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.
Explore the Himalaya
Set out on a legendary hike through the Himalaya, the great mountain range separating Tibet and India that is sacred in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or spiritual pilgrim, the mountain vistas and snow-capped Himalayan peaks are a must-see. Spend an afternoon reflecting and sipping tea with local people of Indian and Tibetan descent.
Visit Mcleod Ganj
See how the Tibetan exile community has preserved their culture. McLeod Ganj, located just minutes from the CCS Home-Base, is home to a substantial Tibetan refugee population. You’ll stop by the Tsuglagkhang Complex and leave the Dalai Lama’s Temple with a sense of inner peace and universal love. Or, you may travel to a Tibetan art school to visit with students swirling around paint as they contemplate their works in progress.
Drink a cup of tea
Visit a Tea Garden in Palampur, the renowned “Tea Capital of Northern India,” and learn how their tea is made. The town has countless streams which flow across the region (palum actually means “abundant water”), which makes the land perfect for tea plantations.
Experience the Taj Mahal
There’s no mistaking the majestic architecture of the Taj Mahal. In 1632, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal in memory of his favorite wife. Visit this awe-inspiring structure, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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.
Cook Indian Cuisine
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. 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 biryani. No big deal."
Step Back in Time at the Kangra Fort
Venture to the Kangra Fort, the largest fort in the Himalaya and possibly the oldest in India. The fort was built around 3,500 years ago by the Katoch Dynasty, which is the oldest surviving dynasty in the world. Alexander the Great name-dropped this place in his war journal back in 4 BC, saying that whomever could take this fort would rule the entire valley.
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.