Bordering the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea, the South Asian country of India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 3,000 BC. India is currently one of the largest and most populous countries in the world, and is the point of origin for four of the world’s major religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Additionally, India comprises the world’s largest democracy and gained its independence in the 1940s under the peaceful leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1982, India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi came aboard the SAS floating campus to address students and faculty as an Interport Lecturer. SAS participants often identify India as the “turning point” of the world voyage. It is a country that takes them out of their comfort zone, challenges their senses, and awakens a sense of beauty and appreciation for humanity that is unparalleled. As part of the SAS field program, participants visit the bustling city of Delhi, witness the splendor of the Taj Mahal at dusk, and float down the River Ganges, experiencing a centuries-old religious practice. Pilgrims line the banks of the river at dawn each day to immerse themselves in the holy waters and pray to release their souls from the cycle of rebirth. It is an unforgettable experience, especially when paired with the opportunity to visit the ruins of temples, travel the streets of Varanasi in a rickshaw, and spend a night in Delhi.

Source: CIA Factbook

Fast Facts

  • Language: Hindi, English
  • Population: 1,220,800,359
  • Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional republic
  • Currency: Indian Rupee (INR) (INR)
  • Capital: New Delhi

Things To Do in India

  • Spend two nights with a local family in the Allepey backwaters as part of a cultural homestay
  • Visit the Ganges River at dawn
  • Learn about Ayurvedic alternative medical treatment practices
  • Partner with a social worker for a day tending to the needs of local children at the Saandhwanam Charitable Society orphanage
  • Discover the splendor of the Taj Mahal
  • Ride in a rickshaw