There is nothing more invigorating and soul nourishing than being on top of the world, literally. Soul Seed will take you on an unforgettable twenty day journey through Northern India’s Himalayas, bringing you to experience the jaw-dropping beauty and diversity of the landscapes as well as the fascinating synergetic blend of cultures that make our visits so warm and stimulating. We explore the region at a laid back pace, stopping at our favorite towns and villages where you will have sufficient time to relax, explore, and get connected in an authentic and meaningful way. This trip offers you the chance to experience a little bit of everything, including beginner yoga and meditation classes, hiking and rafting through the foothills, volunteering with Tibetan refugees, a gastronomic tour of local specialties, and a variety of cultural excursions to give you a well-rounded historical and contemporary perspective of each locale. Our thoughtfully hand chosen activities are balanced with plenty of “you time” when you will have the freedom to explore your own interests or simply relax and take in the extraordinary majesty of your surroundings. From the delights of Delhi, to the prairies of Punjab, to the Tibetan paradise of Dharamsala, to the snow-capped peaks surrounding Manali, to the Ganges-side yoga capital of Rishikesh, and the magnificence of the Taj Mahal, you will experience the best of this magical region alongside like-minded travelers in safety and comfort.
- Practice yoga in the beauty of the Himalayan foothills.
- Volunteer with a grassroots organization for Tibetan refugees.
- Experience local culture and learn mindfulness in the home of the Dalai Lama, McLeod Ganj.
- Give the trees a hug on a hike to the majestic Himalayan peak, Triund.
- Learn from community leaders, activists, films, and site visits about each region's complex history and present realities.
- Get a firsthand understanding of the historical, cultural and religious contexts behind the issues India.
- Learn to cook traditional cuisine from a local home enterprise.
- Unwind on the banks of the Ganges in the yoga and spiritual hotspot, Rishikesh.
- Raft the white waters of the Ganges or catch a bird's eye view while paragliding.
- Take a journey across the nation's shifting landscape, and experience India the way the locals do it.
- Soak-up India's treasures: Amritsar's Golden Temple, the frustrations and delights of Delhi, the serenity of the Himalayas, and the unparalleled majesty of Agra's Taj Mahal.
+ Day 1 - 2: Delhi
Your journey begins in India's bustling capital Delhi, where we'll pick you up from the airport and bring you to our guesthouse to meet the rest of the group. We'll have a crash-course in Indian culture, navigate the bustling streets, practice our bartering skills in local markets, and visit the city's historical and spiritual landmarks. We'll also have a group welcome dinner to feast on the best of the best traditional Indian cuisine and get ready for the next three weeks!
+ Day 3-8: Rishikesh
Rishikesh is a charming and quaint town that sits idly along the banks of the Ganges. It is both a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus to bathe in its holy waters and considered the world's yoga capital. Cradled among the green foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh lines the banks of “Mother Ganga” where she leaves her Himalayan source and enters the plains of North India. “Shanti Shanti” is the motto here, meaning peace, rest, calmness, tranquility, or bliss. Contextual translation: “Chill out”. In Rishikesh you'll have a chance to relax and reflect on the past two weeks along the banks of the Ganges River with daily yoga and meditation. There are multitudes of classes to engage in from yoga, reiki, drumming, cooking, jewelry making-- nearly anything you can think of! For the adventurous spirit, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, rafting, and paragliding over the Himalayas. And for those who want to relax, you may want to enjoy one of Rishikesh’s most “shanti” ubiquitous pastimes by chilling out in an open air café on the banks of the Ganges, sipping honey ginger lemon tea with a book or a like mind.
