“I took my first trip with Nanda Journeys to India in October 2015. All my previous travels have been with family and self planned. I was not sure what to expect when traveling with a group like this and I have to say I really enjoyed it. In addition to the obvious advantage, that the hassle of planning is done for you, Nanda Journeys did an excellent job of coordinating the whole package. I feel like we really experienced a little bit of everything, from the history to the culture to the people. This is truthfully the first trip I have ever taken where I was sad to leave rather than a little relieved to be able to get home!"

                                                                         Cheryl Cooperrider, CA

India: Mumbai, Cochin & Kumarakom | 11 days | December 05 - 15, 2016


Explore India's Education System

What's Included

You are invited to become part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a custom-designed introduction to education journey to India in December 2016. India is one of the most dynamic and eclectic countries on the planet. Representing diversity in all its forms—people, religions, traditions, clothing, dialects, and habits—this remarkable country links East Asia and Europe, but belongs to neither. Interact with your educational professionals throughout India including visits to local schools to gain a perspective of education in a variety of settings. Explore India’s education infrastructure, especially as it relates to access to schooling.
Examine India's education systems and the provision of funding at the local, central and state levels. Learn about the role of educators  and expectations of teachers throughout the country while seeing  first-hand the impact of cultural traditions, beliefs, and social issues on education and training in India. An accompanying guest program is available on this itinerary. 

The US State Department provides a wealth of information for US travelers. You can browse visa and passport information,  Emergency information and much more. Rest assured though, Nanda Journeys will always remain abreast of all relevent traveler information for your chosen destination!

​​​​​Dates:   Dec 5 - Dec 15, 2016

Cost:      USD $5,799 per person

Days: ​    11​​

Detailed Itinerary


Day 01: Depart for India
Depart from Newark today and make your way to India.

India represents diversity in all its forms: peoples, religions, traditions, clothing, dialects, and habits. Even India’s landscape varies wildly, ranging from high peaks to rolling plains to coasts on three seas. This fascinating country, linking East Asia and Europe but belonging to neither, exudes a sense of mystery.

Day 02: Mumbai
Arrive in Mumbai (Bombay), this evening. You will be met by your national guide and transferred to your local hotel for check in. Relax this evening and settle into your lovely hotel.
Depending on your arrival time, dinner will be on your own this evening (usually provided in flight).

Overnight: Trident Nariman Point (or similar)

Day 03: Mumbai - Cultural Exploration

All travelers will gather this morning with your national guide and receive further information on the program and today’s activities. Explore the unique and defining characteristics of Mumbai today with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai’s principal landmark, and explore the Hanging Gardens on the slopes of Malabar Hills late this morning.

After lunch on your own, continue your explorations with a visit to the Prince of Wales Museum and Mani Bhavan, the memorial built for Mahatma Gandhi. Learn about the history of the city and the sites you are exploring with your guide.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with fellow travelers. You will also watch a Bollywood movie, followed by an informal discussion on India’s booming movie industry and its history.

Overnight:  Trident Nariman Point (or similar) 
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 04: Mumbai - Career Enrichment
Today the professional members of the group will meet with professional counterparts in Mumbai to learn about India’s education system. This may include meetings with local public and private schools, to engage with their staff, tour the facilities and have a chance to ask questions of interest to each traveler. The professional focus of this delegation will be finalized after enrollment has concluded and will be customized to fit the needs of the professionals enrolled on the journey. Every effort will be made to incorporate items of interest to all.

Lunch will be provided this afternoon at a local restaurant.

Guest program:

Also known as Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum resides in the simple two-story building that served as Mahatma Gandhi's Bombay headquarters from 1917 to 1934. This morning you will explore the library of approximately 50,000 books and periodicals, Gandhi's preserved rooms on the second floor, and a picture gallery documenting important events in his life. Spend the rest of the afternoon further exploring the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue and the National Gallery of Modern Art. Opened to the public in 1996, the gallery hosts various exhibitions and art collections of famous artists, sculptors and different civilizations.

Dinner is by individual arrangement (own expense) this evening.
Overnight: Trident Nariman Point (or similar) 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 05: Cochin 
Today the group will say farewell to Mumbai and fly to Cochin. Cochin, also known as Ernakulam, is the commercial capital of the State of Kerala. The district took its form on April 1, 1958, by carving out the areas of Travancore, Kochi and Malabar kingdoms. The word Ernakulam was derived from a Tamil word Erayanarkulam which means “Lord Shiva's abode.”
Lunch is on your own this afternoon.

This afternoon, the group will give back to the local community while visiting a rural school. Engage with the staff and students and help teach a class, assist with chores at the school, and spend time getting to know the daily challenges and successes of the local people.

