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“Mind-blowing experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Orchha Home-Stay

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Orchha Home-Stay
Ranked #1 of 19 Orchha B&B and Inns
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Mind-blowing experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2012

If you want to have a taste of real-life India, then go for it.
Both the staff and the host family were wonderful.
We felt at home very quickly and were sad to leave after 3 nights. The room was very clean and convenient and the food amazing.

Probably our best stay in all Northern India. Definitely the most enriching and touching one.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank paulychrome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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168 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
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English first
Beijing
Level Contributor
23 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 February 2012

If I didn't choose Orchha Home-Stay, I will never have so much feeling & experience about the real life in India, especially for the poor families. So please don't just treat it as a place for the night.
I'm happy to see few child begging in this small village, as all of them go to school everyday. They have better vision & English than their parents, as they could learn quickly from the foreign guests. I also see some infrastructure built by "Friends of Orchha", such as pumps, so I know at least part of my money is used in the correct place.
I stayed with Suren's family, they are very nice. The most impressive thing is, they know "exchanging gift" with us, not just "asking for gift" (as we often see elsewhere in India). Although the family is poor, they have nothing valuable to exchange with us, but I could see their sincerity and honesty. Their daughters, Mini & Khushi, are angels, I wish they could have a great future.
Last, Mini told me, we were the first Chinese guests here, most of the guests came from Europe & US. So here I want to say sth. to Chinese people: if you can bear cold water bath & dry toilet, only for 2 days, DO come here! You will see a completely different India, I promise.

Room Tip: My review is about Suren's home, which is good.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Purplexsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2011

My wife and I have been to India eight times, for a total of more than six months of travelling, but we had never actually spent a night in a village until we stayed at the Orcha home-stay which is located in Ganj, a village on the outskirts of Orcha a short walk from town. We spent four nights here in November 2011, and it was the most extraordinary experience we've had in India. Physically, it was better than we had expected. Our guest room was clean and quite large, with decent reading light when the power was on (which was most of the time) and comfortable beds (by Indian standards) . You do have to use an outhouse which, in our case, was about fifty feet away across the family compound, but that's part of the experience and we soon got used to it. And you have to take a bucket bath, using a bucket of hot water that the family heats for you on the same wood stove where they cook all the meals. But again that's all part of the experience.

What really made this special were the interactions we had with our host family and their neighbors, as well as the chance to see a slice of rural Indian life close up. We stayed in Hari and Kusum's house, and ate all four of our breakfasts and dinners there. The food was extremely tasty, though simple, vegetarian fare, and Kusum did her best to spice it the way we wanted it - not always easy considering that we only shared a vocabulary of about ten words plus sign language. Luckily her two sons each know a bit of English and can understand a lot more, and we found that sign language went a long way. We had a great time getting to know the family and even though we couldn't really have a conversation in the normal sense of the word we managed to learn a lot about them.

Although we weren't travelling with kids we played games with the boys extensively, and also had fun with the other village children who gathered in the lane outside this house each night to play games, sing songs, and worship at the tiny kids' Ganesh temple that is built into the side wall of Malti's house across the lane. During two of the days we explored the lovely old palaces and temples in and around Orcha, and on the third day we went for a swim and picnic lunch at an exquisite location upstream on the Betwa river. Based on the guest book I gather that most people stay just two nights here, which is fine if you want a taste of the village and a day of Orcha sightseeing, but I'm really glad we went for the extra two nights. We found that the old Orcha palaces and temples were remarkable for their atmosphere and rewarded a slow pace, and Orcha itself (not just Ganj) is the kind of town where you can have a great time just moving slowly and watching Indian life go by. Then as I said the picnic we took on our third day was fantastic, and on the way back from the picnic we met a couple of other Ganj residents who spoke enough English that so that we could have really good conversations which was immensely rewarding.

I should also mention that Friends of Orcha, the organization which runs the homestay, did provide a friendly host, Ashok, who came around morning and evening, speaks good English and answered our questions, solved problems and made arrangements for us. You aren't really on our own unless you want to be. But in our case, those times when we were with the villagers proved immensely satisfying and made this a truly special experience.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank TonyNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2011

