Tourism has grown by leaps and bounds all over the world. It contributes significantly to the local, regional, national and global economy. One of today’s major environmental challenges is the conservation of the biodiversity and eco-tourism could well play a very important role in conservation.
Specifically, it has raised the local living standard and made local people become more involved in conservation. Moreover, ecotourism could fulfill needs of people living in the places which attract tourists. Thus, eco-tourism could prove to be the much needed tool to protect biodiversity as well as provide livelihood to local people. Eco-tourism, the term frequently used to refer to ‘sustainable’ or ‘low-impact’ tourism. The idea of eco-tourism has gained popularity all around the world. This is because tourism forms an important part of the world’s economy. The number of tourists increases year by year, and within the tourism industry, ecotourism is the fastest growing segment. Home stay is a part of Eco-tourism and is a sustainable way to conserve nature.
It is also a means of generating economic benefits for different stakeholders, increasing awareness for both local communities and tourists, promoting biodiversity conservation and mitigating negative impacts to the environment from the tourism industry. Furthermore, the benefits generated from ecotourism improves the livelihood of people, particularly of the local people. Ecotourism not only provides knowledge to local communities but also to visitors. The right kinds of tourist experiences can results in increasing environmental awareness and cultural sensitivity among tourists.
There’s a saying in India, “Athithi Devo Bhava” , which means “the Guest is God”. Indians consider it a huge honour to have guests in their home, and go out of their way to please them. There’s nothing like Indian hospitality. Sadly, most tourists who come to India and stay in hotels never get to experience true Indian hospitality. The good thing is that all this is changing as a result of the growing popularity of homestays in India. A homestay is similar in concept to that of a bed and breakfast. Guests are either accommodated in the family home, or in separate quarters nearby. Nowadays, most homestays provide their guests with just as much comfort as a well-furnished reputable hotel.
India is unmatched with its rich heritage, cultural background, historical background, which are among the reasons that attract travellers. During your trips to India, you could choose to stay in a luxury hotel, resort or a homestay. What makes a stay in a homestay different from the other luxury stays? Let’s share with you some reasons why you should try staying at homestays than the other options for bed and breakfast. India is diverse in her nature, unlike any other country in the world. To know and experience the true meaning of the ethnicity and culture of India, one has to stay close to nature and a homestay is the best option for this.
There are a number of other reasons as well why staying at a homestay can be preferable to staying in a hotel.
Distinctive and Characterful Accommodations
There’s no better if you stay in a resort or a luxury hotel, they usually provide you with a menu of the services offered from which you can choose the ones apt for you depending on your budget and preference. Whereas, if you choose to stay in a homestay, you would be given the liberty to set your preferences regarding food, activities or the amenities in the home. The best way to experience the incredibly diversity and charm of India is by staying at a homestay. The options are almost endless and include plantation bungalows, historic havelis (mansions), and remote rural cottages.
In contrast to a hotel, a homestay usually only has a few rooms.
The family who resides there runs it, and acts as host. This guarantees that guests receive plenty of individual attention. You can spend time with them as per your wish. Some guests choose only to dine with them, while others spend hours chatting to them. Regardless, staying with an Indian family is the easiest way of finding out about Indian culture and way of life. Many guests and hosts find that they bond with each other so much, that they keep in touch long after the vacation is over.
The wealth of information that the hosts have about their local area
makes deciding what to see and do a breeze. Such local knowledge is extremely helpful in getting the most from your visit. Many hosts are delighted to show their guests around their local area, providing them with invaluable insights that simply aren’t available from a guide book. Though there would be travel guides available at some of the luxury hotels in India, to know more of your surroundings and some interesting places that you could access while at the location, a homestay would be the best choice. Places like Coorg and Lonavala would have many such locations to explore. Therefore, staying at a homestay would be good idea.
Home Cooked Food
There’s a vast difference between the Indian food served in
restaurants and hotels, and the food that’s cooked in an Indian home. By staying at a
homestay, you will be able to taste authentic,delicious Indian home cooked food, which is a lot lighter, and has more variation and flavour than restaurant/hotel food. Any restaurant or resort can provide you with expensive dishes at your table but believe me, it won’t be the same as Indian home cooked food. Though hotels and resorts claim to serve you authentic local cuisine, you may not be sure of it as you are new to the place. Homestays can be trusted on this- they provide authentic cuisine, prepared themselves.
Some homestays even welcome their guests into their kitchen, and let them watch and participate in the cooking process.
As a guest at a homestay, the focus is on you, your likes and your preferences. The hosts are usually very accommodating and will put a great deal of effort into arranging activities that are of interest to you. Homestays are managed by locals or people who have migrated from another places and settled in a tourist spot to offer the best to the travellers. Thus, they would be more in sync with the nature surrounding the home and would be better guides to suggest the unique activities you can engage in while you’re at their home, depending on the location. Exploring a coffee plantation in Coorg, watching a polo match in Rajasthan, herding animals in remote northern India, village visits, picnics, and temple tours are just some of the options. Guests are often invited to attend weddings, or other festivals that are happening, as well. Staying at a homestay in India is all about immersing yourself in India, rather skimming over it on the tourist trail.
All these luxuries in life come at a reasonable rate when compared to the stay at luxury hotels. Then why would you not enjoy life spending lesser?
This concludes my article. In my next article, I would be mentioning the top ten homestays in India. Till then, Happy Travelling 🙂 🙂
An arts student at Allahabad University,he is an avid writer and also takes a keen interest in reading; his favorite genre being science fiction.
He plays cricket, football and basketball; his fidelity lying with cricket. He remains sanguine irrespective of the circumstances around him.