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Here at Workaway you will find 500+ hosts and organisations for volunteer work in India.
Low cost travel without having to pay expensive agency fees.


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Feedback from Workaway members

There are 3192 reviews for 370 Hosts and organizations in India.
370 Hosts in India were rated at least 4.9/5!

Our experience at Deca Farm / Basecamp was simply fantastic!
From the moment we arrived, we felt welcomed and at home in this unique setting nestled ...

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We stayed with Naran for only 5 days but would have loved to stay longer. His farm is very beautiful. We helped with watering the wheat field and cook...

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Thank you for this amazing experience in Anjuna ! That's the perfect place to share a lot with foreign and local people at the same time. The hosts ar...

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I stayed with Meera for one week and had an amazing time assisting her with her projects. Meera is passionate, thoughtful, and dedicated to improving ...

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I had a good time learning about rural Indian living, some food harvesting, mud house building, fruit forest tidying. I also ate only delicious authen...

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India

For those in search of the ultimate travel destination, India is sure to be on your bucket list, as it guarantees a real travel adventure. The country has a wealth of native plants and animals in addition to diverse landscapes, and is home to 104 national parks which promote the conservation of the country’s unique flora and fauna. Being the seventh largest country in the world with the second highest population, and being the most populous democracy, India is literally teeming with life and originality. Renowned for its ancient civilizations, rich cultural diversity, quirkiness and unpredictability, you can be sure that you'll encounter places and situations which will surprise, fascinate and at times shock you. In fact this will be a country that challenges you on many levels, often leading you to question your values, opinions and attitudes. Perhaps that's why India has been a popular choice for backpackers and holiday makers since the 1960s, and many visitors say their stay had a transformative effect upon them. The sights, sounds, smells and even textures, so 3D and peculiar to India will leave a lasting impression on you. Workaway volunteers can look forward to idyllic golden beaches and islands, monumental cities, national parks, mountain retreats, delicious food, and accompanying it all is the spectacular cultural and spiritual heritage which is unique to India. Make the most of the extensive rail network to get around, as train travel in India is a very memorable experience! Alternatively, you can search for deals on domestic flights to make the most out of the country. As an international destination, India is located in the heart of Asia, sharing its borders with Bhutan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and within easy reach of the popular travel destination Nepal. Sri Lanka is only a 2 hour flight away too!

Throughout India there is a demand for teaching English and helping out at hostels, but also many opportunities with sustainable farms, social welfare initiatives, lending a hand at coffee plantations in the west or tea plantations in the east, as well as animal rescue associations amongst many others. Being the birthplace of many spiritual and wellness disciplines, it is possible to combine volunteering whilst immersing yourself in yoga, meditation, ayurvedic practice and even stay at an ashram or monastery. Conversely, there is plenty of scope to stimulate your senses in the hustle and bustle of the cities, as well as exploring national parks and jungle.


Indian Culture: Religion and Etiquette

As a secular state, India has no state religion, and declares a fundamental right for people’s freedom to choose their own religion. However the great majority of the population considers themselves to be Hindus, which is reflected in the vast number of temples and shrines honouring the birthplaces of saints and the acclaimed 33 million deities believed to preside over us all. It is important to note though that India was also the birthplace of another three significant world religions, namely Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the Baha'i faith are also represented amongst the population. Islamic architecture, monuments and shrines are also an integral part of India’s appeal.

It is important to dress modestly, especially in rural areas. It is more acceptable to cover your legs and for women to carry a scarf to cover their shoulders, and even their head, especially if visiting temples. Showing affection in public is frowned upon. However, sometimes you may feel that others are encroaching upon your personal space by staring or asking far too many questions. This behaviour is considered natural in a country which is so densely populated and still strongly influenced by an ancient hierarchical caste system (“jati”). The questions are often a means of assessing your social status and knowing how to address you, but if you start to feel intimidated or hounded, it is important to stand your ground firmly and clearly and tell them to stop.

