Homestays mushroomed across north Bengal, from the Darjeeling hills to the Dooars

Sangita Bhattarai’s homestay in Kalimpong
Hundreds of homestays have mushroomed across north Bengal, from the Darjeeling hills to the Dooars, as tourists are favouring such accommodations because of a mix of offbeat locations, ethnic cuisines and local culture.

The increasing popularity of homestays has also lifted the economy in many remote areas of the region and made entrepreneurs out of homemakers.

The Telegraph spoke to some of the homestay owners to find out how their lives had changed.

Pabitra Homestay

Where: Chuikhim in Kalimpong

⚫Accommodation: Four rooms, with a capacity for 14 people

⚫Tariff: Rs 1,000 per person per day with meals

⚫Owner: Pabitra Khawas, who is being assisted by her husband

⚫Tentative earnings: Rs. 15,000 a month

Pabitra says: “I started this business in 2006. I used to live with my brother and his wife. I was a homemaker back then. I found the option of opening a homestay interesting and started with two rooms. Now it has been one and a half years and even after my marriage, I am continuing the business. We have built two more rooms with our earnings.”

Bhattarai Homestay

⚫Where: Lolegaon in Kalimpong district

⚫Accommodation: Three rooms, which can accommodate nine people

⚫Tariff: Rs 1,000 per person per day with meals

⚫Owner: Sangita Bhattarai. Her father, who used to be a farmer, helps her

⚫Tentative earnings: Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 a month

Sangita says: “My father used to be a farmer but when I started this business and began making money, he joined me. I used to be a homemaker but now I earn on my own and can help my family. When you put up in a homestay, you experience something unique that you would not get in other forms of accommodations. Here, you enjoy your stay with locals.”

Tinchuley Gurung Homestay

⚫Where: Tinchuley in Darjeeling district, at a height of 5,800ft

⚫Accommodation: Four rooms, which can accommodate up to 15 persons

⚫Tariff: Rs 2,500, per day per person with meals for sun-facing rooms and Rs 1,500 per day per person for other rooms;

⚫Owner: Sumitra Gurung and her husband Nagen Gurung

⚫Tentative earnings: Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month

Sumitra says: “I used to be a typical housewife, spending my days cooking and in other household chores. But once I started this business, my life changed. Now I earn on my own and take care of my guests and my home. This new form of tourism has largely helped people like us who stay in remote areas. With my earnings, we have even bought a car.”

Darjeeling Plaza

⚫Where: Chota Mangwa in Darjeeling district

⚫Accommodation: 14 cottages

⚫Tariff: Range from Rs 1,600 to Rs 4,000 per person per day, with meals

⚫Owner: Janaki Pradhan and M.K. Pradhan

⚫Tentative earnings: “It varies and depends on the bookings we get in a season,” said Janaki.

Janaki says: “I used to work in the state PWD and after retirement, I started this homestay. I generally take care of bookings and try to extend the best hospitality to the guests. I was a working women and it is good that I am still earning after retirement.”

https://www.telegraphindia.com
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Hundreds of homestays have mushroomed across north Bengal, from the Darjeeling hills to the Dooars, as tourists are favouring such accommodations because of a mix of offbeat locations, ethnic cuisines and local culture.

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