Nestled among the many stunning and picturesque landscapes, surrounded by thick deodar forests, fruit orchards and the majestic Himalayan peaks, is the Doi Homestay. A serene little abode within the quaint mountain village of Nathuakhan of Uttarakhand, it is a perfect place for nature lovers and people searching for an escape from the hustle of metropolis life.
This homestay exudes the texture of a pure retreat than a homestay and affords all of the comforts of a house away from house.
“We met in Delhi by way of a standard good friend nearly 5 years in the past when Disha had stop her job as a journey author,” says Sambit who used to work as a contract filmmaker and photographer. “We each slot in one another’s lives simply, as we shared related pursuits in travelling, meals, exploring new locations, and assembly new folks. Nevertheless it was Disha’s dream to arrange a responsibly-run homestay in Uttarakhand,” he provides.
Disha says, “My work concerned a number of journey, the place I used to go and keep at completely different locations and assessment them. This helped me perceive the journey trade higher and led me on this route. Apart from, I’m from Uttarakhand and it turned out to be an apparent alternative for me. Fortunately, Sambit’s pursuits aligned with my dream.”
The couple arrange their homestay in 2020 after taking an previous home for lease in Nathuakhan. Although it wasn’t simple amidst the pandemic, they are saying, they managed to open it in July providing solely long-term stays by strictly abiding by the COVID guidelines.
Ever since they’ve been internet hosting friends from throughout the nation. Now they’ve opened their doorways to these on the lookout for shorter stays as properly.
The Doi Host
In 2017, they determined to pursue their dream mission of beginning a responsibly-run homestay within the hills. However additionally they realised that it wasn’t one thing that they might construct in a day. So, as a primary step in direction of fulfilling their dream, in the identical 12 months, they launched a journey firm — The Doi Host — selling sustainable street journeys providing immersive travel experiences.
“Although we had a transparent imaginative and prescient of what we needed to construct, we realised that it will require a number of funds, which wasn’t instantly doable at that time. So, we launched the Doi Host, the place we each turned journey guides taking folks on curated journeys to distant places within the Himalayas; to Sikkim, Meghalaya, Himachal, Kashmir and so forth,” says Sambit, including that they performed journeys from 2017 to 2020.
Requested concerning the identify ‘Doi’, Disha says, “It’s a Kumaoni phrase which implies an individual who doesn’t like to return again house/ a wanderer. It has caught with me for therefore lengthy. Lots of people used to name me a ‘doi’.”
“Additionally, the Kumaoni language is likely one of the dying languages. So, I believed if we use a phrase from the language it could possibly be a dialog starter,” provides the 30-year-old, who’s a local of Haldwani within the Kumaon area.
After travelling collectively for round three years, Sambit says, they realised that they labored properly collectively. “Throughout our journeys, which prolonged for seven to eight days, we largely stayed in native homestays that helped our friends expertise the native tradition and lifestyle. Apart from, it additionally helped us perceive the enterprise higher. Alongside, we saved on the lookout for an ideal place to arrange our homestay till we discovered one in November 2019,” explains the 32-year-old.
They began the work in February 2020 however when the pandemic hit, it introduced a number of challenges. “I used to be stranded in Delhi and Disha took care of all of the work of organising the homestay. However lastly, we had been in a position to get married and host our first friends in July 2020,” he provides.
A homestay amidst a fruit orchard
Of the only a few homestays in Nathuakhan within the Kumaon area, the Doi Homestay, set at round 2000 metres above sea stage, is exclusive for a lot of causes. The home is somewhat away from the village, into the oak-pine forests, surrounded by flourishing fruit orchards and tea gardens.
“On one facet of the homestay, we’ve got orchards of apricots, peaches, plums, apples, pears, and so forth. Moreover, we’ve got a small backyard of Uttarakhand Tea in our yard. We additionally develop a number of greens, herbs, pulses, and many others. as we’re aiming in direction of changing into self-sufficient and sustainable,” Sambit says.