It is necessary to be aware of the following to avoid offending the locals:

  1. Feet are considered to be unclean and so it is rude to use them to point with, to rest them on a chair or show the soles of the feet whilst sitting on the floor. Shoes should be taken off when entering a home.
  2. It is considered rude to point, so if you do need to indicate something it would be better to do so with your whole hand or thumb.
  3. If you do commit a social faux-pas, you should apologise immediately and touch your forehead as recognition of your mistake.
  4. As with many Asian countries, you should use your right hand to give people objects or money, as the left hand is associated with toilet functions.
  5. On meeting and greeting it is best to place palms together as in a “namaste” greeting and avoid physical contact, which especially between men and women, can be misinterpreted.

India and Food

India's cuisine is as wide-ranging and vast as the country itself. The dishes reflect the produce which is available locally and in season. So, for example it is more typical to find fresh fish cooked in coconut oil with rice served on banana leaves in the southern coastal regions, whereas in the northern highlands the diet would be more typically bread (roti) with local vegetables and mutton. For religious reasons vegetarianism has long been embraced in India, there are always non-meat options available in all areas of the country. Pork is not popular amongst Hindus and is a forbidden food for Muslims, whereas the cow is considered to be a sacred animal amongst Hindus which means that beef and pork are not widely available. Goat meat – often classed as “mutton”, lamb and chicken are served with aromatic and spicy sauces. Lentils (daal), chickpeas (channa), mung beans (moong), spinach (saag), eggplant (brinjal), okra (bhindi) and cauliflower (gobi) are commonly used vegetables for both side and main dishes. Interestingly it was the Portuguese who introduced potatoes (aloo) and chilli peppers (mirch) to India in the 16th century. Indian food can be hot, but the careful blending of ginger (adrak), garlic (lasoon), black mustard seed (sarso), coriander (dhania), cardamon (elaichi), cumin (jeera) and asafoetida (hing) means that the dishes are exquisitely rich and flavoursome. Similarly, desserts are often prepared with warming spices too, such as cinnamon (dalchin), clove (laung) nutmeg (jayphal) and saffron (kesar).

Popular with travellers are the yogurt-based lassi drinks, and the wide selection of on-the-go street foods including stuffed momos or parathas, channa masala as well as spiced fried snacks such as samosas, panipuri and kachoris. Read on for some great tips on how to travel the world with dietary restrictions.


Budget Travel and Safety

India offers plenty of scope for travellers. The controversial implications of the British occupation in India, such as the centralisation of the Indian government and state education, the rule of the British East India Company (from the end of the 18th century until 1858) followed by the British Raj takeover of the Indian subcontinent, is still evident today as reflected in the strong cultural link between Britain and India, the “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire. English is widely spoken across the country and is the co-official language of the government, and British teaching methods, colonial architecture, Protestantism, tea drinking and cricket are still popular. The Portuguese had colonised coastal areas since 1505, and the Dutch, Danish and French had also set up trading posts and had colonial interests. It is not surprising then that over the centuries the Indians have become accustomed to international visitors, from the wealthy western investors to the hippie travellers who started arriving in the 1950s.

Violent crimes against travellers are very rare and it is generally safe for women to travel alone here. However, as always, it is a good idea to be careful with your personal belongings and wary of possible scams, especially in big cities and tourist hotspots.

The good news is that India offers the visitor a truly unique and memorable experience, but at a price to cater for all budgets. It is possible to live and travel very cheaply, but the cost varies greatly depending on how you want to travel and what you want to do. It is important to negotiate a price beforehand, whether it is for transport, an excursion, a meal or a stayover somewhere.

The people of India are friendly, interested and welcoming to foreigners, and volunteering with some of Workaway’s many hosts across India will bring down costs associated with accommodation and food. As Workaway volunteers, you will meet locals and be invited into the heart of Indian homes, giving you the chance to learn the language, explore the culture and enjoy the country’s wonderful cuisine.

