India for Beginners: Discover the Quiet Beauty of Ladakh and Kerala
For many families, the prospect of traveling to India with children can be intimidating—but it doesn’t have to be. What makes India seem so overwhelming is also what makes it an ideal family destination—a sensory playground with a cacophony of sounds, explosion of colors and intoxicating blend of smells. It’s as exotic a destination as they come, and yet English is spoken. For families yearning to break out of a vacation rut and embark on a really big adventure, India can be one of the most rewarding and transformative experiences you could hope for.
What you may not know is that India has some amazingly accessible and peaceful regions that give families an opportunity to experience the amazing Indian culture at a slower, quieter pace. For first-time visitors to India, we highly recommend two of our favorite and most relaxing places in India: Ladakh in the north and Kerala in the southern region.
Discover Magical Ladakh
One of the world’s most spiritual destinations, Ladakh is a place that holds a very special place in our hearts. Set high in the Himalayas, on the western edge of the Tibetan plateau, beautiful Ladakh is known for its snow-peak glaciers and crystalline lakes as well as Buddhist monasteries and stupas. The region was once an independent Buddhist kingdom at the crossroads of the Silk Road. Today it’s still often called "Little Tibet," and remains one of the last places in the world where the Buddhist way of life is lived unrepressed.
Global Family Travels returns to Ladakh every summer to help with a service project at our partner, the Siddhartha School Project (SSP), a private school located in a quaint village of Stok. No child is ever denied admission to the Siddhartha School because of financial need.
We stay a few days with local Ladahi families and fall into the rhythm of daily life by helping with daily chores, tending animals, working the fields and playing with the local children. Other highlights of this tour include a rickshaw tour of Old Delhi, visit to the spice markets, and a drive over the world’s highest motorable pass.
Join us in Ladakh this summer (July 7-18, 2019) on our signature 11-day Ladakh: Learn, Serve & Immerse trip, which offers the perfect combination of spirituality and service.
Photo credit: Rick Meinig
Cruise the Canals of Kerala in South India
Set along a 375-mile coastline in the southern region of India, Kerala is known as “God’s Own Country.” It’s famous for its palm-lined beaches and picturesque backwaters, including a network of canals that have served for centuries to link the spice plantations to the ocean.
We’ll take a relaxing cruise meandering Kerala’s backwaters on a traditional houseboat called a kettuvallum. These boats have wooden hulls and are held together with coir (woven coconut fibers) instead of nails. As we explore some of the 560 miles of canals, we’ll see scenes from ordinary Indian life, such as women doing chores, children paddling to school in a canoe and fishermen casting their nets.
We’ll also get to know Kochi on bicylces, a colonial city influenced by Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese during the height of the spice trading years. We will witness the peaceful co-existence of cultures as we pass Jewish synagogues, Portuguese homes, Chinese fishing nets, old Christian churches and Muslim temples. Other highlights on this tour include spying elephants in wildlife sanctuaries and learn how to cook some traditional South Indian dishes with fragrant spices!
Let Global Family Travels create an amazing cultural family adventure which will show you this laid-back side of India. Read about our own family trip to South India to inspire you!
Whether you choose to tap into the spiritual splendor of Ladakh or the quiet beauty of Kerala and Kochi, you will learn about Paravati, the Hindu goddess of the mountains and a messenger of positive change.
More Fun Facts about India, from A-Z here!
If you are in the Seattle-area, join us on March 10 for an informative session about Ladakh: