India

Map of India

Destination Overview

For many travelers, a visit to India is beyond description. As the birthplace of religions , philosophies, and languages – India offers unparalleled opportunities for adventure and cultural exploration. Though several different cultures, religions, and ways of life coexist in this mighty subcontinent, the government of India has opened its arms to their neighbors to the north as they were forced from their homeland.

Home to Mahatma Ghandi the Taj Mahal, the Sikh Golden Temple, and countless other significant cultural and historical sites – India also harbors nearly a quarter of the entire human population. The bustling chaos that results somehow manages to produce some of the kindest and most hospitable people any traveler could hope to encounter – as well as some of the best food on earth.

The northern city of Dharamsala became the new home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile in 1960 after China’s military occupation of Tibet reached the central government. Since relocating to India, Tibetan refugees have struggled to maintain their culture and identity. The mass movement has caused social and financial instability as transplanted families attempt to re-establish businesses, careers and cultural harmony.

Dharamsala has since become a center for Tibetan activity with numerous organizations, monasteries and nunneries, schools and over 19,000 residents. Though the hillside town has always been something of an accommodating region for foreigners – Tibetan refugees continue the struggle to return to their homeland with the Dalai Lama calling for international visibility and foreign volunteers. Each summer, GoBeyond students have the opportunity to explore India’s boundless mysteries and lend a hand to the exiled people of the Himalayas.

“Following some remotely spicy “honey-ginger-lemon tea” at our new hotel, we were given a tour of Dharmasala. From the gorgeous idols and paintings within the various Buddhist temples, to the heart breaking tales of the Tibetan refugees found at the Tibet Museum, Dharmasala is a thoroughly captivating and remarkable city. When finished with our tour, we took a short walk along a foggy, cliff side path, where we encountered Buddhist monks, two kinds of monkeys, sleepy cows, and stray dogs.”
-Zachary S. - Prescott, AZ