Located in South Asia, India is a vast country with the world’s second largest population and a rich history of cultural traditions, multiple languages and dialects and mixed terrain. While it was annexed and brought under the administration of the British East India Company in the early 18th century, and subsequently administered by the United Kingdom following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, India finally became an independent, democratic nation in 1947 following a non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
The most significant feature of India is its diversity. One of 17 megadiverse countries, it contains three biodiversity spots and habitats that range from tropical rainforest to coniferous forest to low-lying waterlands. And while Hinduism is the country’s largest religion, other religions present include Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Muslim and Zoroastrianism.
Why volunteer in India:
While it is one of the fastest-growing major economies and largely considered to be an industrialised country, vast disparity still exists in there today, with widespread poverty, corruption, malnutrition and inadequate public healthcare at play. There is a vast number of projects available in India, with many organisations based locally. These are as far ranging as international development, women’s empowerment, healthcare and medicine (nursing, midwifery and dentistry included), sports coaching, teaching (English and IT are popular), building and community care.
The Australian government advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in because of the high threat of terrorist activity.
Travellers must obtain a visa before travelling via the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Driving can be unpredictable and there are a high number of accidents.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence.
You are required by law to carry your passport at all times.
Strict dress codes apply, particularly in the north and at religious sites.
Tap water is not safe to drink.
There is a high incidence of food-borne, water-borne and other infectious diseases in India (including meningitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, diphtheria and rabies).
If you arrive in India from Pakistan, Israel, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Somalia, you must present an international certificate of vaccination or prophylactic against polio.If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic, you will be required to present a valid yellow fever certificate to be allowed entry into India.
Visit the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for more details.
Image: Muchilottu Bhagavathy Theyyam by Bobinson K B 2007
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