[two_third]India has a lot on its plate to offer vacationers with- from remotest corners to the most developed states with maximum tourism. The North-Eastern Indian states have always been an unexplored heaven for many mainly because of the region’s remoteness, proximity to sensitive international borders and absence of proper infrastructure. However, the region’s culture, cuisine, famous north east festivals and untouched beauty is something to experience once in a lifetime.
There’s a famous saying in India, “Athithi Devo Bhava”, which means “the Guest is God”. Indians always go an extra mile to please their guests as they consider it to be a huge honour to have them in their homes. And so, it’s true that there’s nothing like Indian hospitality. Sadly, most tourists who come to India stay in hotels and never get to experience true Indian hospitality. However, the best way to discover a new place is through the people and staying at a hotel simply cuts one off from all the authentic experiences that a cosy homestay offers. Imagine opening the windows of your room to some amazing scenic views, knowing that the host family is always there to guide you with the whereabouts of the nearby local markets and places to visit, and coming back home to the most delicious local cuisines that one could possibly find around the town — that’s what living in a homestay was like for me, when I visited the north-east!
Experience much more than usual overnight stay in a typical hotel room
Opting for a homestay over a typical bed and breakfast is altogether a different and unique experience. Guests are either accommodated in the family home, or in separate quarters nearby. Homestays can be of different forms – Apartment, Individual Room, Full separate unit or floor, independent houses like Bungalow or Villa. While staying in a hotel would mean following some strict rules and regulations like fixed check-in and check-out timings, choosing a homestay can be a very convenient and relaxing option for your next trip. Nowadays, most homestays provide their guests with just as much comfort as a well-furnished reputed hotel. Unlike hotel rooms, spending your vacation in a beautiful bungalow, villa, apartment or a cottage can be much more mesmerising.
A tourist with national responsibility
Nowadays the educated youth population in India is moving out to urban centres from native towns leaving behind their elderly parents all alone in their parental houses. As a result, homestays are becoming a natural opportunity for these elderlies situated at rural or suburban places to socialize with tourists by offering them a place to halt and earning some income as well. During the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, one can witness a lot many temporary homestays in Nagaland offered by a large section of the local community as they entirely depend on tourism for their living. Why not enjoy a warm and friendly stay at these homestays at affordable rates and in turn contribute a little to help these locals earn a living? Your north-east india travel experiences are largely based on the type of hosts you get a chance to get along with.
Safe and Secure home in an outside place
Being a solo woman traveller, staying in a homestay always assured me of my security. I felt safe throughout since the family I was staying with made me comfortable from the moment I stepped in there. Unlike hotels where a guest won’t communicate much with the authorities, I had so much fun with families I stayed with throughout my travel to the north-east. We had those amazing tea and gossip sessions where they would tell me a lot more about the place and its local stories. Trust me, you will form new and unlikely friendships for life and have the best time of your vacation while you book a homestay in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Shillong or Sikkim.
After all its somebody’s home!
It seems like its forever whenever I am traveling. And what I have learned from my different experiences while traveling is that staying in a homestay evolves you as a person for good. There’s a popular saying that ‘While in Rome do what Romans do’ and one must attain this attitude whenever they are staying in a homestay. One should have an insight of the place he/she is exploring and what’s more exciting than having a chance to taste the local food of the north-east or witness an essence of the local culture, language, and social values. Also, one should be conscious of the fact that the place where they are staying in somebody else’s home and not some commercial resort or hotel. Instead of expecting those standardized luxury brought in by any hotel chains, diversity brought in by each house needs to be appreciated! Didn’t I tell you that your north-east travel experience?
The North East has the largest tree cover as compared rest of India, undiscovered endemic flora and fauna, a huge and fragile ecosystem of the Brahmaputra considering every year floods happen, the 2 Himalayan landscapes are Sikkim – known for lakes and Arunachal and a majority of the tribal and rural belt where conservation must be a priority as we increase tourism. Homestays are a natural solution where instead of building new properties (hotel), the local people can accommodate incoming tourists in their houses opening the gates for sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. There are a lot many homestays in North Sikkim, Gangtok, Kolkata, Itanagar, and Darjeeling. One of the most famous homestays in North East is the ZERO Homestay Village which is situated in Arunachal Pradesh. Tourists can witness the glimpse of the culture of Apatani Tribe, who resides there. Moreover, one can opt for homestays in tea estates for a unique and mesmerising experience.
As a woman with a professional background in travel and hospitality sector starting with IHR – IndiaHotelReview for 5 years, I have spent a lot of time discovering various boutique properties and small hotels in the north-east; followed by Goibibo where I got an opportunity to meet and explore large hotels, branded star category chains, and luxury properties for almost 3.5 years; and later 2 years of Stayzilla where I passionately enjoyed opening Homestays, meeting them and discovering the existing ones in the far fledged remote regions of north-east. All these years of experience and traveling have developed my never-ending interest and love for homestays and which is why I would anytime prefer everyone to live in a homestay rather than a hotel as you get home away from home experience and that too at much more reasonable cost. Want to know about my detailed encounters and travel experiences from homestays of North East? Then, my upcoming book – Early Sunrise Early Sunset – North East India Travel Diary of a solo woman traveler – is surely a must-read for you as I have penned down about some of the most amazing homestays I have ever been to!