Destination Himalaya
Sanjay Saxena Conde Nast Top Travel Specialist for India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka
India, Tibet, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Sunderbans Medical Boat Project
Medical Boat Project with Wohab & Sabitri

Imagine a land of islands and tides, a land where communities of people make a careful agreement with nature each day, working out the terms of their own survival. The Sunderban Islands lie off the shores of India and Bangladesh, where the Ganga River pours itself into the Bay of Bengal. This immense forested delta, the largest block of tidal mangrove islands in the world, is well-known for its population of endangered Bengal Tigers. Travelers to this exquisite region will discover a complex interplay of flora and fauna, fresh and sea water, closely integrated into the lives of the Bengalis who call the Sunderbans their home.

The Sunderbans make up one of the worlds most unique environments. At the same time, the lives of Sunderban villagers, the millions of farmers and fishermen who eke out a living on small islands amongst the waterways, is extremely difficult. Mohammed Abdul Wohab and Sabitri Pal, two dedicated individuals (both of whom were Honorees at the 2009 "Unsung Heroes of Compassion" presided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama) founded and operate the renown Southern Health Improvement Samity (SHIS). Recognizing the shortfall in medical care for the Sunderban villagers, they took steps to help. Now, four “medical boats,” waterborne clinics, carrying everything from x-ray units to pathology labs, make their way through the region providing much-needed care. The boats also dispense Ayurvedic herbal remedies cultivated by SHIS trained women.

On this Service Tour, clients will have to opportunity explore the city of Kolkata, as well as to witness firsthand the work of the SHIS Hospital and Ayurvedic facility in the "City of Joy." Days aboard the "medical boat" will be spent traveling through the Sunderbans, stopping in small villages to provide medical care. (MEDICAL TRAINING IS NOT NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE ON THIS TOUR.)

This is an ideal Service Tour for travelers who have expertise or interest in community medicine, or would like to learn more about Ayurvedic Medicine while helping take care of the village's medical needs. Again, medical training is welcome, but not necessary on this trip.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1, Fri: DEPART USA


Day 3, Sun: ARRIVE KOLKATA - Most international flights arrive in Kolkata very early in the morning. You will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel. Day to get over jet lag, explore the city, with an orientation meeting in the evening followed by a welcome dinner.

Day 4, Mon: IN KOLKATA WITH SHIS - After an early breakfast we start our work in the “City of Joy.”  Visit the SHIS Hospital and the Ayurvedic facility. Time permitting we will also pay a visit to Mother Theresa's Ashram.

Days 5, 6 & 7 (Tue - Thur): ON THE MEDICAL BOAT – Early Tuesday morning we head out into the interior to board one of the four medical boats plying the waters of the Sunderbans. Our days are spent traveling from one small village to another, taking care of their medical needs. All meals and overnight accommodations will be on the boat.

Day 8: DAY ON THE BOAT / RETURN TO KOLKATA – We are out in the Sunderbans all morning long, before returning to Kolkata by late afternoon. We will have a closing on the week’s activities followed by a farewell dinner with our SHIS colleagues.

Day 9, Sat: DAY IN KOLKATA / DEPART FOR USA - We have the morning to visit sights or shop in Kolkata.  Afterwards, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight back to the USA.

Day 10, Sun: ARRIVE USA

Note: If you have additional time, Destination Himalaya will be happy to make arrangements for you to visit other sites in India.

Click here, If you are unable to join us on this tour, but would like to donate to this project.

Other Voluntourism Trips:
  • Deepthy School for handicapped
    This 10 day service trip is goes to Kerala, and spends time working at the Deepthy Special School in Kottayam, a “home and school for intellectually disabled children.”  

  • Bishnoi Tribal Project – North India
    The Bishnoi Tribes living in the Thar desert of Rajasthan are known as great conservationists, to whom the protection of animal and vegetable life is a religion.
  • Schools of Kerala
    This two week trip extends the Deepthy School trip itinerary and includes visiting and working in three other primary Schools in the Marari and Kumarakom regions of Kerala.

  • Munsel-Ling School: Spiti
    The isolation that preserved the Spiti culture and traditions, also left the children far behind, without an opportunity for education. We will assist in the school founded by Lama Tashi Namgyal, called Munsel-Ling or “Place Illuminating the Darkness.”

Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.

" It makes me so happy when somebody calls out to me, 'Ma! You have reached us when nobody was giving any thought to us. You cared for us like your own child.' "
- Sabitri Pal

Destination Himalaya giving back service tour
Sabitri Pal (President SHIS)

Destination Himalaya giving back service tour
M.A. Wohab (Founder SHIS)

Sunderban National Park (World Heritage Site)
Bazaars of Kolkata
Mother Teresa Ashram
Remote Island Villages
Volunteering work

It's Included:
Medical & evacuation insurance
Accommodation in best available Hotels
All ground transportation, local guides and entrance fees
All meals after arrival in India

2014/2015 Departures:
First Friday of the month October – March

This tour dove-tails with our Service Trips to Kerala
Land Cost:
2-9 participants: $3800
10+ participants: $3400

Harvesting plants for Ayurvedic treatmentsHarvesting plants for Ayurvedic treatments

Destination Himalaya giving back service tour
Medical boat

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