You may also be interested in reading blog posts by a Workawayer’s experiences in Udaipur and Jaisalmar to find out how staying with local hosts can enhance your travel experience as well as deepen your understanding of a country. Read on for more India-specific help and hints!


Climate in India

India is a vast country with terrain and climates ranging from alpine areas and glaciers in the Himalayas up north, to arid deserts in Rajasthan in the west, to humid tropical regions along the west and east coasts. It is difficult to generalise, but four seasons can be identified: winter (December-February) summer (March-May), the monsoon rainy season (June-September) and a post-monsoon period (October and November). Many regions also have their own microclimates, so it would be wise to research the weather in the region you plan to visit.

Visit our blog to get packing hacks for Workawaying out of a backpack and other advice and tips from seasoned Workawayers, and read on for more specific tips on where to go in India.


India – Regional Highlights

India consists of 29 states divided into six broadly defined regions: North, Northeast, East, South, Western and Central. Each region has its own unique cultural and geographic features and is also influenced by the countries on its borders.

North India

North India has been the historical centre of the Mughal rulers, Delhi Sultans and British Indian Empires. The official languages spoken in this region are Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English.

The “must see” Golden Triangle

Delhi:

  • From Past to Present:
    New Delhi is the capital of India and home to the major governmental buildings, including India Gate, the presidential palace Rashtrapi Bhavan and Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at Raj Ghat. Delhi has seen its share of rulers from Hindu kings to Muslims Sultans, and in 1911 the capital was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi under British rule. After Independence in 1947, New Delhi was officially declared the Capital city of India, and has continued to grow and flourish with modern grandeur and cutting-edge design. A multicultural city, it claims to participate in and celebrate all major festivals, whether Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh or Christian.

  • Architectural Delights:
    Old Dehli, (Shahjahanabad) in the north has buzzing streets, exotic markets (including Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli and Chawri Bazaar) and magnificent architectural sites to explore, including the Mughal Red Fort and Jama Masjid mosque, which are both built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who also built the Taj Mahal in Agra. Also visit Qutab Minar (17 kms southwest), a 73m (240 ft.) high tower made of red sandstone and marble. It is not only the highest brick minaret in the world, but also one of the most famous historical landmarks of India.

Agra, Uttar Pradesh:

  • Cultural Highlights:
    See India’s most emblematic monument the Taj Mahal, but don’t forget Agra Fort which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is the impressive Jama Mosque and Kinari Bazaar and Akbar’s tomb, the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) and the Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani (wife of Emperor Akbar). Take a scenic stroll around nearby Mehtab Bagh gardens. An hour west of Agra also lies the historic city of Fatehpur Sikri. Founded by Akbar, it was once the capital of the Mughal Empire. Sikandra, located only 13 km away from the Agra Fort is the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar.

The pink city of Jaipur, Rajasthan:

  • Architectural Paradise:
    Rajasthan, otherwise known as the “Land of the Kings”, is full to the brim of magnificent palaces, forts and temples. Although Jaipur is the capital and famous for its Amer Fort and the world's largest sundial Jantar Mantar, it is worth spending more time in the area to explore all it has to offer. Moreover, it is the state with the highest number of Workaway hosts offering varied and exciting opportunities! Visit other imperial cities such as Bikaner, Bundi, Udaipur, Deeg, Bharatpur, the blue city of Jodhpur, the golden city of Jaisalmer and the holy city of Ajmer.

  • Spirituality:
    Pushkar is a holy city for Hindus and Sikhs, with hundreds of temples and 52 stone ghats leading down to Pushkar lake where pilgrims bathe. It is also famous for its annual camel fair and safaris, being on the edge of the Thar Desert.

