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Anybody know about India?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by Northern-girl, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. I'm going to volunteer in India this Autumn (for a month). The question is... the Rajasthan desert or Santinitekan?

    I love the sound of the Rajasthan desert, but travelling with that company will be more expensive, and possibly involve less teaching.

    Santinitekan sounds interesting, but I don't know much about it. Travelling with this company means I might get to do more teaching and it's a bit cheaper, but there are no excursions, workshops, or language learning involved (unlike the other one).

    So what do I do???
     
  2. I'm going to volunteer in India this Autumn (for a month). The question is... the Rajasthan desert or Santinitekan?

    I love the sound of the Rajasthan desert, but travelling with that company will be more expensive, and possibly involve less teaching.

    Santinitekan sounds interesting, but I don't know much about it. Travelling with this company means I might get to do more teaching and it's a bit cheaper, but there are no excursions, workshops, or language learning involved (unlike the other one).

    So what do I do???
     
  3. Haven't done any teaching there but Rajasthan is a fantastic area to visit.
     
  4. Thanks, that's good to know. Were you in the desert itself?
     
  5. Most of the landscape is desert anyway but yes I did spend a few days in Jaisalmir and the Thar desert itself.
     
  6. Hello,

    I spent 6 months in India and I loved Rajasthan. It's the most beautiful region of India. There are palaces and forts to visit, Tiger reserves and great shopping! It's also a great region to visit for cultural experiences with various festivals, theatre shows and dance performances. It will still be pretty hot there in Sept / October and it doesn't really cool down until late November so be prepared for that especially in the desert.

    Rajasthan epitomises India for me and I am sure you will love it!
     
  7. I think I'm pretty much convinced on Rajasthan - it does look lovely in the photos I've seen, and Jaipur is stunning. Plus, I get to learn some Hindi, do Indian cooking and henna painting workshops, visit the Taj Mahal, go on a camel safari, and see tigers ... for free (or at least included in the price). But then again.... does anyone know about Santiniketan?
     
  8. Maharani, I wouldn't go as far to say that Rajasthan is THE most beautiful place in India. What about Kashmir, Kinnaur (in Himachal Pradesh), Kerala etc. There are other places that are even nicer IMO. But Rajasthan is nice :)
     
  9. Only know Rajasthan - but it's WONDERFUL!!!

    Spent over three years in India and would recommend that you try to get some free time after your month to explore - there is too much to see. Train to Maharashtra and Mumbai, ditto to Delhi, cheap and exciting - Goa not out of reach once you've got to Mumbai. Air fares are ridiculously cheap at the moment, check out online booking for Deccan, Kingfisher and others.

    Digital camera a must - with loads of memory space for the thousands of photos you'll take.

    Save some money up to spend at least one night at the Samode Palace Hotel (see Lonely Planet)which is a real buzz and owned by a real Nawab (who is a cool guy and very hospitable)

    If you go to the Amber fort in Jaipur, talk to the elephant handlers and don't ignore them like most tourists do - you could get lucky and be invited into a home to see the ceremonial outfits each of their homes has for the beasts and get to drink some excellent masala chai.

    For jaw dropping amazement at temples you cannot beat Ajanta and Ellora caves - a long way from Rajasthan but reachable from Mumbai and REALLY worth it - much better than the Taj!!

    Enjoy! I'm jealous and miss the place like hell!
     
  10. Sakara, just out of interest - what were you doing in India for 3 years? I'm jealous!! xx
     
  11. Thanks, Sakara, that's great to hear. I've just submitted my application for Rajasthan, so fingers crossed!

    I spend my first night in a hotel in Delhi, and then I take the train to Jaipur - I bet the view's lush - and then we spend a few days on orientation - sightseeing and learning Hindi, etc.

    When you say the flights are cheap at the moment, how much is cheap? I'll be flying to Delhi airport, preferably from Newcastle, but that probably means I'll have loads of changes. I'm dead scared about that bit; I haven't been to an airport or on a plane since I was ten so I won't have a clue what to do. From what I remember it seems very complicated and confusing!
     
