Over the years, a lot has been said and heard about the charisma that India carries, by a number of influencers, philosophers, travel writers, and explorers. However, the fact remains that you get to live the experience of ‘understanding India’ only when you visit the country yourself. I got this opportunity during my volunteering stint to this majestically beautiful country; the land of wonders. I have been traveling places from a while now, but it was only after I finished my expedition to India, that I realized how much I was missing on so far.
To put things into simple perspectives, I decided to list down reasons to not only visit but to extend your stay, especially, while taking a volunteer trip to India.
It has a long history
Mark Twain once said, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition”. The history and legends of the Indian sub-continent goes a long way back; dating back to somewhere around 3300 BCE. India is the home to one of the earliest civilizations in the world (The Indus Valley Civilization), and houses one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi.
You need to understand its people
One thing which sets apart a volunteer trip abroad from a normal holiday visit, and makes it a special travel opportunity, is the fact that a volunteer stint gives the opportunity to interact closely with the natives; and that’s what I got during my sojourn in India. The people in India are quite intuitive in their approach and respond a lot to situations based on their feelings. But, one of the most interesting things in India is the variety of people you may come across during your entire stay. It’s a nation of 1.25 billion people after all, you certainly would need some extra time to understand the common mindset.
The set of traditions and culture is diverse
This is something, I am assuming, which most of the regular travelers are aware about India. Traverse from the tip of the North of India to its extreme Southern region, and what you will find is a huge paradigm shift of culture and traditions followed by the people in India. And it don’t just stops at the traditions, but the covers the entire gamut of cuisine, language, attire, festivals, and more. You simply can’t experience it all, properly, in just a handful of days.
Leaving from the project can get hard
That’s exactly what volunteering does to you; it gives you imperishable bonding with some really heartwarming people. I had a wonderful experience of volunteering in India, where I spent time with some wonderful and jovial kids (and boy! Did they made me feel special). But it was only when my tenure ended and I was to leave, that I realized what am I going away from. The fellow mates, the kids, the staff at the center, and everyone I met during this period, I was going away from all of them; leaving an extended family.
(P.S.: I initially had planned a one month trip, but extended it to one entire month more, just to spend some more time with these people).
You may have to make several more visits
Ok! Let me just rephrase it for you. You ‘will’ have to, or rather should, make several more visits to India to understand it better. I mean, it is just not possible to cover all adventure spots in India, view some of the top heavenly places on earth located in India, try on the best of the local cuisines from different regions, get a good hold on a few Hindi phrases, and buy yourself, and for your relatives, the best of the souvenirs. Thus, one visit to India is just not sufficient enough, however, extending your stay will provide you with little more time to plan your next trip and cover everything you missed this time. That’s how I am doing it.
Traveling in India provided me with a better opportunity to explore the country in a more refined way. Hope my experience was motivating enough and you have already started planning a gap year to India soon. If you have any questions regarding volunteer traveling to India, please leave it in the comment box below and I will be more than happy to respond back with an answer best to my knowledge.