Mother Theresa & the Diversity of Kolkata, India
Volunteer in India & Study Humanities
The Worldwide Navigators Difference
Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?1 of 1
Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.1 of 1
Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.1 of 1
A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?1 of 1
Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!1 of 1
Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.1 of 1
You will be greeted at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU)
in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) and taken to your guesthouse to get settled in. The centrally-located guesthouse is your new “home away from home” where young people from around the world gather for accommodation, breakfast, dinner and comradery.
Kolkata was the capital city of India during the British ruling empire. On your tour, stroll down the streets of old Calcutta to The Raj Bhaven, the home of the Indian governor, and Calcutta High Court, which is the oldest court in India. You will get up close to the world-famous River Ganga and the Howrah suspension bridge which connects Howrah to Kolkata. This river played a significant role in the history of Asian exploration.
“We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.” Mother Teresa
At 9 a.m., you will visit the museum of Mother Teresa, her main bedroom quarters as well as pay respects and write prayer petitions at her tomb. You will get to meet Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity who will share with you about your work throughout the week. Mother Teresa’s path is well-preserved at the Mother House and you will see the sandals she wore, the dishes she used, the desk where she wrote, the rosary she prayed with, and more.
Today at 3 p.m. you will have your orientation and registration at the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan Home for the Children. Living within the solidarity of respect for her memory, you will be guided in the service to others.
“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.” — Blessed Mother Teresa
In the late afternoon, you will enjoy a visit to Dalhousie Square’s streets, then to St Paul’s Cathedral and the breathtaking Victoria Memorial. The gothic architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral is known as Indo-Gothic and was constructed to withstand the weather in Kolkata. The cathedral houses impressive statues, stained-glass windows and artwork, and is the largest cathedral in Kolkata. It’s also notable for its central spire, impressive library, Florentine Renaissance frescoes and organ.
Then, walk across the West Bengal city to Victoria Memorial. This magnificent palace was built for Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and although the long 3-month journey precluded her from ever visiting, the site is now a beautiful historical memorial in her honor. It is made from Rajasthan marble and displays numerous artifacts from the time of British rule and historical Indian treasures.
“The greatest good is what we do for one another” — Mother Teresa
In the late afternoon, learn the trade of a gemologist and delve into the history of gems in India. Kolkata is home to hundreds of gemstone wholesalers, largely because India’s natural precious stones and semi-precious stones deposits are among the largest in the world. Meet with a certified gemologist and take a peek at these precious stones through a professional monocular, handheld loupe to inspect the clarity, color and grade of the jewels as explained by local professionals. Historically, travelers came to India for diamonds, emeralds, rubies, the star sapphire and much more. Learn how the British exported massive quantities of natural resources from India.
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. Mother Teresa
In the late afternoon stroll College Street to visit one of the world’s largest collections of books. Here, hundreds of bookstores line the street where one can find various collections to fit every style of reader. Immerse yourself in stories for centuries as literary collections erupt from every page of these hidden treasures while sipping on your favorite masala chai tea. Kolkata is the tea capital of India and the home of the finest of street tea brews. Here the tea leaves are mixed with ginger, sugar and milk for a sweet and spicy drink, and you can taste this special treat from the street in sikora or bhaar which are traditional little clay cups found on every street. Afterward, head to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity.
“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet” — Mother Teresa
In the late afternoon, embody a fashion model by trying on the traditional yards of fabric that make up the Indian saree. These colorful and exquisite garments are draped around the body and over the shoulder as an iconic costume that millions still wear today. Kolkata is home of some of the most famous places to find the perfect style of saree. Venture to the Triangular Park Junction and visit the Adi Dhakeshwari Bastralaya to enjoy the largest retailer of sarees, boasting three stories of saree fashion from formal to everyday. Then continue your evening of fashion with a local Mehndi designer. This traditional art form for Indian women is like a nail salon where designers create beautiful, elegant artwork in their parlors for a temporary makeover of your fingers or hand. Then, head to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity.
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” — Mother Teresa
Today you will have the chance to take in some of the traditional rituals of the Hindu culture with gestures and food. Start off your day by getting a traditional sacred bindi placed on your forehead as a symbol of long life. The bindi is placed in the center of your forehead and comes in colors of red or orange. It is made of vermilion powder and applied by the ring finger. You will also be treated to a local greeting of a floral wreath necklace to show that you are always welcome in India.
Then start your day with a culinary adventure by learning about the local spices and foods famous to the Bengali area. Walk through the local market where you can see the myriad of Indian spices piled high in baskets from street vendors. The fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful in this largely vegetarian community where the aroma of fresh flowers, jasmine and local foods and spices follows you on your walk. Learn the distinct differences between the northern and southern Indian foods where colors and spices change even the common curry.
In the evening you will share your final Hindu goodbye ‘Namaste’ with your local friends. Safe travels.
At last, the time has come to pack your bags and return back home. After a week of cultural experiences and learning, the memories you’ve made will stay with you for years to come. Share your stories and carry on the positive customs you’ve learned during your stay.
Full of color, energy and tradition, India is a place that will stimulate all of your senses. Join us for a week and uncover the diversities of India while studying fashion and connecting with local traditions along the way.
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