Faculty: Matt Meyer
Meeting Night: Monday
This trip will study the culture of India, a melting pot of religions and castes. Students will see how Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jainists and Christians coexist in (relative) harmony, and how the work of Gandhi and Mother Teresa has impacted the centuries-old caste system. Along the way, we’ll see how these cultures are expressed through their art, architecture, and food.
Students will tour the Taj Mahal, eat curry from banana leaf plates, watch monkeys scampering around temples, go bodysurfing in the Indian Ocean, ride elephants and take auto-rickshaws to a Bollywood cinema
Although primarily educational, there will also be a service component to this trip, as students have the opportunity to help patients in Mother Teresa’s missions and ride ox-carts to bring medical care to Untouchables in remote fishing villages.
Note: We’ll encounter various conditions, from three-star hotels to extreme poverty during this trip. Students should be prepared for 110-degree weather and high humidity.
INDIA TENTATIVE ITINERARY
Day 1-2 – Depart from Portland, with a stop-over in Europe or China en route to Delhi.
Day 3 – Delhi – After a good night’s sleep, students can buy Indian clothes in a bustling marketplace. Now that we blend in, we’ll visit a Hindu temple with an Imax theater and a boat ride showing the history of India.
Day 4 – Delhi – Visit the India Gate (India’s Arc de Triumph) the Red Fort, Humayum’s Tomb (a red, smaller version of the Taj Mahal), and maybe the Toilet Museum. Really.
Day 5 – Travel to Agra - We’ll board a train to Agra. Once there, we’ll have a free afternoon, visit a cool coffee shop, then take tuk-tuks to a nearby cinema.
Day 6 – Agra – We’ll tour the Taj Majal in the morning, then visit Agra Fort, where Shah Mahal was imprisoned after building the Taj.
Day 7 – Agra – We’ll go by bus to the ancient sandstone city of Fatepur Sikhri. We’ll continue down the road to Jaipur, the third corner of the Golden Triangle.
Day 8 - Jaipur – Students may have the opportunity to help bathe elephants, which we’ll then ride up to the Amber Palace.
Day 9 – Jaipur – We’ll visit a Monkey Temple, then get a glimpse of village life in Rusirani village.
Day 10 – Fly to Calcutta – After getting situated in Calcutta, we’ll visit Mother Teresa’s apartments. We’ll have some free time to shop for Aladdin pants in the marketplace.
Day 11 – Calcutta – We’ll tour Calcutta, hang out with university students at an intellectual café, tour a Jain temple, and maybe visit a local theme park.
Day 12 – Calcutta – We’ll spend a day volunteering at one of Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity missions. We’ll decompress over a traditional Thali meal, served on banana leaves.
Day 13 – Fly to Chennai – After a short flight, we’ll visit a snake and crocodile park, climb St. Thomas Mount, where St. Thomas (aka “Doubting Thomas”) is buried, and then eat burgers at Sparky’s.
Day 14 – Chennai – After visiting the beach temples and carved stone sculptures at Mahaballipuram, we’ll continue on for a beach day south of Chennai, where we can body surf in the Bay of Bengal. If weather and equipment allow, we can rent snorkels to look for the legendary Seven Lost Pagodas, which were overrun by the sea.
Day 15 – Nellore – After worshipping in a local church, we’ll go by train to Nellore, a smaller town (only 1/3 of a million) where we’ll stay at an orphanage.
Day 16 – Nellore – We’ll ride ox-carts to remote villages, where we’ll conduct medical camps for Untouchables.
Day 17 – Nellore – Another day of medical camps (and entertaining tribal kids) in remote fishing villages. We’ll likely return by fishing boats, then play with kids in the orphanage.
Day 18 – Travel to Pondicherry - We’ll go by bus to Pondicherry, where we’ll get a taste of French culture.
Day 19 – Pondicherry – Beach day -- take a brief surfing lesson or just chill out.
Day 20 – Chennai - Back to Chennai by bus, and then pack your bags for the flight home.
Day 21 – Fly back to PDX.