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A woman sitting in a chair at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind) in Jaipur, India. Photo by Eliana Rothwell (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist).

Fall Itinerary

Dear BY India 9.0,

We’re getting so excited to meet you in Princeton! For now, here is a tentative itinerary for our first month in country so that you can start envisioning what our time together will look like.

We’ve been tinkering with the itinerary and preparing for your arrival, adding a hike here and a temple visit there, assuring that our time in the first weeks is rich and full – but not too overwhelming! Below, please find an outline of our month in India (through the first week of October). We’ll spend our first two weeks in the Kumaon region of the Himalaya, where we will establish some group rhythms and learn about India. Our month of orientation will include some movement, orientation activities, and adjustment. We will make sure to incorporate time to rest and recharge, to explore the place where we find ourselves (the incomparable Himalaya), and to connect with one another. Expect to visit some amazing NGO’s, hike through beautiful forests and along mountain paths, witness vibrant temple complexes, and meet dynamic local leaders. And, as with all travel in India, know that some of these dates will be subject to change!

August 31:  Arrive in New Delhi and transfer to hotel

September 1: Day of rest and activities in Delhi. We’ll be staying near Connaught Place in central New Delhi. While we’re in Delhi, we will have time to get oriented to the city, buy new Indian clothing, see a few sites of historical and cultural interest, rest and overcome jet lag, take first Hindi classes, and hang out as a group.

September 2: Day of rest and activities in Delhi (see above)!

September 3: Travel from Delhi to Himalayan Village (Sonapani) via Kathgodam (train and SUV taxi travel).

September 4: Orientation, hiking, service sites through our partner organization, Aarohi. We will have daily Hindi lessons, yoga sessions, time to get to know one another as a group, to set goals, ask and answer questions, even as we visit local service sites and get to know the region of Kumaon.

September 5: Orientation, hiking, service sites through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 6: Orientation, hiking, service sites through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 7: Orientation, hiking, service sites through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 8: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi. Around this time, we will transition into a homestay setting, where pairs of students will move in with a local family close to our central meeting area. These families have hosted college students (including past Bridge Year students) for many years, and are excited to meet this year’s group! We will continue to volunteer at service sites, meet together as a group every day, and go on hikes.

September 9: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 10: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 11: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 12: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 13: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 14: Orientation, hiking, service sites and homestays through our partner organization, Aarohi.

September 15: Travel to Munsiyari (the “High Himalaya”)

September 16: Rest and exploration of Munsiyari

September 14: Homestays and volunteering with our partner NGO in Munsiyari

September 15: Homestays and volunteering, Munsiyari

September 16: Homestays and volunteering, Munsiyari

September 17: Homestays and volunteering, Munsiyari

September 18: Homestays and volunteering, Munsiyari

September 19: Homestays and volunteering, Munsiyari

September 20: Transfer to Ranikhet farmstay to learn more about sustainable farming and agriculture in the region (and try our hand at it)!

September 21: Ranikhet farmstay

September 22: Ranikhet farmstay

September 23: Ranikhet farmstay

September 24: Transfer to Mussoorie for more intensive Hindi language learning at the Landour School. We will have lessons in the morning, then have the afternoons free to explore the area, go on gentle hikes, and interact with guest speakers.

September 25: Language learning

September 26: Language learning

September 27: Language learning

September 28: Language learning

September 29: Language learning

September 30: Language learning

October 1: Language Learning

October 2: Language learning

October 3: Language learning

October 4: Transfer to Delhi

October 5: Transfer by overnight train to Varanasi, the City of Light, where we will move into our long-term homestays and begin work at our service sites.

We will be based in Varanasi until mid-April, with a few side trips and one longer excursion to Rajasthan during that time. Until we arrive in Varanasi, the group will have limited access to electronics. While there will be opportunities to access the internet from time to time, you should not expect to hear from the students on a regular basis. Students will, however, be posting regular updates here on the Yak board to let you know where we are, what we’re up to, and include reflections from staff and students. On-site staff will carry cell phones and a laptop and will be in regular contact with Bridge Year administrators. Thanks for understanding this space that we’re carving out to be fully present in our first month, and rest assured that we’ll all be in much more frequent contact during our time in Varanasi!

Let us know if you have any questions & we look forward to the journey –

Sarah, Dolly, Hemant and Greg