Explore the Complexities of India
The culture, history, religion, and family structures of India are complex, and we're sure you'll end each day with a myriad of questions about this complex and captivating country. Meet with expert guest speakers through CCS to explore these, and many other, topics as you immerse and learn about what makes India the land of contrasts.
In Dharamsala, a city scavenger hunt led by the CCS staff gives you a chance to get to know your new surroundings. Team up with a small group of fellow volunteers and, with the help of your new neighbors, find your way around town to complete a fun challenge. You may be tasked to find a cell phone, buy eggs, or hunt down a travel agency and book a ticket to Amritsar. No matter what the challenge, it's a great way to quickly get comfortable in this welcoming mountain community.
Marvel at the Temple of the Dalai Lama
In the holy city of McLeod Ganj, the site of the Tibetan refugee community, find peace and meditation at the Tsuglakhang Temple, which is the site of some of the Dalai Lama's famous speeches and blessings. Witness the rituals of the monks, or take a spin at a prayer wheel, as you immerse yourself in the religious diversity that makes India so unique.
Hindi Language Lessons
For many volunteers, Hindi language lessons with CCS are a first. In addition to practicing the elegant calligraphy, you’ll practice spoken Hindi as well. No worries on rocketing to the head of the class, a little goes a long way and just the basics can really help you connect with the community. And if you're a little shaky at first, the local people appreciate your attempts, and are very friendly with their corrections.
Meet with Tibetan Monks
Tibetan monks and temples in the refugee community of McLeod Ganj are the cornerstone of religious life. Through one on one interactions with local monks, you will learn about the traditions and journey to become a monk, often starting at the age of 6. Explore the rituals of the few possessions owned by monks, and the traditions of offerings, meditations, and ceremonies through this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique and compelling community.
Lend Your Ear to Tibetan Folk Songs
Folk dance, songs, and instruments are key to Tibetan society, and are considered among the "five minor sciences". Join us at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts to experience the dedicated training and performances of this highly regarded crafts, and learn about the meaning behind the intricate costumes used in celebrating this culture.
Prepare Delicious Tandoori
Whether you're a newbie to Indian cuisine or your favorite dishes all contain the words "tikka" or "tandoori," your taste buds are in for a treat at weekly cooking classes at your CCS Home-Base. Each week, your group will have a chance to prepare an authentic Indian dish alongside the CCS cooks. Wow friends and family when you take the recipe back home to share and casually mention "Oh yeah, that's my famous aloo jeera. No big deal."
Dance the Odissi
Learn all about Odissi, and Indian classical dance, from a renowned Indian dance instructor. She’ll share the significance of each part of the dance, from the clothing and instruments to the music and the moves; then, you’ll learn the basics of the oldest surviving dance in all of India.