Homestay – great way to experience India

Homestays are quietly but surely becoming an important part of the Indian hospitality industry, especially, but not only ,in the budget segment. They have crossed 5% of all accommodation properties in India.

The concept of home stay is considered to be the best alternative to hotel accommodation in the travel industry. Indian hospitality is especially famous — captured by the slogan, Atithi Devo Bhava, which means The Guest is God. To fully experience this philosophy in action, and to really get to know the culture when you travel in India, you must stay with an Indian family. Home stays provide a direct connect to the land, people, culture and cuisine of any place in its original elements . These Homes have their own history and stories to tell, run by the families who have inherited the culture and hospitality of that area. Eating at your homestay offers the opportunity to try some delicious home cooked food and many of the hosts’ are well known for their cooking. Don’t forget to ask for the recipes of your favourite dishes, a souvenir you can share with your friends back home as you recreate the taste of India in your own kitchen.

It is important to remember you are a guest in somebody’s home and as such they may have house rules, which you would be expected to comply with. These generally would not be too onerous, but relate to things such as, returning back to the property by certain time, keeping the noise down after a certain hour, not moving around at night in the plantations etc. You are not required to do any cleaning or chores, although some guests enjoy volunteering in the plantations and working farms for a few hours so they can learn about daily life, such as how tea, coffee and spices are produced. To get the best out of your homestay experience make sure you take full advantage of your hosts’ local knowledge and experiences. They will be able to advise you on things to do and see in the local area and help you arrange any activities, ensuring you are charged a fair price.

While India has some magnificent homestays, there are a few that stand out in terms of facilities, location, and hosts. Mountains, forts, Villages, backwaters of Kerala. Tea/Coffee plantations on Westren Ghats , the hills of North East, are just some of the mesmerizing settings where you’ll find homestays in India. But what’s really special are their unique features and natural surroundings missing in the regular hotel properties

The standard and quality of homestays in India can vary dramatically. Anybody can set themselves up as a homestay host although some states have come up with regulations relating to safety and standards. It is important that first you decide on the type of homestay i.e luxury or budget, located in a plantation or city, urban or rural etc . Then do some research via review sites such as Trip Advisor for recent guest feedback or book through a reputable agent who can offer some form of guarantee as to what you will be getting.

Last month we booked a Homestay for the first time in our bi annual vacation to the Western Ghats. This was located in the interiors of Shimoga District, Karnataka. Simha Farms is situated at the foothills of Kodachadri hill in Western Ghats. It is Surrounded by rich monsoon forests and the plantation with a river backdrop .Our Villa stood in the midst of a cardamom, coffee and areca plantation. This was right in the middle of monsoon and the entire landsacpe was a riot of green. The owner and his son are both farmer by profession, but artist by heart. The owner creates cement sculptures, more than 20 of them are scattered around the plantation. His son Aditya is a nature photographer and has developed some new and innovative photographic techniques. The food although very simple and vegetarian was excellent. It is a picture perfect place where you can click and take back home a lot of beautiful and unique photos. An experience which cannot the replicated in a Hotel.

A homestay offers access to unique activities and events, whether it be adventurous, cultural, historical, relaxation or culinary. Your hosts open up their home and daily life to you and you get a glimpse into the real India that you might otherwise miss staying in a hotel…….

Looking for a unique homestay in India ….. Road2Travel can help

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