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Travel with a purpose

india Updated: Aug 28, 2010 01:05 IST
Nidhi Dugar
Nidhi Dugar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

T ravelling is a lesson in life. But what if you also got to learn a new skill while on the road? Pick from our list of trips with a purpose. Whether it is milking cows or learning to cook South Indian food, we guarantee you this won’t be ‘just another vacation’.

Cook up a storm
Komal Taneja’s company, Indian Horizons, organises food trips around the country. “The journey begins in the spice farms of Kerala, where you’ll find the secret behind most of the gastronomic triumphs of India,” says Taneja. The group then winds its way up to the biryani capital, Hyderabad, passing Kochi, Pondicherry and tiny villages known for their exotic food. “Localities revealing their secret recipes is the highlight of our trips,” she adds. They also organise culinary trips to other regions in India.

Contribute to change
Grassroutes, an NGO, funds road trips for teams of young people to discover and work with change-makers in rural India. “It was more than just a fun break from the routine,” says Rishabh Kaul, a student of BITS Pilani, who joined them on a trip to the Nilgiris. “We had to document the entire experience with the help of environmentalists based in the hills,” he adds.

Farmville, for real
There’s plenty of rustic recreation to be had at Acres Wild, Mansoor Khan’s family farm in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. The 22-acre working farm offers bed and breakfast facilities. You could also enroll in their on site gourmet cheese making course. “This one was a real retreat. We picked up eggs of duck and geese and helped label their home-grown cheese,” says Seetha Reddy, who took her family for a weekend at the farm.

Cement some bonds
Habitat for Humanity offers volunteers the opportunity to construct or renovate homes for the needy. “Our new project at Karjat involves building around 1,200 houses for tribals in that area,” says John Thattil, national director of resources, Habitat India.

“You could be tearing down old, dysfunctional homes or brick masonry, depending on the level of work happening in the season,” he adds. You can also meet people from around the world.