A Glacial Pilgrimage in the Doon Valley or Camels in Rajasthan
Our early summer team will head north to the vast Doon Valley, the gateway to Uttarakhand, also known as Bhoomdevi, land of the gods in Hindu mythology. Nestled between India’s mightiest rivers – the Ganges and Yumana – this valley is not only the base camp for treks into the Himalayas, but it is also host to some of the best educational institutions in the north. An extremely fertile part of India that receives a large portion of the monsoon rains, Uttarakhand is a predominantly rural and agricultural state, where women continue to do the majority of the agricultural labour without having title to the land they work on. We will be working with an organization tackling the barriers rural farm women face, before following the path of one of many ancient Hindu pilgrimages in the area.
Our late summer team will head southwest to the desert plains of Rajasthan. While Rajasthan is one of the most beautifully unique states in India and boasts some of the highest rates of tourism, it remains one of the states with the highest levels of illiteracy, student drop-out rates, and gender inequality in all of India. We will be working with an organization that seeks to increase gender equity through education and social services for women and children. Rajasthan is one of the centres of India’s ancient civilization, making it a fascinating place to understand the ways that traditional beliefs and lifestyles intersect with the contemporary push for progress and equality. We’ll explore Hinduism but also learn about Islam in a place where the two have had a long shared history.
Of course, we’ll finish our time in the desert by riding camels into the sunset. After all, sipping chai on sand dunes will be a much-deserved respite from our intense explorations of Rajasthan!