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Westridge India Itinerary

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Prayer Flags in Dharamsala, India

Please Note: This itinerary is subject to change based on group interest, opportunities to engage in local cultural events, health and safety concerns, and/or other factors beyond the control of Global LAB.

Saturday, March 26: USA

AM: Leave California, transfer in Newark for a non-stop flight to Delhi

PM: Night flight from Newark to Delhi (arrive in the evening of the following day)

Sunday, March 27: New Delhi

PM: Arrival in New Delhi. Transfer to the hotel. We'll have a light dinner, settle in at our guesthouse, and encourage everyone to get a good night's sleep in order to be well-rested and ready for our first day out on the town.

Overnight: Guesthouse in Delhi

Monday, March 28: New Delhi

AM: We will begin this morning with an introduction to India. We'll discuss tools for minimizing culture shock, how to be a sensitive cross-culturalist, and learn some Hindi language basics. Then, we'll tour important historical and religious sites in Old and New Delhi, including the breathtaking Mughal architecture of India's largest mosque, The Jama Masjid, and Shah Jahan's Red Fort.

PM: After our first rickshaw ride we will have lunch. Then we will visit the Gandhi Museum and spend the afternoon learning about this great leader's life and legacy. Dinner will be at a local Indian restaurant.

Overnight: Guesthouse in Delhi

Tuesday, March 29: Delhi, McLeod Ganj

AM: We'll get an early start today as we head off to Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. Observe the sights as we spend the day driving up the foothills of the Himalayas. Breakfast and lunch will be taken en route.

PM: There will also be the opportunity to visit a Punjab village on our way to Dharamsala. We will have dinner upon arrival in McLeod Ganj.

Overnight: Guesthouse in McLeod Ganj

Wednesday, March 30: McLeod Ganj

AM: Start the morning off with a guest speaker who will give us an introductory talk on Tibet to help contextualize the population of modern Dharamsala and the history of the exile community's non-violent struggle for change. Then, start exploring the town on your own by having a student Scavenger Hunt.

PM: After lunch we will visit His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's Namgyal Monastery to observe and experience Tibetan Buddhism in practice. From there, we'll visit the Tibet Museum, where a riveting photographic account of the history of Tibet is a permanent installation. Local contemporary artists are also featured offering commentary on the experience of young Tibetans born in India and who have escaped over the Himalaya.
Tonight begins the student homestay experience. Over tea, families and students will be introduced and matched. Students will enjoy a unique opportunity to connect with local Tibetan families to understand more deeply the lifestyles of Tibetan refugees living in McLeod Ganj. Breakfast and dinner will be taken with the homestay families during the homestays.

Overnight: Homestay Families

Thursday, March 31: McLeod Ganj

AM: Rising early, we'll take a day trip to the Norbulinka Institute where talented students of Thangka painting, wood and metal working, and textiles create stunning works of religious art for monasteries and practitioners all over the world. Lunch will be taken near Norbulinka. We will also visit Doma Ling Nunnery and learn about the Tibetan Nuns Project.

PM: If our karma is ripe to do so, a visit to Gyuto Tantric Monastery will bring us a possible audience with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, head lama of the Kagyud tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Overnight: Homestay Families

Friday, April 1: McLeod Ganj

AM: We will head over to Tibetan Children's Village (TCV), to learn about the Tibetan school system in exile. We will meet with the Director, visit the orphanage, and possibly have the opportunity to play basketball with the students.

PM: We will hike to Bagsu Waterfall, stopping for lunch in the neighboring town. In the evening, we will say thank you to our homestay families with a special farewell dinner.

Overnight: Homestay Families

Saturday, April 2: McLeod Ganj, Amritsar

AM: Today we will say goodbye to Dharamsala and travel by car to Amritsar stopping for lunch along the way.

PM: Upon our arrival in Amristar, we will watch the Wagah border 'lowering of the flags' ceremony and discuss how this festive daily occurrence relates to our assumptions about the longstanding conflict between India and Pakistan.

Overnight: Hotel in Amristar

Sunday, April 3: Amritsar

AM: Here we will spend the day exploring the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine in Sikhism, and doing service at Langar, the temple's free kitchen. We will also discuss the power and peril of non-violent actions during a visit to the Jallianwala Bagh Gardens, the site of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 where over 1000 people were killed during a peaceful protest.

PM: Tonight we will board an overnight train to Agra.

Overnight: Train to Agra

Monday, April 4: Amritsar, Agra

AM: When we arrive in Agra, we'll first visit the fantastic Agra Fort, home of Mughal Emperors who passed down from ruler to ruler, situated on the Yamuna River two kilometers from the famous Taj Mahal. Agra Fort is a World Heritage Site.

PM: As the sun sets, we'll view the world renowned Taj Mahal, the finest example of Mughal architecture built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Spend the evening getting henna and debriefing our experience in India.

Overnight: Hotel in Agra

Tuesday, April 5: Agra, Delhi

AM: After breakfast, we'll take an excursion to visit nearby Fatehpur Sikri, another World Heritage Site. This now deserted city was built in the 16th Century by Emperor Akbar to house his court. After 14 years of construction, followed by 14 years of habitation, Akbar and his wives, each of a different religious tradition, used up the water aquifer and moved along. The city features inspiring Islamic architecture with Hindu and Jain influences.

PM: Travel back to Delhi. We will return in time for our farewell dinner.

Overnight: Guesthouse in Delhi

Wednesday, April 6: Delhi

AM: In the morning, we will spend some time reflecting on our time in India. Then, we will head off to Jan Path for some last minute shopping at a local market.

PM: Our last lunch in India will be thali at a delicious local restaurant nearby. Then, we will head back to the hotel to gather our luggage and go to the airport for an evening flight back to the USA. Please note: Arrival in the USA the following day.

Thursday, April 7: USA

AM: Morning arrival in LAX via a transfer in Newark.

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