Want to help care for these big beauties?
What better place to be situated than near the city of Jaipur caring for these magnificent animals. Working in the village of Amber close to the royal Amber Fort you will be looking after the elephants in the morning before they start their hard work at the Fort. These elephants work hard carrying tourists around the Fort and so you will be making sure that they are ready to start the day!
- Spending time with and learning about these incredible animals
- Exploring the stunning city of Jaipur
- Taking a weekend trip to Jaiselmer - Rajasthan's historic desert fort (price not included)
What our projects say
- By receiving volunteers from i to i they have helped us to add structure the project
- Elephants receive greater individual attention and the mahouts have a different understanding of working with animals
- As they are so responsible and and show their dedication to the project this makes the staff realise their roles better
- Children have also learnt English which has given tremendous confidence to the children
What's not included
Day 1 (Sunday): Unpack your trunk! Arrival into Jaipur (airport code JAI)
Today you will be met at the airport and taken to your accommodation. It only takes around 30 minutes to travel from the airport to your arrival point but your first journey in India will be one to remember!
The orientation will take place at your In Country Coordinator’s residence and will take you through what it’s going to be like at your project, do’s and don’ts, how to stay safe and it’s your prime opportunity to ask any burning questions that you haven’t yet had answered. After the orientation you’ll have some time to relax and prepare before your first day at the project tomorrow.
If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Jaipur on the designated arrival day then we’d recommend you fly in a day early.
We can arrange an early airport pick-up for you including one night’s accommodation for an additional fee. Please call us for more information.
Day 2 (Monday): Welcome to the Elephant Village
Today you will be shown the way to your new project in Amber, a small town about thirty minutes drive away from your accommodation. You’ll meet the staff and the stars of the show – the elephants. Prepare to get stuck in and get messy as you get to grips with the day to day care of the elephants.
The elephants have a day job here! They travel each day to the nearby Royal Amber Fort and provide tourists with elephant rides and are the stars of photographs and videos for the morning. The elephants work hard and look forward to their return to the nearby village of Amber where they are cared for by their owners and you! The elephants are viewed as a means of income and the additional care and attention you can give is very important to both them and their owners.
Days 6 and 7 (Saturday to Sunday): Free time
The weekends are yours to do as you please! So you can either try to cram in as much sight seeing and souvenir shopping as you can or you can relax and find a slower pace of India off the beaten track. India has something for everyone.
Jaipur is very well placed for some fascinating weekends out of town. Although it is possible to visit some places for just a day by taking night trains or buses in both directions, much of the enjoyment is in finding a place to stay and of course the chance to see and photograph the beautiful architecture in the lovely light of early mornings and late afternoon.
It is worth staying the night in Agra to view the Taj Mahal at either sunrise or sunset rather than during the flat light of the middle of the day. There are many budget guesthouses in Agra. The journey is approximately 5 hours from Jaipur by either train or bus.
Along with a visit to the famous Taj Mahal, don’t forget to visit Agra Fort and, if time and energy permits, Fatehpur Sikri, an abandoned city, a bus journey away.
The town of Jaisalmer is reached by overnight train from Jaipur. The fort appears in the desert as if in a fairytale. Jaisalmer enjoys a rooftop café scene. Camel safaris can be booked from a minimum of one day through various agents in the town and in the fort. Jeep journeys can also be made to the sand dunes. Prices will vary depending on the tour operators that you choose, be sure to shop around and barter for the best price!
Hotels and guesthouses are available in the town, affording fabulous views onto the fort or within the fort walls taking you back to medieval times.
Enjoy getting back to basics in India. You’ll be invigorated by the reality of life in India and spending your days looking after these great big beasts will ensure a good night’s sleep every night! After their return from their work you will be helping them to relax by massaging them and giving them the care and attention they need. Your hours of work will be from around 4.30am to 8.30am and 3:30pm to 7:30pm, Monday to Friday. The elephants return to the village around 1:00pm and before this you will need to ensure that their homes are clean and ready for them!
Please be aware that elephants aren’t the tame animals that some people perceive them to be, therefore it is necessary for them to be shackled in some way to ensure everyone’s safety. This is done in the most humane way possible so please bear this in mind.
If you’ve always thought about getting up close to elephants and being in a team of people who are dedicated to looking after them, then you’ll fit right in here.
Your Last Day (Sunday)
Today is your final day in Jaipur but you won’t be expected to attend your project unless you have time to. Your last day is all about packing up, buying any last minute souvenirs and making your way back to the airport or to wherever you’re going for your next adventure.