Stayed with a family for 3 nights through friends of Orchha Home stay
Rambabu and his wife Kiran were wonderful hosts, their children, rohini, nidhi, and wee kushi were well mannered, respectful and very approachable!..
For the traveller this is a close way to be involved and observe everyday life for a indian family that are striving for a better life.
Friends of Orchha help by assisting families to build/maintain accommodation facilities to cater for guests.. It is basic compared to western standards, but you sense the incredible effort they have made to make you feel comfortable. powered huts, secure, very clean, (better than some hotels!). basic outhouse, long drop toilet, (functional, clean no bad odour) no shower, but ample water available (the girls collect from a fresh water well, carrying it a short distance on their head :) ).
Food is prepared traditionally, clay oven outside.. very cheap taste food, had no ill effects what so ever!!..
Communication can sometimes be challenging due to limited english, but in saying that we were always able to understand and relay what we needed to, in requests and learning about their way of life.
Friends of Orchha strive to provide families with sustainable income through home stays and supporting this leaves one feeling humble and rewarded at the same time!
take a break from the hustle of mainstream india and enjoy.
PS. some great temples to explore in Orchha, and if want to splurge a bit, do go out to Bundelkhand resort's restaurant (turquoise dinner) yes, a bit expensive compared to Indian prices, but great location, excellent food.. about 2-250 inr return in a rickshaw from Homestay.. Oh, and if warm enough go for a swim in the river, (Home stay organiser there, Ashok, can organise.. great to splash about, and again no ill effects! nice)

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank felloffthefloor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 November 2011

As part of a four week family trip with my wife and children aged 13 and 10 we stayed at two homestays for two days, two of us at Malti's, two of us at Kusum's. Without a doubt this was my favourite part of a fantastic trip.

I'd thought we'd have to endure the two nights stay and wondered especially how my kids would cope. How would we cope with the dirt? What about creepy-crawlies? What about living in the pockets of people we didn't know? What about the food?

From the moment we arrived at Kusum's house their kids took my 10 year old and introduced her to one of their games, playing it endlessly for a couple of hours. We were shown the first room and were pleasantly suprisesd to see that it had decent mosquito nets, electricity and a fan. Two of us were taken to Malti's house and very pleased with the room, the amenities and our host.

What about the dirt? Well, put simply, there wasn't anything I'd call dirt. Yes the floor was a natural floor, no shiny tiles here but the surfaces, cutlery and plates were as clean as they possibly could be. Creepy-crawlies? We had a gecko in our room and I saw a small frog a couple of times but with the potential of mossies - didn't see any - around that's a good thing right? The families? They were wonderful, always smiling, always helpful and a pleasure to be with. My host, Malti, was absolutley lovely, you'll see that in the videos if you watch them.

I won't described the meals we ate there as it's all in the videos and blog articles linked below, but as a precis the food was basic good, wholesome, tasty and not one of us were ill because of it. A typical meal was rice, rotis, dal, potato curry. This was of course a real worry for us and we still had three weeks to go. Okay, so you sit on the floor but if you can cope with that you'll have a wail of a time.

Asha had warned me about the bugs beforehand and I wondered how bad this would be but we never actually saw any - we stayed there on the 4th and 5th August. We did see lots in Gwalior but not in Orchha.

In response to a previous review I understand from Asha that out of the Rs500 I paid per night only Rs100 is taken for the administration, laundry and room furnishings; Rs100 is paid direct to the family; Rs300 is put towards repaying the loans they took to build the rooms for the homestay part. She also told me that many families will have repaid their loans within the next 5 years so (I guess) after that they'll be getting RS400 per night. On top of this amount they get the full amount for the meals they provide.

I wrote quite a lot about Orchha and the homestay on my blog from that trip and hope that the articles, photos and videos may prove useful to someone:
http://monsoon-meandering.winchcombe.org/index.php/posts/569/staying-with-the-locals-in-orchha
http://monsoon-meandering.winchcombe.org/index.php/posts/574/wonderful-first-meal-at-my-homestay
http://monsoon-meandering.winchcombe.org/index.php/posts/586/homestays-a-very-different-side-to-life
http://monsoon-meandering.winchcombe.org/index.php/posts/600/homestay-videos-breakfast-and-kids-playing
(NOTE: If you're using a Reliance connection in India you may not be able to get to the web site as my ISP has banned a lot of their IP addresses.)

I'd really like to congratulate Asha and her organisation on a wonderful community project and we all really, really hope to go back there one day.

Room Tip: Both Malti and Kusum's houses were great.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank kwinchco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Orchha Home-Stay

Property: Orchha Home-Stay
Address: Lakshmi Mandir Road | Ganj Mohalla, Orchha 472246, India
Region: India > Madhya Pradesh > Orchha
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Orchha
Price range (per night): ₹ 835 - ₹ 964
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay with a local family & discover India differently. Orchha is a great place to relax in and discover 16th century monuments. We offer clean and comfortable rooms, furnished in traditional style, built in the courtyard of the host family. The rooms have fans and mosquito nets and the bathroom & toilets are ecological. The family provides home-cooked food and kids have plenty of playmates. The home-stay is a 25 minute walk from the palace. We also have bicycles on rent. This is a social enterprise allowing poor families to benefit from tourism and visitors to see how most families in India live today. Call it responsible tourism or eco tourism - your visit will improve the lives of many and be an experience to remember. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Orchha Home-Stay Madhya Pradesh

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