  • Wildlife:
    Ranthambore National Park is a vast wildlife reserve near Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. It is home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles, with landmarks such as Ranthambore Fort, the Ganesh Mandir Temple and Padam Talao Lake with an abundance of water lilies.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh:

  • Spiritual Highlights:
    As the oldest city in the world and the spiritual capital of India, visiting Varanasi (Benares) is a unique and unforgettable experience. The “City of Light” or the “City of Temples” (there are over 2,000) has been the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Hindus for centuries. Many hope to be cremated on the banks of the River Ganges, which is believed to have the sacred properties of purifying your body, mind and soul. Witness the curious blend of squalor and sublimity, dirt and divinity which makes Varanasi a paradoxical place. Perhaps a place to stop off before continuing to Nepal or East India.

Amritsar, Punjab:

  • Spiritual Immersion:
    Be blown away by the sacred Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab and enjoy the “langar” free vegetarian meal laid on by the community kitchen for all visitors.

Himachal Pradesh

  • Amazing Nature:
    Nature lovers should head far north to the snowy state of Himachal Pradesh. Simla is its capital, a hill station famous for its colonial architecture set in the heart of hills and valleys. Check out the shops on Mall Road and The Ridge, or take the toy train for a scenic panoramic ride.

    Call in on the Dalai Lama at the scenic hill station Dharamshala (otherwise known as “Little Lhasa”), close to the Tibetan border. His home in exile is in the upper part of the town called McLeod Ganj. Here you’ll find quaint old monasteries and an alternative tribe of folk in search of budget travel and spiritual enlightenment.

  • Alternative Explorers:
    Parvati Valley offers unspoilt natural beauty, outdoor pursuits, camping and “alternative living”. Explore the picturesque villages of Kasol, Malana and Tosh, and don’t miss the plethora of Workaway hosts in this region. For those who like year-round adventure sports, Manali has a lot to offer.

Uttarakhand

  • Journey into Culture:
    Uttarakhand has its fair share of Workaway volunteering opportunities. In the foothills of the Himalayas there are the national heritage cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh. Haridwar is seen as a spiritual destination attracting Hindu pilgrims from around the world to its temples and celebrations.

  • Outdoor Adventures:
    Higher up is Rishikesh which is a popular destination for those wanting to practice yoga, meditation and adventure sports, such as bungee-jumping, river rafting and riding a zip-wire or “flying fox”.

Kashmir

  • Idyllic Nature:
    Kashmir’s location is idyllic and its beauty is unforgettable. Its capital is Srinigar, ride on Dal lake in a traditional wooden boat “shikara” or go for a wander in the Mughal gardens of Shalimar Bagh. Venture out to the hill stations of Gulmarg (“Meadow of flowers”, also a popular ski resort) and Sonmarg (“Meadow of gold”) or Pahalgam to fish or kayak in the Lidder River.

  • Stunning Sights:
    Forming part of Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh is sandwiched between the Himalayas and the Karakoram mountains, with panoramic views of snowy peaks and glaciers, attracts trekkers and cyclists as well as those looking to take part in a spiritual retreat at one of the Buddhist monasteries.

Central India

Central India offers a truly vibrant experience for those who seek calmness over crowds, and prefer an experience filled with historic and cultural heritage, spirituality, and stunning nature.

  • Monument Hunt:
    Visit the magnificent Fort City of India in Gwalior. A royal city surrounded by hills, its palaces, temples and monuments are all remnants of its glorious past. Explore the Western Temple complex at Khujaraho in Madhya Pradesh, a UNESCO World Heritage site showing intricate sandstone carvings, some of which of an open expression of sensuality, eroticism and even bestiality! India never ceases to amaze. In Madku Dweep, Chhattisgarh, you can discover the spectacular ruins of 19 ancient temples. In the same state is the Bhoramdeo Temple complex, which also has impressive carvings described as “poetry in stone”, and is often compared to Khajuraho for its erotic imagery.

  • Discover Nature:
    Turn your focus from ruins to nature, as Madku Dweep, Chhattisgarth itself is a beautiful small island with lush vegetation and waterfalls. Bandhavgarh National Park combines tropical forest with grassland and is populated with both Bengal and white tigers, leopards, deer and abundant birdlife.

