Venue: Shoghi, Himachal Pradesh
The over cluttering at Shimla has lead to the growth of adjacent areas as tourist destinations. For the last long weekend we visited Shoghi few kilometers ahead Shimla. This place is now dotted with home stay options and we were booked with Aamantran Stays via GoIbibo app. Homestay was a new experience for us and we were frankly a little hesitant. However once we reached we realised that like any other aspect of life, this too has its pros and cons.
From the parking spot the actual building is about 200 meters on undulating land. It may be difficult for older people to reach this place.
But once we reached, we were allotted a room on the first floor. It comprised a bedroom, a washroom and a small lobby. The bedroom had a big window with clear view of the Himalayas from the bed. While nothing fancy it had a TV and everything was very clean. The toilet with geyser was also well maintained. This set us on a very positive mood, so much so that we did not mind the lack of internet, although that was promised.
The owner explained that to offer a home stay experience, there was no room service. For example, if we requested for tea, either the owner would come upstairs with it or we went downstairs where the owner stays and fetched it from him. On this note, we would also like to mention that everything we had here starting from tea to simple home style vegetarian dinners and bread omelette breakfast was cooked by the owner’s wife and was fresh and finger licking good. In fact, one of us was not well and hence this home away from home food was exactly what the doctor ordered.
To sum it up, we realize that a homestay is a smaller arrangement than a hotel with fewer service facilities. Good part at Aamantran was that we were not lodged on the same floor as the owner, but a floor above. This gave us some privacy. At Aamantran, there was one part-time guy who cleaned the place and helped with our luggage. So there wasn’t much luxury. We are all for basics and this arrangement suited us. On looking around though we came across other homestays with more staff and a professional environment.
If one is looking for action or resort like facilities, Aamantran may disappoint. If peace and solitude are your agenda, we would recommend Aamantran Stays. Particularly, as is expected from homestays all over the world, given fewer overheads, this is a cheaper option that hotels. In fact, we are told the Himachal Tourism Department is encouraging homestay arrangements for its myriad tourist spots.
So as far as Himachal goes, move over hotels – homestay is in.