If you’re heading to the airport, our in country team can help you to arrange transport depending on how many people are travelling together. The airport is approximately 30 minutes away by auto tuk-tuk and costs around US$15.
What does the project do?
The aim of this project is to help the mahouts (those who look after and drive the elephants) care and look after their majestic animals. The project is based in the village of Amber also known as the 'Elephant Village' where the elephants work daily at the nearby royal Amber Fort. The Fort attracts tourists with its ornate and intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings along with its grand appearance and warm ambience. The main attraction of the Fort however is the royal elephant ride. The elephants work hard and look forward to their return to the nearby village of Amber where they are cared for by their owners and you! The elephants are viewed as a means of income and the additional care and attention you can give is very important to both them and their owners.
What’s the project like?
The mahouts and locals that you’ll be working alongside have a deep bond and connection with the elephants at the project. They are extremely dedicated to what they do and although it provides a small income for them, they cherish what they earn. Take the time to get to know the background of this project to get settled in. it’s a lot of physical work and you get messy but we’ll bet the smile on your face at the end of the day has never been bigger.
Why does the project need volunteers?
The elephants are a good source of income for the mahouts and therefore, they need a great deal of care and attention to keep them motivated and healthy. You are needed to lend a hand in whatever needs doing to clean up after the elephants.
The mahout and elephants leave their homes at around 07.00am for their work at the Fort and return at 1.00pm where the elephant looks forward to his rest after a long morning.
Your main task will be to help the owner of the elephant by cleaning up after the animals, preparing their food and feeding them. After their return from their work you will be helping them to relax by massaging them and giving them the care and attention they need. You’ll be working alongside the local mahouts and helping them with their English skills which will help them at the royal Amber Fort. Try and learn a few words in Hindi before you travel to really impress the mahouts!
Activities and schedule
There are two shift patterns per week, which include four morning shifts and one evening shift per week:
- Morning shift - bathing, cleaning and preparing the elephant to go the Fort. Cleaning the area and working with any baby elephants
- Evening shift - preparing chapattis for the elephant feed, feeding them and giving them water.
As you will no doubt be getting quite dirty remember to bring clothes with you that you will not mind getting dirty or leaving behind; freeing up extra space in your backpack for those souvenirs! You should dress modestly in t-shirts and the minimum of three-quarter-length trousers.
Project resources and advice
As you’ll no doubt be standing in or near elephant mess, you may want to bring boots and gloves for cleaning, a face mask for the smell, a mosquito net for your room and don’t forget any playing cards and books!
What type of accommodation will I be in?
You will be living in a local homestay run by a local Indian family and may share your room with other volunteers, giving you the perfect chance to absorb the local culture and make friends with other volunteers.
During your stay in Jaipur, you will have some form of interaction with local families by living in a homestay alongside one or possibly more generations of a family! All of our home stays are on a shared basis with at least two people to a room with a lockable cupboard. All meals are included and they’ll be typical Indian cuisine to give you a real insight into another culture and life as a local in Jaipur. Vegetarians are welcome and easily catered for.
The homestays are basic but clean and functional and will give you a real insight in to life in India as a local. Not everyone who visits India can say that! We’ll always do our best to place you with someone else so that you’re not alone but we can’t always guarantee this will be the case.
The accommodation has electricity, a Western style toilet and running water but hot water is in short supply. We recommend that you boil water for a hot wash and a bucket bath – you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to be getting back to basics. You’ll also have access to a small kitchenette, living area and garden to socialise with the other volunteers and family members.
During your stay in Jaipur with us, bedding is provided for you but we recommend that you bring a basic mosquito net just in case
Things to bring from home
We would recommend that you bring plenty of books or activities to keep yourself entertained in the evenings for those evenings where the elephants have tired you out too much to go out!
Where is the accommodation?
The accommodation is in Kisan Marg on the outskirts of Jaipur. There are several shops and an internet café nearby. There are several banks and hospitals within a 10 minute taxi ride away. The area is easy to navigate and you have the bonus of having local experts living with you who can point you in the right direction if you need them.
How far is it from my project?
Your project is on average around forty five minutes away (11 kilometres each way) from your accommodation. The transport to and from the project is arranged for you and the cost is included within your trip fee.
What you get
What exactly do i to i Volunteering provide?