This evening, enjoy a sunset cruise on the harbor. Dinner will be provided this evening.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

​​Day 06: Cochin - Cultural Exploration
Today you will take a tour of Kochi, beginning with St. Francis Church. Located at Fort Kochi, this Protestant church was originally built by the Portuguese in 1510 AD and is believed to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India. A trip through the Dutch Palace provides a view of 17th century frescoes, court attire and other artifacts. It is also known as Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Kochi in 1555 A.D. It acquired the present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out extensions and repairs in the palace. It is interesting to note that at no time did the Portuguese or Dutch actually stay here. Its interiors are decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins.

Later visit the Chinese fishing net area and witness the spectacular Kathakali dance drama, a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. Dancers wear extraordinary makeup, headdresses, and costumes meant to raise the participants above the level of mere mortals, allowing them to transport the audience to a world of wonders.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza  (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 07: Cochin - Career Enrichment
After breakfast, continue your professional exchange with staff at a local university or teacher training facility to discuss the modern education system and teacher training in the region.
This afternoon you will talk with local officials from the Kerala Education Department (or similar). Under various articles of the Indian Constitution, free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14. The importance and antiquity of education in Kerala is underscored by the state's ranking as among the most literate in the country. The local dynastic precursors of modern-day Kerala - primarily the Travancore Royal Family, the Christian missionaries, The Nair Service Society, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP Yogam) and Muslim Educational Society (MES) - made significant contributions to the progress of education in Kerala.

Guest program:

Today, guests will go for a half day visit to witness a unique community based initiative to preserve and conserve a one of its kind, saline-tolerant strain of rice, threatened by extinction. In a stunning backwater setting, this tour gives an opportunity to understand one of the oldest known crops cultivated through a symbiotic farming tradition. It's known for its tolerance to salinity and hence positioned as a climate change resistant food. Trip highlight involves interaction with farmers and community leaders who sustain the tradition against many constraints. This trip also gives an insight into sustainable prawn culture and visits to other organic farms. Visit concludes with a brief food tasting session. Your afternoon is free to explore the local markets.

Evening enjoy dinner with a local family.
Overnight:  Crowne Plaza (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 08: Kumarakom
This morning, participate in a yoga and meditation session (optional) at your hotel. Later embark on your four-hour journey to Kumarakom, a cluster of little islands on Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom captures the essence of Kerala in a unique and lovely setting. Conde Nast Traveler rated Kumarakom among the 25 best getaways in the world!

Lunch will be provided this afternoon.

After arrival and hotel check-in, the remainder of the day is free, perhaps to experience Ayurveda rejuvenation therapy. Ayurveda literally means the science of life (Ayur = Life, Veda = Science). It is an ancient medical science which was developed in India thousands of years ago. The ancient Vedic literature by sages has clearly laid out instructions to maintain health as well as fighting illness through therapies, massages, herbal medicines, diet control and exercise.
This evening, dinner is on your own at the hotel or a local restaurant.​
Overnight:  Coconut Lagoon (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 09: Kumarakom, Cultural Exploration

This morning is at leisure so you can enjoy the wonderful Coconut Lagoon Resort. Wander through the butterfly garden, do some bird watching, or, maybe attend an early morning yoga session - the amenities at the resort are plentiful and varied. 

This afternoon, relax on a delightful backwater cruise along a network of canals, lined with village homes and coconut trees, to get a different perspective on the lifestyles of the local people. Relax and enjoy the stunning waterway views. You will be overwhelmed by the spectacular colors and alternate  backwater lifestyle.

Enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers as you enjoy one last group dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Coconut Lagoon (or similar)

Day 10:  Time to say goodbye

Say farewell to Kumarakom and travel back to Cochin this morning via bus. Lunch is by individual arrangement this afternoon. Fly from Cochin to Mumbai where you will connect with your international flights back home. Arrival will be the following morning back in Newark.

Meals: Breakfast

Please note: All itineraries are subject to change based on availability of hotels, flights and hosting organizations at the time of finalization of booking. Comparable meetings and activities will be arranged should an itinerary change be necessary. 30 days before departure, a finalized itinerary will be available and reflect final details.

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"The people of India, it seemed to me, were very tolerant of differences, open to anything and engaged in their daily lives in a real and palpable manner. They seemed always to be in the now. The people I met were well educated, gracious, open and giving. It did not dawn on me until a couple of days into our trip that we communicating easily, in English, yet we were in a country where there are hundreds of languages spoken and there are four official languages, including English.

I learned that education is highly esteemed and sought after, that the people of India understand that it is the only route to the future and their well-being as nation. There may not be enough seats at the schools of higher learning to meet all of the demand, but the young people are willing to make every effort to prepare for attaining one of those seats.”” 

                                                                                                  Robert, NY  

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