Background


Mountain Homestays was envisioned to fill the void that was observed during the work of Global Himalayan Expedition in rural solar electrifications in Ladakh. Putting facts in perspective, Ladakh is the biggest district of the country with tourism as the primary mover of the economy here. More than 350,000 tourists visit Ladakh in the short summer season of 4-5 months. However, most tourism activities are restricted to few selective destinations putting tremendous pressure on the local resources and environment. This also means that a large part of the region remains ignored from the main stage of development, primarily driven by tourism. Mountain Homestays was launched to address the same through sustainable and responsible tourism in the 60+ villages electrified by GHE in the region.

Concept and Vision


Mountain Homestays is a community development initiative working in-line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, using tourism as a medium to alleviate rural economies by creating village level entrepreneurs. The focus is on reaching out to marginalized communities living in the remotest parts of Himalayan belt in India, such as in Ladakh region in the northern India, to promote sustainable and inclusive progress. By creating livelihood opportunities at the doorsteps of these isolated villages, we can help curb the major issues of urban migration and cultural loss while enabling their aspirations for a promising future.

Focus areas


Mountain homestays has been primarily focusing on the following areas:

Livelihood through community tourism

  • Developing and promoting quality homestays in villages to enable income through tourism
  • Enabling the women who run the homestays to become financially independent
  • Creating entrepreneurs in villages to provide services of hospitality, tour guides and transport.
  • Creating market access for local handicrafts and organic farming products.
Preservation of local heritage

  • Promoting centuries old heritage in the villages by engaging tourists.
  • Engaging tourists in learning local handicraft, allowing them to take back authentic souvenirs.
  • Themed excursions to villages with focus on local heritage, history and handicrafts.
Women empowerment

  • Hospitality training of women to maintain homestay quality and to handle guests.
  • More confident women when they start earning income and play a role in family finances.
  • Increased awareness among women about health, hygience and nutrition when they handle guests.
  • A mutual exchange of learnings when they interact with guests from various demographics and cultures.

Team


Gaganpreet Singh

Leader, Mountain Homestays

Gaganpreet is an avid adventurer, marathoner and nature lover. He has scaled a lot of treks in Himalayas and has been actively involved in wildlife conservation in Eastern ghats of India. After his journey with GHE in 2015 he decided to quit his job at Microsoft and dedicate himself towards environmental sustainability through community empowerment.

Sonam Nurbu

Director, Sun Trail Travels

Mr.Sonam Nurbu is Mountain Homestay leader for the Markha valley autonomous region. He is also the counsellor of this region which have 13 villages, majority of them lie inside the Hemis National Park. Mr.Sonam's role has been pivotal in our solar electrifications and homestay development in the Markha villages.

Varun Loomba

Team Leader, GHE

Varun is a traveler by heart, consultant by profession, and aviation enthusiast by love. He has lived in or traveled to almost every state in India, visited 15 countries, ran marathons, including the prestigious Boston marathon. He leads the pen pal exchange program between students in Kashmir and those in in USA. He also works as a part-time UN volunteer helping the needs of education in rural areas of the world.

Jaideep Bansal

Energy Access Leader, GHE

Jaideep is an Operations Manager by profession and a musician /adventure junkie by love. As a member of the Global Shapers Chandigarh Hub, he is motivated towards making a positive impact in the community. The GHE 1.0 was a transforming experience for him, and inspired by the individuals he met, he decided to get involved with GHE.

Tenzin Sonam

Director, Adventure Treks (Ladakh)

Mr. Tenzin Sonam is the Mountain Homestay leader for Zanskar region. Tenzin is also the Councillor of Lungnak region and runs a 10 year Old adventure tour operator firm. He is very focused on promoting Solar based Homestays in Lugnak to promote tourism in villages and contributes towards economic development of Zanksar region through Mountain Homestays.

Paras Loomba

Founder, GHE

Paras Loomba is the Founder of the Global Himalayan Expedition. After a successful International Antarctica Expedition in 2012, led by Robert Swan, Paras quit his corporate job to work in the field of renewable energy and sustainable rural development. Passionate about cutting edge technologies, Paras is actively involved in providing solar based electrification to rural India.

Partners


Sun Trail Travels

Sun trail travels is a social travel company based out of Leh that was started by a local villager turned entrepreneur, Tsering Dorjay. Dorjey with the guidance and support from GHE's leadership started his own trekking and homestay company in Ladakh to promote income generation in the remote villages of Ladakh. Sun Trails is the official booking partner for Mountain Homestays in Ladakh and provide experience based customized Itineraries for trekkers and mountain enthusiasts. Sun Trails through its initiative Green Himalayan Store also promotes Local village handicrafts and organic products as means to livelihood for local populous. Suntrail travels which is also an official ALTOA partner.

Woodland

Woodland as a brand has always promoted sustainable tourism interwining adventure with empowerment of communities in the mountains. As a gear sponsor for GHE's annual expedition, Woodland supported our solar electrifications and development of the marginilized communities in Ladakh. We now extended the partnership for better homestays experiences in our remote Himalayan villages.

IEEE Smart Village

IEEE Smart Village is a donor supported signature program of the IEEE Foundation with a vision to bring basic electrical and educational services to more than 50 million people by 2025. The program is currently serving more than 50,000 people through local partners in Haiti, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Sudan, Kenya, Namibia, Zambia and India. IEEE Smart village supports the Mountain Homestays initiative by providing electricity through Solar microgrids solutions as a medium to further economic development in the Himalayan region.

Global Himalayan Expedition

Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) is an initiative that focuses on providing clean energy and education access to remote off-grid communities across the Himalayan ranges of north India. GHE’s objective is to implement technological solutions in a sustainable, scalable, and environmentally beneficial manner, leading to an overall development of the community while empowering the local village population. GHE conducts leadership expeditions that includes an international cast of volunteers that help setup Education bases or solar-powered microgrids as community enterprises, all located above 13,000 feet

YAFCAD

The Youth Association for Conservation and Development in Hemis National Park aims at helping the Hemis National park inhabitants to preserve and develop their valleys. To do so, the YAFCAD HNP act on various axis: culture and heritage, energy, wastes, home-stays, agriculture, health and education.

This action takes place in Hemis National Park, the kingdom of the Snow Leopard in India, as a consequence the conservation of this animal is one of the main goals of the association: protection of the animal itself but also definition of solutions with the villagers to allow the best cohabitation with the big cat (for example protection of the livestock).