Useful information for a Gap Year in India
" India is a land of contrasts... India is not a poor country. She is abundantly supplied with everything that makes a country rich, yet here people are very poor." - Jawaharlal Nehru, 1947.
The Republic of India has for centuries enticed those with the wanderlust, those in search of that special something. That extra punch that only India promises and delivers makes it one of the most popular gap year destinations
India provides a feast for your senses and just thinking of your gap year in India evokes colourful and powerful images of the Mumbai and Delhi streets teeming with a heavy population, of beautiful snow capped Himalayan Mountains; the tropical rainforests of Kerala, the deep turquoise waters around the Andamans and the steaming Thar Desert. India is a huge country, as large as Europe but more varied with a rich and distinct cultural identity to discover during your gap year volunteering in India. Nehru's statement is as significant now as it was when he wrote it in 1947.
GapGuru provides you with the unique experience of living and working alongside some of the warmest people in one the world's most diverse countries. If you want an experience that will challenge and change you, then India is the country to travel to.
Hot summers, monsoon in Winter, with a beautiful but brief Spring and Autumn sum up the season cycle in India. Most of the country has a vigorous monsoon that lasts from mid June to September. However, because of India's incredible size,(3,287,263 km) the temperatures vary immensely.
- Coolest from December to February: Fresh mornings and dry, sunny days. Nights can become quite cold in the north and in the far north. Coastal regions like Mumbai and Pune have a more temperate climate which is perfect for a gap year travel.
- Very Hot from March to May:During the summer the temperature in Delhi can reach 45 degrees Celsius. This is the time to retreat to the Himalayan hill stations where the temperature remains pleasant when working or volunteering in India.
- Monsoon Rains from June to September: Most of the country feels the effects of the vigorous monsoons in this period.
Best Time to Go
In general it is best to visit India during winter: November - February. For trekking in the Himalayas and visiting the south-east the best time to go during your gap year is between April and September. India has a large network of roads and although hiring a car may not be the best idea, there are many bus and rail options. Flying has become a common alternative as the country is so vast and rail travel can be slow. The best way of getting around the large cities and towns during your gap year travel is by using the variety of local transport available in each city:
Like the Thai tuk-tuk or the Indonesian becak the auto rickshaw is the modern motorised version of the traditional cart that was pulled by a person. They are varied in design but usually have a canopy on top and have no doors or seatbelts. Riding in the back of one is an experience in itself, and a must-do during your gap year working or volunteering in India!
It is common to share the rickshaw with a stranger and pay a fare per passenger each based on destination. These are called phat-a-phats in Delhi and Polaamboo vans in Chennai.
Taxis in all major cities are metered. While travelling during your gap year in India, you should always insist that the driver uses the meter and ask to see the tariff card or rate card for the latest fares. If the driver refuses you can get the police to intervene. However, in that situation it is usual to compromise and agree a fare for the trip before you get in.