P.C: Markus Spiske
With its increasing popularity in recent years, learning holidays is a brilliant way of switching up your vacation experience by making sure you don't just come back with a souvenir or two from your holiday destination, but also pick up on a new skill and experience to cherish for the rest of your life. Big benefits are to be gleaned by bringing together travel and the acquisition of a new skill. Utilise that precious 'me time' by seeking new experiences that will not just educate but also benefit you in the long run. It is a great way to meet like-minded people having shared interests, hobbies and passions. Here is a selection of some of the best places you pick from for a learning holiday, where you can not just learn a new skill but also get to explore the beautiful countryside.
1. Organic Farming
P.C: Anaya Katlego
Go on a organic farming holiday in India and feel one with nature. Come aboard with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and be surprised with the plenty of choices and options to go from if you are willing to venture out on an organic farming holiday in India. The WWOOF is a non-profit organisation and generally facilitates volunteer work for tourists interested in organic farming. With the noble initiative of bringing people together to help each other to make a healthier world, the WWOOF have organised organic farming in rural areas of Bageshwar in Uttarakhand, Auroville in Tamil Nadu, Kutch in Gujarat, Koraput in Orissa and a lot more. The organisation barters volunteer work with tourists and organic farms in exchange for accommodation, scrumptious food and an opportunity to learn organic farming techniques.
2. Cheese Making
P.C: Katrin Leinfellner
Delve into the fine arts of culinary crafts and engage in a gastronomic drift this holiday! Learn the art of cheese making with the growing community of artisanal cheesemakers at Acres Wild in Coonoor or Cinnabar Farms in Kodaikanal. These farms are all self-sustaining farms which organically grow all its ingredients to craft a selection of delectable natural-rind cheeses, moulded over the perfect period of aging, giving them perfectly glorious textures and shapes. Fancy some cheese making and tasting session this holiday and indulge in this addictive hobby? Head to these farms now.
3. Nature Sketching
P.C: Jelleke Vanooteghem
Whether your desire to paint and draw springs from a long-lost childhood talent or a humiliating game of Pictionary at Christmas, art is a lovely, relaxing and fun way to learn and also gives your travels an amazing perspective to look at. Amidst the vibrancy, freshness and picturesque landscapes of Kalimpong, with a mentor to guide your hand, sounds like a great way to indulge in some paint brush nature sketching session, rather than sitting at the kitchen table with a pack of coloured pencils, waiting for inspiration. Develop your art skills under the guidance of Hemlata Pradhan on this nature sketching holiday, surrounded by light, colour and beautiful scenery. Similar workshops arranged by Mahesh Jangam in Bandhavgarh, Meenakshi Subramanium in Periyar and Murlidhar Parashar in Ranthambore, are places where you can head to for a lovely relaxing art holiday.
Explore your love and passion for Indian cuisines by indulging in a cookery holiday. It is a great way to get a glimpse of the local living and their habits. Meet and mingle with the people around, listen to some of the fascinating stories they have to tell and learn how to cook their cuisines. The idea of a cookery holiday is an exceptional way of immersing yourself in a new culture. Goa's Siolim Cooking School and Rita's Gourmet Goa lets you get the lowdown on the dishes that you have had tried during the trip. Otherwise, if you are up for a fully fledged culinary holiday, then Haritha Farms in Kadalikad in Kerala, Cooking Masala in Rishikesh, Jaipur Cooking Classes and Aakriti Eco Homestay in Coonoor are some great options to choose from.
5. Wildlife Volunteering
P.C: Diana Parkhouse
If you are an adventure lover and want something very interesting to experience this holiday, then opt for wildlife volunteering at any of the jotted down wildlife rescue or conservation organisations. Wildlife volunteering is not just adventurous but also educational as you will get to know various information about several wild animals, their habitat, the ecology and about the conservation of not just of a single species but of an ecosystem. Organisations, known and esteemed for some serious wildlife volunteering work are the Primate Trust in Goa which provides long term care to orphaned and injure monkeys, Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS)- a Bangalore based NGO, that practices science-based conservation, with special emphasis on ecology and conservation of the tiger and other large mammals, the Madras Crocodile Bank which offers volunteering programs in the field of reptile conservation. Therefore, these are some of the wildlife volunteering programs you can decide to go for on your next vacation.