Staying With The Locals In Orchhaon August 6th, 2011 at 4:46 pm
Perhaps the most intrepid part of our trip – apart from travelling on trains for 2500 miles in the worst season possible – was our planned stay with two local families in the sleepy riverside town of Orchha.
The idea for a homestay was sewn early on, when the original plan was to go to Ladakh, where you almost have no choice but to stay in homestays in certain regions due a lack of hotels. Once we changed our plan to Delhi-Mumbai I was always certain that part of the trip would see us living with a local family.
Friends of Orchha is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which helps many of the residents of Orchha, especially in a region named Ganj which is perhaps 1km away from central Orchha. For the homestays they provided a loan to several families which helped them build extra outbuildings which are used to house vistors such as us.
Asha, my contact in the NGO for me, explained to me that for the Rs500 nightly charge, the family gets Rs100 in their pocket, Rs100 goes towards administration (booking, billing, laundry and cleaning) and Rs300 is used to pay of the loan. She said that most loans would be paid off in four or so years at which point the homestay owners will decide whether they wish to continue receiving guests or use the room for themselves. The arrangement seems ideal and it’s clear to see that Asha really has her heart and brain geared up to help the people around her.
As each family only has one room for guests we were alotted two different families to stay with: Jane and Amy are staying with Hari and Kusum and their three sons Mansingh, Manoj and Pramod; Emilia and I are staying with Malti and Raghuvir and their three sons Dinesh, Ajay and Arun.
As well as providing lodgings the families can provide breakfast and evening meals, this gives them the chance to earn a little more money, although the rates are so low it can’t result in much profit. Breakfast is Rs40 and dinner is Rs70.
Here’s a couple of pictures of the the homestay Jane is in:
Here’s a couple of shots of Jane’s room:
Want to stay in a homestay and thinking of coming anywhere near Orchha (, Agra, Gwalior or Khajuraho)?