The tourism industry has experienced a massive boom in the post-Covid period and Darjeeling, the famous hill station in West Bengal is no exception. However, going beyond the brick and mortar of the conventional hotels, offbeat locations around Darjeeling are emerging as popular homestay destinations based on their scenic appeal. The sector is undergoing a transformation and in this era of wanderlust, the new trend promises a unique and immersive experience for travellers. While popular destinations often still attract many tourists, hidden gems like Takdah, Tinchuley, and Dawaipani in Darjeeling district, West Bengal, are gaining prominence for offering travellers an escape from the ordinary.
Homestay Tourism: A Glimpse into Authentic Living
The concept of homestays is redefining the way travellers travel and explore new places. Beyond the conventional hotels and resorts, homestays open the door to local culture, traditions, and lifestyles. In the pristine landscapes of Takdah, Tinchuley, and Dawaipani, homestay tourism brings travellers closer to the heart of the destination, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals while providing comfortable accommodation. What attracts the travellers to this unique experience is the opportunity to mingle with the local community and experience local culture, while enjoying the hospitality of the locals.
The Future of Travel
As travellers seek meaningful experiences that go beyond typical tourist hotspots, homestay tourism in offbeat locations like Takdah, Tinchuley, and Dawaipani is poised to shape the future of travel. These hidden treasures not only provide a temporary escape but also leave a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of those who choose to immerse themselves in the authenticity they offer. As most tourists travelling to these destinations are from the plains of the state of West Bengal, a lot of business interest has been generated in recent times. The price of land in these destinations have sky-rocketed with investors investing in them. Another emerging trend is leasing of homestays. As most of these homestays are owned and managed by the local community, they often find it difficult to connect to their customers. Lately, lot of business owners are leasing out these homestays and making it a good business proposition. Bikram Chakraborty, Partner, Star Hospitalities, operates in this model. He informed, “Since most of the travellers are from the plains, it makes sense to lease these homestays and engage in this business. In this way, the homestay owners are assured a yearly income and business owners like us can look to link these beautiful locations to tourists.”
Takdah: Where Time Stands Still
Takdah, with its lush tea gardens and panoramic views of the Himalayas, offers a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Homestays here provide visitors with an opportunity to unwind amidst the tranquillity of nature. Waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed tea and engaging in conversations with tea estate workers provide insights into the art of tea cultivation. The Takdah Orchid Center, renowned for its rare collection of orchids, adds to the charm of this hidden treasure.
Tinchuley: Embracing Sustainability
Tinchuley, a neighbouring hamlet, is a testament to sustainable tourism. With a strong focus on preserving the environment and uplifting the local community, Tinchuley has garnered attention for its unique "5Rs" concept: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect, and Renew. Travellers partake in eco-friendly activities, interact with organic farmers, and relish the splendid sight of the Himalayan range. Homestays here are more than just a place to rest; they are a gateway to understanding the interconnectedness of nature and culture. Ajit Rai, the owner of Tinchuley Rai Resort, has been the pioneer of developing this village as a popular homestay destination, while explaining his hospitality model said, “We serve you the best that can never be compared to what you pay.”
Dawaipani: Where History Meets Serenity
Dawaipani, a hamlet surrounded by rich forests of pine is steeped in history. Travelling here will take travellers on a journey back in time. Homestay tourism here invites guests to experience the warmth of traditional hospitality. Exploring the old churches, listening to stories passed down through generations, and embarking on treks through unspoiled trails reveal the rich cultural tapestry of the region. The tranquil environment of Dawaipani offers solace to weary souls seeking respite.
The Economic Boost and Community Connection
Homestay tourism not only enriches the traveller’s experience but also benefits local economies. It empowers the communities in these offbeat locations by providing supplementary income to the residents. As visitors immerse themselves in the local way of life, they contribute directly to the livelihoods of the hosts. This, in turn, encourages the preservation of indigenous traditions and culture.