Home stay for authentic touch- Live in Assam the way Assamese do
If you wish to experience Assam up close and personal, complete with the gamosahanging from the bath hook and the aroma of machor tenga wafting from the kitchen, the state tourism has an answer — home stay.
The Assam tourism department is introducing home stay facilities to provide clean and affordable places to foreigners and domestic tourists and an opportunity to live in Assam the way Assamese do.
The Assam Rural Home Stay Tourism Scheme-2012 aims at providing comfortable home-stay facilities with standardised services to the tourists and to supplement available accommodations in the rural tourist destinations.
“People are ready to offer their homes and it is the best mode of tourism in rural areas,” Anurag Singh, managing director Assam Tourism Development Corporation said.
The Assam Tourism Development Corporation Limited is the implementing agency.
The government has identified 16 locations, including Majuli, Pobitora, Kaziranga, Sivasagar and Neemati ghat, where it is looking for 200 units to be offered to tourists.
He said the idea is to provide foreigners an opportunity to stay with Assamese families, experience the local customs and traditions and relish local cuisine.
There are criteria, though, for those wishing to put up their houses as home stays.
The home should be on a land of at least two kathas, and should have at least two rooms with attached toilets.
The internal décor, furniture and furnishing, curtains will be based on local culture, heritage and themes. The units under this scheme will have a uniform colour scheme so that these are easily identifiable.
The selected homes will be eligible for a one-time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh.
A committee to be constituted by the department of tourism/ATDC Ltd will examine the applications, inspect the premises being offered and in the event of it being found suitable, the authorities will approve/register the home stay unit to be eligible for assistance under the scheme.
The homes would also get exemptions from luxury and sales tax and domestic rates for electricity and water will be charged.
In addition, efforts will be made to organise short-term training in hospitality for those who would opt for such training.
Western Arunachal Landscape Conservation Programme of WWF-India is running 10 home stay units and the response has been good.
“Whoever has visited has been happy and in places like Arunachal Pradesh, home stay tourism is the best tourism,” Pijush Kumar Dutta, senior landscape co-ordinator Western Arunachal Landscape Conservation Programme WWF-India said.