+ Day 8-15: Dharamsala
Nestled at 2100m in the foothills of the Himalayas, McLeod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama and his exiled followers. With a backdrop of snowcapped peaks overlooking the Kangra valley, we'll discover the fascinating intersection of Tibetan and North Indian culture that make this town like nowhere else on earth. You'll begin each day with a yoga practice and have plenty of time to explore everything this town has to offer- a lot! Hiking through the forests to nearby villages, chatting over chai with monks, and attending classes from Buddhist philosophy to woodcarving, time seems to simultaneously crawl and fly in this mountaintop town. We’ll have the opportunity to volunteer with a local grassroots organization for Tibetan Refugees where you’ll discover a truly authentic exchange of culture. Learning about their culture, hearing their fascinating stories of exile, and teaching them about your culture and language is an appreciated, heartwarming, and meaningful way to engage with the local culture. We'll discover local issues from speakers and films, learn to cook local cuisine, and hike through the pine and rhododendron forests to the majestic snow-capped peak of Mount Triund. You'll have plenty of time to relax, reflect, explore the streets, and peruse the plethora of spiritual, adventurous, and cultural activities this diverse town has to offer.
+ Day 16-17: Amritsar
Amritsar is the Sikh spiritual capital of India and home to the magnificent Golden Temple. A golden gudwara surrounded by a pool of crystal holy water, this is one of the most spiritual places in India. We'll take part in traditional langar, a display of the Sikh principle of equality between all people, where thousands of visitors share a meal along rows of mats lining the temple floor- the rice pudding is world famous! Each day volunteers serve 100 000 people free of charge. Outside the serenity of the temple, the city of Amritsar is a bustling Punjabi centre. We'll visit the surrounding local markets and key historical sites that tell of the region's tragic history and present reality. To end the evening, we will drive to the Baaga border for the strange and highly entertaining boarder ceremony between the Indian and Pakistani armies.
+ Day 19-20: Agra
Arriving in Agra, home of India’s greatest wonder and a buzzing North Indian city itself, you'll have the day to explore the magnificent Taj Mahal and Agra's surrounding historical sites and markets. Words can’t do justice to describe the majesty of this immaculate structure and space- it’s an awe-inspiring experience which will always remain imprinted in your memory of India. In the evening we'll have a rooftop dinner with a backdrop of the sun setting behind the silhouette of one of the world’s most grand structures.
+ Day 21: Jaipur
Our next stop brings us to Rajasthan- the chaotic and beautiful “land of Kings” that likely holds the image of what you’ve always imagined India to be. Scarlet and saffron turbans, mirror shimmering fabrics, camels lounging in the hot sun, and bands of wandering gypsies, dancers, and fortune tellers give this state an eastern exoticism that is intoxicating. The most flamboyant and wonderfully colourful of the states, Rajasthan cultivated this identity as a reaction to the dry, red-brown deserts that blanket its rolling hills. Rajasthan’s capital and largest city, Jaipur, is named India’s Pink City on account of the pink gates surrounding the palace quarter – the former home of Jai Singh, a warrior, mathematician, astronomer, and the city’s King and founder. You can wander the streets of the old city alongside elephants and camels, tackle the organized chaos of the spice and tea markets, and feast on some of the best Indian food around. You’ll have the chance to experience India’s oldest and most spectacular relics of history such as Amber Fort, an opulent palace complex of sandstone and marble perched atop the hills surrounding Jaipur and overlooking Maota Lake. With their grandeur gates, symmetrical gardens, cobbled paths, outstanding views, and fascinating histories, the forts and palaces of Rajasthan create a sense of nostalgic timelessness as you enter into the world of the 17th century.
+ Day 22: Delhi
We will wake up early and head back to Delhi to be dropped off at the guesthouse. Depending on where you’re headed from here, we can help you arrange further travel or transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
- Accommodations for your 3 week Journey
- All travel within India
- Welcome Dinner
- Local Tours
- Himalayan trek
- Yoga and meditation classes
- Indian cooking class
- Volunteer placements
- Prep and Culture Kit
- Fully escorted trip with a knowledgeable and fun group leader
- Planning assistance for extended travel
What isn't included?
- International flights into and out of Delhi
- All meals not listed above
- Activities not listed above
- Entrance to monuments
March 29 - April 19, 2018
Footsteps in the Himalayas
Sweat Equity: Have Friends? Recruit a friend and receive $200 back in sweat equity!
Got Skills? Do you have some skills or talent that you think could help Soul Seed? Whether you’re into writing, photography, design, or marketing, we’re always looking for awesome people to contribute to our mission. Our sweat equity option allows you to receive money back after you get home, or you can put it towards a future trip.