Since September, working professionals from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are increasingly shifting base to hotels and homestays in the mountainous terrains to work from home outside the walls of their homes.
The duration is fairly longer than what their visitors would clock in pre-Covid, reveal homestay owners. A travel company called, Work From Mountains, received over 40 long-stay guests, of which, two Bengaluru-based girls have made a booking for seven months.
Prashant Mathawan, who co-founded this concept with two others in July, says they have sold 1,500 nights since September.
The company works in collaboration with 12 cottages in Manali, Pah Valley, Shimla and Tirthan valley. Co-founder Ankit Sood says the guests are mostly between 20-45 years old, and power back up remains one of their prime concerns.
“We slash prices for those who come to stay for a longer run, so it is a win-win situation. We get a lot of enquiries, but out of 100, only 10 materialise because we have to make them understand what the place is and what facilities we provide.
The added advantage of staying at these places is you can explore these places.” Apart from walks and small excursions, guests are interested in farm activities and even willing to teach English to kids from the villages nearby.
Sanjay Austa, who launched this kind of farm workstation called Meena Bagh in Ratnari, Shimla, in September, is getting a good response. “The minimum duration people come to stay for is five-six days, and we have had at least over 20 guests stay with us in the past two months.
Most of them come in groups or are families with kids from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Punjab. Post work, they love indulging in farm activities like sheep shearing, apple picking, and vegetable growing,” adds Austa.
The Kumaoni cottage called Kot Naikana in Jageshwar, Uttarakhand, has hosted six families since September, with some members as working professionals. Co-owner Pushpanjali Singh says, “We certainly get people from Delhi-NCR and make sure to take them for a walk, hike or a village experience. Many opt to cook their own meals though we have the option of providing meals.” This homestay recommends that visitors stay at least for three nights as the place is really good for birding.
Khem Bharti, of the eponymous homestay in Tirthan says that those opting for longer stays get almost 50 per cent discount. “I have one guest from Gurugram who is staying here for a month. Two journalists from Finland, who live in Delhi, also stayed with us for a week. Right now, we have no space for more guests,” Bharti adds.
Amidst the pine forest in Nahan is Bantony Cottage that has been fully booked since Himachal opened its borders. Divyashree Kumari, who is the owner and one of the directors of Sirmur Heritage Stays, says, their guests come mostly from Delhi and Mumbai. “Earlier, we wanted to encourage people to stay away from gadgets, but post Covid, we have arranged work desks and proper internet connectivity to make their work from mountains comfortable.”