Home Inspirational Expertise Manali In This 50-YO Mud Homestay Amid Apple Orchards

Expertise Manali In This 50-YO Mud Homestay Amid Apple Orchards

Expertise Manali In This 50-YO Mud Homestay Amid Apple Orchards


A serene and magical white blanket now envelops our beloved winter trip spot—Manali. The snow, which is now knee-deep in most elements of town, presents the winter delight we’ve all been eagerly anticipating.

Though somewhat later than typical, town now adorns a pristine white winter glow, excellent for engaging you for a weekend getaway. Only a quick stroll from the well-known Hadimba Temple lies a property that may turn into your private home away from house.

Afsana Homestay, a 50-year-old mud house, takes the ‘house’ half very significantly. Impressed by conventional Himachali houses and the tradition they embody, this homestay presents rather more than simply lodging.

Heena Mahant, the founding father of the homestay, instructed The Higher India, “The homestay is greater than only a place to remain. It’s an expertise I needed to share with everybody—the expertise of residing in a real Himachali house, secluded from the bustling metropolis whereas being nestled between a forest and an apple orchard.”

Heena’s Homecoming

Born and raised in Kullu, Heena remembers visiting her grandma’s house as her baby. Again then, she was not conscious that that house would someday turn into her inspiration. 

Like most children, Heena grew out of her easy pahadi life and moved to Chandigarh. “After finishing my commencement and MBA, I began to stay within the metropolis and labored for practically 12 years working as a digital marketer,” she says. 

Nevertheless, whereas she liked her profession, Heena’s coronary heart belonged again house. In 2020, she fell unwell and determined to return house. “I had put in plenty of onerous work for a decade and needed to deal with my well being for some time,” she says. 

Heena, founder of Afsana Homestay
Heena, the founding father of Afsana Homestay.

Returning house, she realised that she needed to create one thing of her personal in Manali. 

“A number of my mates owned homestays and I used to be freelancing and serving to them market their homestay. It was the primary time the concept of proudly owning my homestay got here to me,” she says. 

“Nevertheless, it was my grandmother’s heat and cosy house that grew to become my inspiration,” she provides. 

Being in Manali introduced again reminiscences of Heena’s candy childhood, and he or she yearned to recreate one thing comparable. “My grandmother’s house was so genuine, so cosy, and immersed in nature. It provided an expertise that was really distinctive. I needed to recreate that magic,” she says.

With a transparent course in thoughts, Heena wanted a strong plan. “I made a decision to proceed freelancing whereas concurrently looking for properties and travelling to search out the right house,” she says. It took a 12 months of looking earlier than Heena lastly discovered the right property.

When Heena laid eyes on the 50-year-old house that will turn into Afsana Homestay, it was love at first sight. “It was as if all my visions for the homestay got here to life. The home, half a century outdated, was constructed with pure supplies like wooden, mud, and stone. All renovations had been carried out utilizing the identical supplies,” she says.

Nestled amidst an apple orchard and dense forest, the home was secluded and embraced by nature. “It was excellent in each sense,” she provides.

Heena determined to buy the house and make it her ardour venture. “Nobody in my household had ever been on this enterprise,” she provides.

The homestay is made of mud, stone, and wood.
The homestay is made from mud, stone, and wooden.

Recalling her dad and mom’ preliminary response to her determination to start out a homestay, she says, “I nonetheless bear in mind my dad’s scepticism. There was all the time stress to get married and quiet down after I was in Chandigarh, however upon returning, it intensified much more. I don’t blame them; I’m nearing 32, an age society expects you to get married and “quiet down”, not begin a ardour venture.”

“However quickly sufficient, my household realised that I had completely different plans. My dad confirmed immense help as soon as he understood my imaginative and prescient for the homestay and my future,” shares Heena.

Armed along with her financial savings and help from her household, Heena started work on her homestay in April 2022. “Inside three months, we had been able to welcome our first visitors,” she says with a smile.

Since Afsana Homestay opened its doorways, they’ve served over 300 visitors.

Creating her grandma’s magic 

Speaking in regards to the homestay, she says, “Now we have three classes of rooms on the property. We keep away from taking visitors who’ve youngsters beneath 8 years as a result of the stroll as much as the homestay is likely to be an excessive amount of for the little ones.”

The property has personal rooms with hooked up washrooms. The costs vary between Rs 2,000 to three,000, relying on the season. “We even have personal rooms with a shared washroom. The costs vary from Rs 1,000 to 2,000,” she says.

Afsana additionally has a room excellent for backpackers and travellers on a finances. “These shared rooms present a cost-effective choice at 600 rupees per mattress. Washrooms are shared amongst visitors on this class,” she says.

Speaking in regards to the experiences she offers in her homestay, she says, “We offer a purely easy Himachali meals expertise at our homestay. Our caretaker and outdated cook dinner from again house joined me with the operations of the homestay and cooked these scrumptious meals. We use our mom’s recipes for making the normal dish, Siddu, served to our visitors.”

All of the uncooked supplies are often sourced from her house farm. “The walnuts for the siddu, the ghee for the meals, the veggies and milk are all sourced from my very own farm,” she says.

The homestay offers homecooked authentic Himachali food.
The homestay presents home-cooked genuine Himachali meals.

As for the actions, she says, “We provide 4 to 5 actions as a part of our bundle. Visitors can take pleasure in a guided tour of the forest park, included within the bundle, throughout the morning or night. We additionally take them to a secluded, hidden viewpoint with breathtaking views. Right here, visitors can take pleasure in a picnic, savour tea, and soak within the exceptional surroundings.”

She additionally has three hikes that the folks can expertise. She says, “We provide three further climbing choices: Lion King Rock, a one-hour hike; Lamaduk, a four-hour trek; and Rani Su Lake, a full-day hike. Visitors can take pleasure in these excursions at an extra value.”

Throughout these treks, Heena makes positive there isn’t a plastic waste discarded by her visitors. “It’s our responsibility to keep up the sanctity of the hills. On my method again, we additionally acquire the rubbish we discover on the trail to maintain the environment clear and inexperienced,” she says.

Umang Thebaria, who visited Afsana Homestay, has some fantastic issues to share about his keep. “One phrase that sums up my expertise — house. It was so cosy and home-like that we determined to overlook our bus solely to remain a couple of extra hours on the balcony and soak within the silence. The scrumptious meals that Ludramani Bhai Ji made for us had been so easy but scrumptious,” he says.

Solitude is one thing that helps you end up and that’s precisely what I felt within the property. I cannot go to Manali with out visiting Afsana now,” she says.

Apart from, Heena says that the serenity across the homestay makes her visitors neglect all worries of the world.

“It is vitally quiet and serene across the homestay. All of the visitors preserve coming again to get a style of the silence once more,” she says.

Heena personally takes care of her visitors and stays close to the property. “I need to create a bond with my visitors. The title Afsana means making tales and that’s exactly what I need to do with my visitors, make candy and memorable reminiscences,” she says.

(Edited by Padmashree Pande; All pictures credit score: Heena)



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