It may seem like a strange concept to pay for your volunteer experience. You'd be right if you think you shouldn't and the truth is you actually don't! Your placement is free; it's the benefits around it that you pay for. It's important to note that i to i Volunteering is a travel company and not a charity. We provide a professional travel service. We are responsible for finding and assessing worthwhile projects across the world, preparing you for the volunteering experience and supporting you whilst you're there.
Project sourcing and assessment
We work with hundreds of locally run partner projects around the world and are constantly sourcing new opportunities. We visit all projects to check that they are worthwhile and legitimate and we also conduct a thorough safety assessment before we'll send volunteers there.
Almost everyone who works for i to i Volunteering has traveled extensively or worked overseas. This means we're a goldmine of information; we're always available to offer support and guidance before, during and after your trip.
Thorough project briefing materials
Once you book on to a project you'll receive an online account that contains loads of general information about volunteering, about your chosen country and how to have fun and stay safe. We'll also give you advice on visas and inoculations.
It can be pretty daunting arriving in a different country for the first time - especially after a long flight! If you arrive on your project start date, there'll be a welcoming face at the airport to pick you up and take you to your accommodation.
Soon after you arrive you will attend a thorough orientation with our in-country team. This is to cover important safety and security information. You'll also get some tips about sight-seeing options for your time off and maybe even learn some of the local lingo!
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation is included with all projects and meals are even included with some. We only use locally-owned and operated accommodation so that part of your placement fee is filtering back into the local economy. Most projects offer homestay, guesthouse or shared volunteer houses as standard accommodation, but some offer the chance to upgrade to a more comfortable living standard.
Local in-country coordinators
Your in-country team will arrange a pick-up for you at the airport and will conduct your orientation upon arrival. All coordination teams are English speaking and are locals of your destination country. They won't be at your project every day, but will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you need them.
24/7 emergency support
Aside from the local support from your in-country team you'll be given access to a 24/7 emergency phone line manned by our response team in case any problem should arise while you're overseas. We also hire crisis management professionals to be on hand in case of a situation that requires additional expert support.
The safety and security of our volunteers is paramount. For this reason we provide ongoing crisis management and emergency response training to our local teams around the world. We also fly in our in-country coordinators to the UK regularly for thorough training to help them offer the best safety to the thousands of volunteers they support each year.
Supporting our projects
We don't fund our projects directly from the project fee that you pay us. Instead we choose to support a number of projects through our Helping Hands Foundation to provide resources to those projects that really need it.
Recruiting people like you
We make no secrets of the fact that part of your placement fee is reinvested in to recruiting volunteers just like you! The volunteers recruited in one week will typically deliver over 2000 man-days of service. The difference this makes to projects overseas is immeasurable. Many of our overseas projects rely on assistance from international volunteers, so it's necessary for us to put together brochures and websites to find the people who can support them. This recruitment process is vital to ensure programs have a constant stream of reliable volunteers.
Please note: You may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us.
What we will do after you've booked:
- Once booked on you will instantly receive a welcome email confirming your booking with access to your online account
- Community Development and Teaching customers will be requested to complete a police check (where relevant)
- We will contact you if we require anything else e.g. CV/resume for some projects, doctors note for medical conditions etc.
- We will prepare for your trip and you will receive all information required to prepare yourself in your online account
- We will ask you to complete personal information and pay your final balance if they are still due when required
- We are available for any questions you may have on email@example.com
What you need to do after booking your place with us:
- Book your flights
- Arrange suitable travel insurance
- Fill out your personal details through your online account
- Complete your police check if requested
- Make final payment at least 90 days before you go
- Make sure you have a visa for your trip if it's needed
- Visit a nurse or travel clinic for advice on inoculations and malaria prevention
- Read all details and prepare as much as you can for your trip
- Take contact details of the in country team and where you're going in your hand luggage - just in case!
- Get on the plane!
Flights & insurance
It's important that you get adequate travel insurance for your i to i Volunteering experience and as many of you will be working this often means standard policies won’t work. The good news is that no matter where you're coming from we have already found a policy to suit you.
The best time to get your insurance is when you book your project as this means you can get a fully tailored policy exclusive to i to i Volunteering, just ask your consultant for further details at the time of booking.
For prices, policies and key facts click here
As with insurance we advise you get these booked as early as possible to avoid high prices and to make sure you arrive on the right day. The i to i Volunteering team is right up to date with the best deals no matter where you’re flying from; their insider knowledge could save you some time and money.