The famous Indian saying "Athithi Devo Bhava" meaning "Guests is God" is very true to homestays. Indians consider it a huge honour to have guests in their home, and some of us Indians go out of our way to please them. Staying at hotels you never get to experience true Indian hospitality and of-course the local culture.
A homestay is a concept to that of a bed and breakfast, guests are accommodated in the family home of the host. This trend of homestay picked up about a decade ago after the subsequent state governments came up with encouraging backings to float homestays. The system which was a hit in Europe and other developed countries had come in for appreciation by the government, the tourist and hosts. Most of the homestays in Karnataka are farmers, plantation owners who now have an opportunity to earn some extra money not completely dependent on crops, especially with changing weather conditions.
1. Learn the culture
The concept of travel has tremendously evolved in India over the years. Travellers most often like to do things that don’t feature in tourist guides. With the little time that we all squeeze into our lives for travel, it is only important that we make the most of it. A Homestay lets you do just that. When you live with a local, you are exposed to local sights, sounds and flavours. A brochure in a hotel’s reception will never match up to that.
2. As safe as a home
Homestays are largely run by families or a small staff personally appointed by them. The hosts themselves take care of everything. It is in their own interest to ensure that theirs is a safe place for travellers to have a pleasant stay in. While living with a family gives you company and makes you feel safe, hosts also ensure that you have enough privacy.
3. Home-cooked local delicacies
There's a huge difference between the Indian food served in restaurants and hotels, and the food that's cooked at an Indian home. The best part about staying in a homestay is undoubtedly the delicious home-cooked food. It allows you to understand local cuisine and even learn what goes into the preparation as most hosts willing share secret recipes with you. Lot of the homestays including Ashirwad Estate Homestay serve you food cooked from grown locally fresh vegetables. Without the effort of hunting for local restaurants, you can indulge in some gourmet food!
4. A free local guide
Nobody knows a place better than someone who was born and raised there. The wealth of information that the hosts have about their local area makes deciding what to see and do a breeze. If you are lucky the host may take you or send someone along to some of the local beauty spots or waterfall with hardly any tourist around. Google is great but unfortunately it can’t beat a local guide, all you have to do is ask and your homestay host will share his local insight and vast network with you in minutes.
5. Personal attention, hospitality at its best
By staying in a homestay with another family (host) around, you can be assured that you’re not alone in case of a medical emergency. You may sometimes need access to the kitchen to be able to cook something for your stubborn in-law or prepare a glass of warm turmeric milk for the kids. A lot of homestays will allow you to use the kitchen or willingly help you deal with different situations. As a guest at a homestay, the focus is on you, and your likes and preferences. The hosts are usually very accommodating and will put a great deal of effort into arranging activities that are of interest to you. The hosts usually open their homes to homestay business locals for want of company or for the sheer passion for hospitality.
6. Best wildlife experience
Homestays around the coffee growing regions of Karnataka offers you plenty of wilderness. As coffee is most grown under a canopy of shade trees, the coffee estates/plantations have a forest feel to them with rich bio diversity. For people who love nature these homestay are perfect, the wilderness of coffee estates provide home to numerous birds, animals and rich in flora. 97% of the coffees that are grown in India are from the Western Ghats region which runs along the western side of the Indian peninsula. The Western Ghats of India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world. The Western Ghats mountains play an important role in conserving a balanced weather conditions especially during monsoon as the mountains intercept the rain-bearing westerly monsoon winds to usher in the Monsoon season. Growing coffee which require the a canopy of shade tree that gives a forest feel is the best way to conserve the Western Ghats of India. A stay in coffee estate homestays is the best way to enjoy the wildlife and experience the magnificent Western Ghats.