An incredible change is on its way in the remote villages of India. These far-flung spots on the map that seemed to have lost in the race of development of the country are now coming to the forefront of the tourism industry. Through several homestay programs run in the villages of India, even locals have opened up their homes to the travellers. It not only encourages community participation but also allows the villages to develop tourism in a sustainable way.
Here's a list of villages in eight different states of India that have pioneered the homestay revolution.
1. Sarmoli, A Himalayan Village of Homestays
Generating employment alongside sustainable development is the biggest challenge in the remote villages of Uttarakhand. Mallika Virdi, the sarpanch of Sarmoli Village, was among the pioneers of rural tourism in the villages around Munsiari in Uttarakhand who started a homestay program in Sarmoli village in 2004. More than 15 local families of the small village opened their homes to travellers.
Sarmoli village is close to Munsiari in district Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand. Travellers can contact the coordinator here.
Call to book: +91 9411194041
2. Nyerma, Where The Homestay Is Run by Ladakhi Nuns
A homestay was built near the nunnery in Nyerma in 2007. It was initially run by volunteers and eventually the nuns of Nyerma took charge and welcomed the first guests in the summer of 2008. The homestay was initiated to generate income and support the livelihood of the nuns. Volunteers still arrive here in the summers to give their service and the homestay receives support from the abbess of the monastery, which helps in getting everyday essentials from Leh.
The homestay is near the popular Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh. Travellers can contact the coordinator here.
Call to book: (+ 91) 99 06 985 911
3. Ziro Valley, Where You Get The Best Of Apatani Hospitality
Ngunu, an NGO based in Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, is successfully running a homestay program in Ziro. Five families of the small village have already converted their homes into homestays. Through this homestay program, the NGO aims to increase community participation in tourism activities in the area. Ngunu also organises expeditions and meetups for travellers in Ziro.
Ziro is four hours away from Itanagar by car. Travellers can contact the coordinator here.
Call to book: 8974954810/9856209494
4. Chhotaram Prajapat's Homestay in Salawas Village
Chhotaram's Homestay was the first one to be set up around Jodhpur in 2009. The weaver families of the village had been serving the royals of Rajasthan for years until the recent times. Chhotaram's father Pukhraj Ji brought together 45 families of Salawas village and set up a co-operative. The families now welcome and serve the guests in the village during winters every year.
Salawas village is 20km away from the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Contact the homestay coordinator here.
Call to book: +91 291 2696744
5. Pali Village Homestay, An Initiative by Culture Aangan
This homestay was set up with a vision of bringing travellers closer to the heart of Rajasthan – its villages. Homestay in the village of Pali plays a crucial role to make the villages a part of rural tourism. Guests get a chance to experience Rajasthan in the most offbeat manner possible where they explore the village on horseback, go for jungle safaris, experience the rich folk culture and get to know the local Rabaaddi tribe.
Pali village is 180 kms from Pushkar and the nearest airports in Jodhpur and Udaipur are almost 2 hours away from the village. Contact Culture Aangan here.
Call to book : +91 22 65102044
6. Langza, Komic and four other villages in Spiti Valley
Six villages in the Spiti Valley supported by Ecosphere have begun the homestay program for travellers who reach these far flung villages during summers. These villages are Langza, Komic, Lhalung, Dhankar and Mikkim. Except Mikkim, which lies in Pin Valley National Park, all the other villages fall within the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. Getting a sneak peek into the lives of the natives of Spiti not only gives you a chance to explore these scenic villages but also understand their sustainable methods of living for 12 months in these remote himalayan villages.
Travellers can find more information at Lhamo Guesthouse, Behind Main Bus stand, Kaza, Spiti. Contact the coordinator here.
Call to book: 91-9899492417, 91-9418207750
7. Mawphlang's MaplePine Farm Promoting Farmstay in India
One of the most amazing highlights of Meghalaya is the traditionally preserved sacred forests and in the village of Mawphlang the sacred forest is a treasure trove for nature lovers. Maple Pine Farm is managed by a Khasi Canadian Couple, James and Valeriena who have built it without any help from the local government or an NGO. All the cottages have been built by James himself and the family looks after the guests who arrive here almost the entire year except during the monsoons.
Mawphlang is in the East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya and is 25 kms away from Shillong. Contact the hosts here.
Call to book: 098560 41205
8. Kewzing Homestay Program in Sikkim
Kewzing in South Sikkim is one of the villages that has benefitted by the homestay program in this small Himalayan state. This Bhutia village with almost 30 houses has turned into a homestay hub with the help of a local NGO. For visitors it's a chance to explore the Sikkimese village, stay at a local's house, go hiking or visit the nearby tea estates. Apart from Kewzing, homestay programs have been successfully running in Dzongu, Yuksom and other villages of Sikkim.
Kewzing is located 8km from Ravangla in South Sikkim. It is midway between Gangtok and Pemayangtse in West Sikkim and can be reached by shared or reserved taxis from Gangtok. Contact the hosts here.
Call to book : 09434235508
Do you wish to add your experience of a homestay to the list? Hit the comments section below.
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