  12. There's currently a price war going on in India between several well-equipped newcomers to the airline business - most of them are doing fares (booked up front) for as little as one rupee to 100 rupees - even with taxes added on the flights are really affordable if you are lucky enough to nab one of these loss leaders. Alternatively, if you can afford it companies like Deccan offer a sort of season ticket where you get a chosen number of flights anywhere in India (as long as you don't repeat a flight)- I can't remember all the details but I think one was for 25 flights for a lakh (100,000 rupees) but that could be way off, so check it.
    The BBC should still have details online from their travel programme since they recently did a special on the burgeoning growth of air travel in India. Failing that, as I said check online for Indian independent airlines like Deccan, Kingfisher (owned by the guy who has the breweries)or Sahara - there are others, too, so a search is well worth it.

    Jude - there are quite a few IB schools in India now and I spent my time there teaching and working as a MYP coordinator - just love the place and have even considered retiring there when the time eventually comes (if they change the property ownership laws for foreigners)

    One last thing Northern Girl - flights are easier now - once you have your E ticket it's all pretty much plain sailing (or flying?) and as long as you are being met at the airport you will have no hassles to speak of. But DO do some research before you go - lots of good advice in Rough Guide and L Planet which is relevant - first timers arriving tend to be rather dismayed by aggressive-seeming hawkers, beggars, taxi and rickshaw drivers and the like - but it really doesn't take too long to become accustomed to the pace of life in town and then to get to enjoy a country where EVERYTHING, good and bad, is 100% more intense than you'll find anywhere else.

    I hope you love it.
     
  13. E ticket?

    Yes, I'm being met at Delhi airport, so as long as I get there in one piece I'll be fine! I was advised to look for flights on the STA Travel website - haven't checked for Delhi yet, but to most places in India it seems to be around £600 or more for a return, with two changes from Newcastle.

    Thanks for the advice about a guide- I think that's probably a very good idea - I'm useless!
     
  14. been to both, realise this is a bit late now though. Spent a month in Rajasthan in my gap year then got taken to Santinitekan on holliday by one of my indian teacher friends.
    Rajasthan has been done, but Santinitekan is pretty awesome, i was about to say very peaceful, but as shanti means peace (in Nepali so i presume Hindi/Bengali too) perhaps that is to be expected! It was set up by Tagore, who was a Bengali poet who wrote the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh, he returned his knighthood as part of the independance struggle.
    Where we go outside when it is hot, his school go in when they have to, they have benches under the trees and people (tourists) wander about and the kids don't react. It has now grown into a Uni, really nice place, worth a visit, a few hours on the local train from Calcutta if you visit the rest of India too.
     
  15. Oh, it sounds lovely Nikooji. Thanks for your help. I've applied for Rajasthan now, but if I don't get it I could try for Santiniketan. Anyway, I have a feeling that I'm going to love India, so I guess it won't be the only time I go!
     
  16. first time i went to india in 1997 i said, great, but i've seen it. next time i'll go somewhere else. I reckon that i've now been there 5 times for a month or more and a similar number of weeks, weekends or even once for dinner!
     
  17. You went to India just for dinner? You're taking the mick, right?

    I just hope I like it as much as you did. I'm going for a month, which will seem like a very long time if I don't. There's quite a few places I'd like to see there: Rajasthan (where I'm going), Goa (looks gorgeous), Darjeeling (looks really beautiful, and I'd love to see the Himalayas), and Santiniketan just because it sounds so peaceful and interesting. I think that's more than enough to keep me busy for a while! I'd love to cross the border into Nepal as well...
     
  18. Nope, i was living on the nepali side of the border, visa ran out, went to india and came back and got a new visa issued. had dinner whilst i was there, and if truthful stayed a night, but was back in the office by 9 the next morning (in Nepal).

    I taught in Kalimpong which is Darjeeling District twice, for 5 and 4 months and have been back a few times since.

    Not hard to love, be careful on the train, but enjoy it all the same, one of the best bits of Indian travel, sitting and watching India go by for a day or 2. The guys coming down the train selling Chai, stopping at sations for 20 minutes, getting off and buying dinner, or often your fellow travellers sharing theirs, magic... not really being able to comunicate with those around you, but at the same time comunicating enough. But take a bike lock for your rucksack whilst you sleep!
     
  19. India is really an amazing place to visit. You can easily visit India through some International flights. On the other hand, if you want to vist local cities, you can book filgts to Pune, Delhi, Mumbai etc through online websites.
     

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