North East India

Sharing its borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, and as such North East India has been subject to frequent territorial disputes and invasions over the years. In spite of its northern location, the climate is predominantly sub-tropical. The summers are hot and humid, and while monsoons can be severe, the winters are mild. Here you can find some of the Indian subcontinent’s last remaining rainforests. It is a biodiversity hotspot and acts as home to numerous wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and tribal villages.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
    The Kaziranga National Park, Assam with its forests, wetlands and grasslands is the home to rhinos, elephants, wild cats, red pandas and even fresh river dolphins. The Nokrek National Park, Meghalaya is renowned for its rich biosphere and the diversity of flora and fauna in a spectacular landscape backdrop of hills, forests and waterfalls making it a favourite location for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. Cool off at the hill station of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, and enjoy its pine forests, lakes and waterfalls.
  • Trek Through Nature:
    Head for Gangtok, the charming capital city of Sikkim, and marvel at the spectacular views of the pristine hill station - a perfect base to trek to the Himalayas from. At the heart of Manipur is its capital, Imphal with its impressive Kangla Fort and nearby Loktak Lake with its lush scenery and floating vegetation.
  • Spiritual Immersion:
    Visit Arunachal Pradesh’s remote village of Tawang, close to the Chinese border. It is the birthplace of the Dalai Lama and has the largest active monastery in the world. A newly opened cable car takes in scenic views as you travel from Tawang Monastery to Gyangogng Ani Gonpa.
  • Cultural Exploration:
    Catch a ferry to the cultural capital of Assam, Majuli. It is the largest freshwater river island in the world, an oasis of simple living, a pilgrimage site for Hindus and a strong hub for local cultural identity. The tea capital of India is Jorhat, famous for its mosques, tombs, gardens and tea plantations. Manipur, otherwise known as the “Jewelled Land”, is set in a landscape of rolling hills leading to the border of Myanmar. The state is known for its delicious cuisine and classical dance traditions.

East India

From its hill stations to coastal paradises, wildlife reserves to world heritage sites, East India has for surea lot to offer.

  • Culture Vultures:
    Head for Bodhgaya, Bihar, the village where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The Mahabodhi Temple marks the location. Also worth seeing is the 64 foot Giant Buddha statue.

    Check out the ruins of the oldest university in the world! Nalanda, Bihar was a “Mahavihara”, or large Buddhist Monastery and seat of learning of the ancient kingdom of Magadha.

    The Konark Sun Temple in Odisha is the most famous and impressive sun temple in India. In tribute to the Sun God, it has a chariot design and its stone walls are engraved with images of creatures, both real and mythological. Visitors can also worship the sun in their own way on Odisha’s beautiful sandy shores.

    Sip a cup of Darjeeling tea at the city known also as “The Queen of Hill Stations”! Located in West Bengal, Darjeeling overlooks lush green hills, monasteries, and tea plantations, all of which can be admired from the amazing toy train. The train was built in the late 19th century and runs from Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The train climbs steep slopes as well as traces a figure of 8, and the journey takes six or seven hours, so there’s plenty of time to breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the spectacular views.

    Not far from Darjeeling is Kurseong, also known as the “Land of White Orchids”. It is another hill station in a stunning setting, famous for its waterfalls and Buddhist temples.

  • Beaches:
    Visit Odisha’s holy city of Puri and marvel at the Jagannath Temple. Alternatively Talasani, Gopalpur and Chandipur are also popular choices.

    West Bengal’s Dingha is a coastal town famous for its unspoilt beaches and scenic views. Other options to check out are the beaches of Shankarpur, Bakkuli, and the small island of Sagardwip.

    For those in search of the ultimate island adventure, consider visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago of over 570 tropical islands of which only 36 are inhabited. Here you can discover beautiful virgin beaches with diving hotspots, a stunning rainforest canopy backdrop and an array of biodiversity and ethnicity.

