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You are here: Home Our Work Study visits coming up in 2017 - 2018 Culture and Wildlife in Southern India August 2017

Culture and Wildlife in Southern India August 2017

Friday 11th – Thurs 24th August 2017


wildlife 1This is a unique two week guided journey of discovery through South India which will occur during the summer of 2017. The aim of the trip is to explore, with local experts, the South Indian state of Karnataka and to learn about the rich cultural traditions and unique wildlife that the state offers.

Birding tour

During the trip you will discover the richness of both textiles crafts and cultural traditions of the region. There will be opportunities to visit Hindu, Jain, and Buddist temples, including those in the rocky river basin of the extraordinary temple ruins of Hampi. You will learn about the physical and ecological geography of the region as you take a train journey from agricultural plains of northern Karnataka to the rich and fertile rice and sugar cane growing basin of the river Cauvery.  You will venture into the elaborate city of Mysore and then drive on south through the dry, deciduous elephant forests and up into the dense semi tropical coffee growing mountain forests of Kodagu (Coorg) in the Western Ghats. You will see a range of South Indian wildlife from migratory birds and waterfowl, to monkeys, deer, elephants, and if we are very, very lucky, one of Karnataka’s famous tigers. In addition, you will learn about the human geography of the region, including issues of sustainable development as the City of Bangalore continues to expand and there will opportunities to explore a variety of Indian cuisine, including buying fresh ingredients and learning how to cook them!   This is a very exciting and unique journey, and we are absolutely delighted to be offering it as one of our visits for 2017.

Who is this for?

The trip is for anyone who is ready for an adventure!  The week will be packed with a variety of activities including treks, cultural trips, exhilarating walks, coracle rides and visits to busy markets.  This is not a beach holiday but there will be time to relax, reflect and write your journal, perhaps with a rewarding gin and tonic, at the end of the day! The facilitators aim to show you aspects of India which the average ‘tourist’ would not have the opportunity to see.  They will be on hand to answer your questions and to show you the ‘real’ India.  If you are curious about places, people, history and culture, this trip is for you.  During trips such as this, there are often unplanned events which, when approached with an open-mind and a willingness to go with the flow, add an extra dimension to the journey.  If you are prepared to join a group of fellow travellers to experience the wonders of India, this trip could be a once in a life-time journey of exploration, where lasting memories are created.

Who is organising this visit?

The trip is being planned by an organisation called Sangam who have a lovely, rural, residential facility in a small village north of Bangalore. You will be accompanied throughout the trip by your facilitators from Sangam who understand the context and culture of the area extremely well.  They who will interpret, explain and deepen your understanding of India.  They have 15 years of professional experience organising curated journeys in Karnataka and South India. Please do refer to Sangam’s website for more information about their organisation:  Caroline Smailes is coordinating with Sangam on this project. She has visited India with Sangam’s projects three times before, and is now planning this cultural and wildlife trip with Sangam in order to offer an exhilarating travel opportunity for visitors to Karnataka.

Where will we stay?

Accommodation will begin and end in Sangam’s residential home stay facility called “The Land” near Bangalore which has space for up to 25 people. The Land is a spacious leafy garden on the edge of the rural village of Silvepura. The facilities are simple but well developed. Imo and Kiran Sahi who run Sangam, have made it a comfortable and homely place for visiting groups from the UK.  You can make yourself at home and use it as a base from where you can explore India. ( During the journey you will stay in comfortable and authentic simple guest houses and hotels. The details of the accommodation options are to be found on the draft itinerary in the further information which we can share with you if you are interested in hearing more.

How will we travel? There will be two overnight train journeys in sleeper class cabin style train bunks. The rest of the journeys in India will be in comfortable air conditioned vehicles with no more than five people per seven seater car, so that there is space and room for luggage. The group will be accompanied throughout by Kiran Sahi from Sangam who will be able to interpret and explain what you see on the journeys and he will facilitate the process. Some days will involve very early mornings, and some days will involve a lot of travelling from one location to another. Some days will involve journeying at the heart of the day. There will be so much to see if you look out of the window and ask questions and make the journey itself part of the trip. On days when you are driving you will regularly make stops.  When you see things of interest, unplanned stops can also be made – it’s all part of the adventure.

Who will advise us on preparation for the visit? Those who express interest in the visit will be invited to an optional meeting in the Autumn of 2016.  This will be a chance for you to meet the organisers, hear more about the programme, and to ask questions. Once you have joined the group you will be sent a comprehensive preparation pack which will detail the information about flight booking, travel advice, kit lists, visa guidelines, payment information, insurance advice, and health and safety guidance. If you have any questions about the visit before or after receiving this pack please do email us or call using the contact details below.  You will be invited to a second preparation meeting in the spring term before you travel when you will go through these practicalities and can meet the rest of the group before you travel.

What is the cost? The visit will cost between £1000- £1200 per person for those happy to share rooms in twin accommodation and between £1300- £1500 per person for single travellers. The exact cost will depend on the final programme details. This price does not include the flight to India, visa requirements, vaccinations etc.  More details can be found on the further information.

A resource pack: On your arrival you will all be provided with a resource booklet which includes maps, travel information, and suggestions of activities to enable you to engage with the places that you visit. (In addition, for any teachers in the group the pack will include ideas for teaching and learning activities using creative enquiry, and case study information.)

How to apply: Please mail Caroline using the email addresses below and she will send you through an application form. Please do register your interest asap, so that we can send you details of the initial information meeting, and then applications and a deposit will be due in before the end of term December 16th 2016.

How to find out more:

If there are queries which have not been covered above, or if you would like to talk over details of the visit prior to booking, please contact:

Group leader:

Caroline Smailes. Email:

Or  contact Kiran and Imo Sahi at:

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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