The Himalayas support a high altitude ecosystem with rare and endangered flora and fauna.
In 1999, local people in Ladakh, India expressed an interest in generating income from increasing numbers of visitors that passed through their villages, and wanted to offer a tourism experience that would benefit visitors, hosts and the local environment.
We started Himalayan Homestays in Ladakh in 2002; we being the Snow Leopard Conservancy, The Mountain Institute, local tour operators and villagers living in important snow leopard areas. The first Homestays were established in Hemis National Park, “snow leopard capital of India,” in 2002 and later on more villagers joined from Sham, another important snow leopard area.
Also in 2002, our colleagues at the Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim started developing Himalayan Homestays in Sikkim with the Lepcha community of Dzongu. In stark contrast to Ladakh, Sikkim in north east India is a mountain area with very high rainfall. Not surprisingly Sikkim is very green and lush and recognized globally as a “biodiversity hotspot.”
Whether in Ladakh, Sikkim or other mountain areas our interests are the same – to give the visitor a truly memorable experience, and to generate benefits and opportunities for local communities while protecting their rich natural and cultural heritage for future generations.
Coming soon – Himalayan Homestays in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh in 2004.
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