  • Wildlife:
    Visit the Simlipal National Park in Odisha, which is a protected wildlife area and tiger reserve, home to 55 mammals including native Indian species of elephant, giant squirrel, bison, leopard, Bengal tiger and mugger crocodile. Head to the Mahanada Wildlife Sanctuary in Darjeeling, nestled within a dense forest at the foot of the Himalayas, which is a refuge for rare species such as the one horn rhino, elephants, tigers and other large wild cats. And if you want to get closer to the gentle elephants, the Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary in Bhubaneswar is well worth a visit.

  • City:
    The state capital of West Bengal is Kolkata (previously Calcutta), India’s second largest city. Otherwise known as the “City of Joy”, it is testimony to an ongoing celebration of human life. Originality, creativity and chaos.. the modern and the ancient live side-by-side and there is a sense that anything is possible here. Arguably the artistic and intellectual capital of the country. Take a detour south to Sundarbans, a vast area of mangrove forest and UNESCO site that incorporates a tiger reserve.

South India

This region offers the mountain peaks and jungles of Karnataka state, the backwater wonderland of Kerala, the natural beauty and colonial elegance found in Tamil Nadu, the beautiful islands of Lakshadweep and the lively cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mysore.

Mysore, Karnataka

A beautiful historic city with the opulent Mysore Palace. Sample the delicious Mysore Pak, idlis (steamed cakes) and dosas (Indian pancakes) at the roadside stalls and explore the centuries-old Devaraja Market, filled with fragrant spices, silk and sandalwood.

Bangalore, Karnataka

See the Bangalore Palace, Tippu Sultan’s fort, Cubbon Park and the Lal Bagh botanical garden.

Hyderabad, Telangana:

Visit the Golconda Fort, the Charminar Mosque dating from the 16th century and the ancient Laad Bazaar.

Karnataka

With a high ratio of Workaway hosts offering exciting opportunities collaborating with eco-projects, wildlife reserves, off-grid living and swim, surf and yoga retreats, you can use your new home as a base for exploring the area.

  • Outdoor explorers:
    In the mountainous region, there is the enchanting hill resort of Coorg, the giant ancient Gomateshwara statue in Shravanabelagola, and the glorious peaks of Mullayanagiri and Kudremukh for wonderful treks.

  • Beaches:
    If you are a beach lover you will find many stunning stretches of coastline on the western shore at Gokarna or in the locality of Mangalore.

  • Wildlife enthusiasts:
    For wildlife enthusiasts you will love the Bandipur National Park, a spacious jungle habitat for tigers and the Asian elephant. Neighbouring Nagarhole National Park shares the same wildlife, but is less well-known and busy. Both occupy part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Anshi National Park (Dandeli) and Kali Tiger Reserve is in a dense forest setting with the Dandeli River flowing through it.

  • Culture vultures
    Head to the remains of the ancient kingdom of Vijayanagar, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi. Despite its grandiose historic buildings and its importance as a national pilgrimage site for Hindus visiting its Virupaksha temple, it has a very laid-back atmosphere.

Kerala

It is a state blessed with a tropical coastline, a network of canals, the mountainous region of the Western Ghats and its numerous national parks, teas and spice plantations. The good news is that it also has a good number of Workaway hosts. Opportunities include collaborating at an ashram, on a yoga retreat, on self-sufficient farms in the Western ghats or helping out with rural or urban community projects.

  • Nature lovers:
    Head to the charming town of Wayanad, part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and explore waterfalls, caves, spice plantations and exotic wildlife. Gavi is becoming popular for its ecotourism, and offers possibilities for trekking, camping, boating and safaris. National Parks such as Eravikulam, Periyar and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary provide a safe environment for elephants, langur monkeys and tigers.

  • Mountains:
    Trek the tea-growing regions of Munnar and Kolukkumalai and feel on top of the world!