Additionally they develop a number of types of tomatoes, completely different types of radishes, strawberries, chamomiles, and so forth across the homestay. “We each prepare dinner at occasions and we’ve got a particular love for Italian and middle-eastern meals,” he gushes.
As Disha and Sambit are gastronomes, they’re all the time up for good meals. Subsequently, they ensure that they serve delicious home-cooked meals for his or her friends.
“We do have an in-house chef who cooks native meals and all kinds of Indian dishes. Apart from, we’ve got an elaborate menu for continental, the place we use solely these substances which can be grown round our homestay. So, we set the menu in keeping with the provision of the substances,” elaborates Sambit, including that it’s an effort in direction of attaining self-sustainability.
“The place is rather like a retreat, as it’s set in a village the place there aren’t so many issues to do round. It’s a distant village and there are not any cafes or eating places round. It is advisable to journey at the least 15 km to discover a restaurant in Mukteshwar,” he says, including, “Therefore all our packages are inclusive of all three meals all through the day.”
The homestay affords packages for long-term stays starting from Rs 33,000 to Rs 39,000 for 30 days for single occupancy and Rs 39,000 to Rs 51,000 for double occupancy. For shorter stays, the worth begins from Rs 2,100 per particular person per day and Rs 3,000 for 2 folks per day.
Whereas speaking to a number of the repeat friends at The Doi Homestay, Riyanka Roy from Gurgaon says, “My first go to to the homestay was in October 2020, it was simply after the pandemic lockdown and it felt like the very best factor that occurred to me that 12 months. I have to say, the very best half concerning the homestay is their meals. Ranging from breakfast to dinner all of the meals they served had been delicious. Apart from, Sambit cooks and bakes so properly. He used to make us pasta, pizza, sandwiches and yummy desserts.”
One other spotlight of the homestay is the magnificent view of the Himalayan ranges, the place one can get up to the view of snow-clad peaks like Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Chaukhamba, and Neelkanth.
There are a number of stunning trails across the homestay the place one can stroll across the oak forests or hike all the way down to the villages of Delkuna and Baret or take a stroll to hidden waterfalls and streams.
One other loyal buyer, Kanak Singh from Aligarh says, “I visited them twice, the primary time in February 2022 once I stayed there for over a month. Later, I visited them in June for over per week. It’s a stunning homestay that makes you are feeling secure and at house. Apart from, Disha and Sambit had been such nice hosts.”
She provides, “Throughout my keep, I used to go for solo hikes close to the homestay which has so many stunning trails round it. I even made a good friend within the village, a 14-year-old lady, who typically accompanies me for the hikes and we nonetheless be in contact.”
“There are 5 rooms in complete which can be named after completely different fruits obtainable within the orchard — Malta, kiwi, plum, apple, apricot are our rooms,” says Disha. The rooms accommodate one to 2 folks.
Disha says one of many main challenges that they’ve been going through for the reason that launch of the homestay is plastic waste administration.
“Since it’s a village, there isn’t any facility the place they might come and accumulate the plastic waste. So, we determined to gather the plastic waste in our homestay and ship it for upcycling at a plant in Haldwani,” she explains, including, “We needed our homestay to be as eco-friendly as doable. We wouldn’t say that we haven’t achieved it utterly however we’re undoubtedly within the course of.”
Speaking about their journey to date, Disha says, “It was a number of work and took a number of time to get so far. However wanting again we’re so grateful for the way issues have turned out. I really feel that issues labored out the best way it was alleged to.”
“It was teamwork the place we each might take duties and develop collectively,” she concludes.
Disha and Sambit are actually busy organising their soon-to-be-open pizzeria and bakery at Seetla, nearly 7 km from the homestay.
For bookings and extra data, you’ll be able to go to their website or contact them at +91-9871083849 / +91-9654485394.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)