. Pickup by our local project coordinator is provided from Dharamsala Airport. Volunteers can also choose the option to take the direct overnight bus from Delhi to Palampur. Overnight air-conditioned bus service operates between the two cities. You will be picked up from Palampur bus station and transferred to the accommodation. 
Health and Safety
India is a country of diverse cultures and practices. Like in any new foreign country, participants are advised to follow the guidelines specified by the project coordinator to enjoy their Indian experience fully. The program coordinators are always ready to help and give helpful safety tips. During the first day of the orientation, you will be given safety guidelines and will be informed about do's and dont's.
All participants are recommended to consult their physician or travel doctor before traveling to India. To view the general list of vaccinations recommended for your travel to India, click here.
Yes, for all participants, it is mandatory to have a valid travel medical insurance for their trip. Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider. 

If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
Accommodation and Living
Your program coordinator in Palampur will take you to your placement and introduce you to everyone after giving you a basic orientation about the program/city/culture etc. You will be told about the directions to the project from your accommodation and the mode of transport which you can use. Most preferred mode of transport within the town is the public bus, and the coordinator will be more than happy to guide you regarding that.
Volunteers are provided accommodation in volunteer house accommodations. Participants of same gender share rooms together and there are attached toilets with the rooms. Volunteers are provided with all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at the accommodation. Meals are freshly prepared by the cook in the house.
The local market is not far away and in the evening you can also head out for a pleasant walk in the vicinity.
Yes, that is not a problem at all. In fact, volunteers are served vegetarian meals at the accommodations in India. 
Depending on your project placement, you may get evenings and weekends free to travel and explore the place.

Palampur is a great location for volunteering since you also have ample options for quick weekend getaways. Hill stations like Mcleodganj, Dharamsala, and Manali are nearby which can be visited over the weekend.  Adventure activities like trekking and paragliding can be taken up during weekends. Billing, which is a few kilometers away from Palampur, is a world famous site for paragliding.
Your program fee does not cover your personal expenses. You will need to provide for yourself your personal expenses, such as bottled water, local transport, telephone, shopping, sightseeing etc. However, you should carry around $40-$50 per week for your basic personal expenses. This amount can vary and you would need a higher amount if you choose to go on weekend trips out of town.
Depending on the project, selected volunteers will work during the week from Monday - Friday. You will have the weekends to travel and explore. However, volunteers need to be flexible, open minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
Do not worry, all the coordinators can speak and converse in English. Most of our participants are non-Hindi speakers and they’ve never had any problems while communicating. Like we say, love is expressed better through actions than the language.

To add to the project experience while you can also join the Language and Orientation Week in Delhi before beginning the program in Palampur. It's an optional week, besides that we recommend participants to brush up their Hindi skills (learn basic terms and phrases, greetings) before traveling. 
ATMs of major banks like HDFC, ICICI, and SBI are available in Palampur and money can be easily withdrawn. Currency Exchange Counters are also available in some of the banks in the city. 
Connect with Past Volunteers
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.

To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the ‘Meet a Volunteer’ section on our website. 

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