  • Water babies:
    Alleppey is known as the “Venice of the East”, with its backwaters and floating houseboats or “kettuvallam”. Explore the neighbouring waterside city of Kochi, and Varkala on the coast, famous for its beaches, lakes, springs and ancient temples. There are plenty more beaches to explore along the Malabar Coast, including Kovalam, Marari and Alappuzha.

Tamil Nadu

Another state with plenty of Workaway hosts, ranging from collaborating with indigenous tribes to volunteer on a tea plantation to helping out at an Adventure Park. This state was originally named after the former capital city, Madras, now known as Chennai. A settlement since prehistoric times and a strategic outpost during the British occupation, nowadays it is a cosmopolitan city, famous for its cuisine, musical tradition and the Tamil film industry. Check out the cool cafés and shops in the hip neighbourhood of

Nungambakkam

  • Culture:
    The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram carved out of rock. They are a UNESCO Heritage Site and an example of architectural excellence. Visit the ancient city of Madurai and enjoy the buzz of its bazaars and streetlife.

  • Beaches:
    There are many beautiful beach locations close to the capital, but the state has a long coastline reaching to the southernmost tip of the country with spectacular beaches often at strategic port or temple sites. Check out Kanyakumari, Poompuhar, Mahabalipuram, Thiruchendur and the beaches of Nagapattinam and Visakhapatnam.

Puducherry

Previously the French settlement of Pondicherry, its architecture, rues and boulevards and bakeries are reminiscent of its colonial past. Known as the “French Riviera of the East”, Pondy is a charming and relaxing beach resort.

  • Hill stations:
    There are many hilly regions scattered over the state offering 25 scenic hill stations which are popular as summer retreats: Anaimalai, Coonoor, Kolli Hills, Kotagiri, Velliangiri, Yelagiri and Yercaud are some of these. Ooty, or the Queen of the hill stations, is the most famous, followed by Kodaikanal which is awarded Princess status! Both offer spectacular trekking possibilities.

Western India

Home to the paradisiacal beaches, hill resorts, forts, temples and culture. Mumbai, Maharashtra (previously Bombay) or “The City of Dreams” is the capital of arts and entertainment and home to Bollywood. Not surprisingly the Workaway hosts in this area are in search of volunteers for culture exchange and involvement in artistic, creative and film production projects amongst others.This city has the highest population in India and is a true melting pot of cultures and lifestyles, where rich industrialists and Bolly superstars walk the same streets as the poorest fishermen or slum dwellers. The spirit of the Mumbaikars is one of resilience and survival. Amongst Bombay’s iconic landmarks are functioning buildings such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, the High Court of Mumbai and the Taj Majal Palace Hotel. Other historical sites are the Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue, the Gateway of India monument and the Haji Ali Dargah mosque. Take a boat out to Elephanta Island to see the cave temple and huge Shiva sculpture.

  • Culture Vultures:
    You will love exploring the area around Aurangabad with its ancient and medieval sites. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora rock cut caves with magnificent paintings and carvings. Also worth a mention are the ancient Devagiri Fort and the Bibi Ka Maqqbara mughal tomb.

  • Beaches:
    Mumbai’s Manori beach (“little Goa”) as well as Gorai beach are favourite among backpackers in search of respite from the city bustle. Further along the coast are Alibaug, Tarkarli, Murud and Ganpatipule which as well as their white sands and pristine water also have historical forts or temples to add to their charm. The islands Daman and Diu, once Portuguese settlements, are also historical picturesque beach locations.

  • Hill resorts:
    Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Malshej Ghat, Kamshet and Amboli in the Western Ghats and Chikhaldara in the Gawilgarh Hills, are all outstanding destinations for trekkers and those escaping the summer heat.

Goa

A magical travel destination with beautiful villages, Portuguese colonial heritage, delicious food, amazing parties and stunning stretches of tropical coastline. Old Goa (Velha Goa) is filled with colonial-era architecture. The most highly populated state as far as Workaway hosts go, there are many opportunities to participate in: arts, film, yoga and dance initiatives, organising sports events and parties as well as social welfare programmes.

For fellow water babies, bask on the popular Baga or Calangute Beaches, or head for Kakolem Beach if you want more seclusion. Anjuna and Arambol beaches have a more laid-back hippie vibe. Head southeast and hike through the forest to the Dudhsagar Waterfalls for a dip.

Gujarat

Gandhi’s birthplace and home to unique landscapes and national parks.

  • Nature Lovers:
    The Great Rann of Kutch is a surreal white salt marsh within the Thar Desert, Gir National Park is home to Asiatic lions, deer and leopards.

  • History Buffs:
    The UNESCO Heritage sites of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (combining historical and mythological relics of Hindu, Jain and Muslim cultures) and the Rani ki Vav Patan stepwell monument. Also the Saurashtra region has many important monuments, beaches and wildlife, including the Jain temples of Palitana.

Visit the nearby city of Ahmedabad, where you’ll find Khas bazaar, delicious street food and Ghandi’s former home and ashram at Sabarmati.


Volunteering in India

Workaway is the world’s leading community for volunteering and cultural exchange. Lone travellers backpacking through India will find plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with the locals, but Workaway also offers many opportunities for couples, friends, families and groups. Workaway’s many hosts offer volunteers free accommodation and meals in exchange for a few hours of work a day, normally five days a week. This is the perfect way to make travelling affordable in India, or to extend your stay. Whether you want to visit India’s mountainous regions in the north or head for her coastal paradises, the cities and farms of the interior, or get right off the beaten track and immerse yourself in wild nature and local life, the perfect host is waiting to welcome you. It doesn’t matter whether you are exploring during your summer holidays, or seeking a gap year adventure, the volunteering opportunities are almost unlimited and will guarantee you have the time of your life.


Volunteer abroad: find the perfect host in India

As a member of the Workaway community you can use the many thousands of reviews and feedback provided to find your perfect match among our hosts. Share your culture, skills and language with the communities, projects and families that offer a wide range of volunteer programmes, volunteer projects and volunteer jobs. If you want to take a backpacking trip through more remote areas of India, use our regional filter to check out the many offers far away from the usual tourist spots. Combining these more off-the-beaten-track opportunities with a stay with some of the many host families and organizations in India’s towns, cities, rural locations and beach resorts is the ideal way to enjoy the country’s diversity.


Travel and make a difference

Who doesn’t enjoy going on holiday and relaxing in a tourist hotspot? However, travellers who want to connect more deeply with the host country and make a real difference will find perfect opportunities to do this by joining Workaway. Do you want to find out more about the culture of India? Volunteering is the perfect vehicle for cultural exchange, providing the traveller with a truly memorable experience while doing something useful, like collaborating with an eco-project, helping with household tasks, or caring for children or animals. Working and travelling in India is the perfect opportunity to get to know this unique country, the regions that form it, its nature and its people.


5 popular volunteering opportunities in India

Whether it’s camping out in the desert, heading for the hills to a Buddhist monastery, making a real difference in the inner city, enjoying the freedom of living off-grid or joining a creative fun-loving beach community – here are just a few of the fantastic volunteering opportunities available with a selection of our top-rated Workaway hosts in India.


Planning your Workaway Trip to India

If you are planning to visit India as a volunteer, make sure you have the correct visa. To find out about the latest requirements, you need to contact the embassy in your home country before travelling. And please don’t forget to take out appropriate travel insurance to make sure you qualify for healthcare! So, whether you want to go on a camel safari in the Thar desert, go trekking in the Himalayas, sip Darjeeling in Darjeeling, cruise the Keralan backwaters on a rice barge, live like a King in Rajasthan or become a sun worshipper in Goa, India is waiting for you to do some exploring.

So, why hesitate? Join Workaway and get planning a trip of a lifetime!