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I N D R A S H A N   H O M E S T A Y
 
Indrashan Homestay  is an authorized and licensed Homestay of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) who launched this ambitious programmein 1992.  The RTDC wanted to give an additional option to guests from abroad as well as Indian to experience Home Hospitality which was prevalent in the West in the garb of “Bed & Breakfast”.  RTDC went a step ahead and allowed Hosts to serve dinner too to the guests  which made the guests feel at home  and also experience the Rajasthani Hospitality which was at its best in private homes !!!  The RTDC launched this programme in 1992 and inspected  various homes and Hosts and gave licences to more thatn a hundred Hosts in Jodhpur !! Indrashan was one of them.
 
We started with a solitary room and did our best to promote and receive guests but at the end of the season, it was a big disappointment because only 03 guests arrived during the whole season !!! Many other Hosts did not even get these and so we all got together and went to RTDC and told them to send guests ! But they flatly told us that their job was to give licenses and to promote then to an extent. Most went back unhappy but we decide to stay on and promote ourselves and requested RTDC for help. Luckily there were dynamic people at RTDC in Jodhpur and were very helpful all the way. They decided to promote (all) of us on their website, took out many brouchures and were generally very encouraging. We also visited various local Travel Agencies to give us business but were naturally suspicious – would the guests like a private home to stay in with all the restrictions and habits of Hosts and other shortcomings. They were thus reluctant to give business. But there was a silver lining – there were three peak periods during each season and Travel Agents were seen running from pillar to post to get accommodations for their guest during the Oct/Nov Pushkar period; Christmas-New Year period and The Desert Festival in February in Jaisalmer. These were the periods the Agents required room and any kind of decent accommodation was good enough to see then through. These were the times when the local Travel Agenst passed on business to us Homestay owners. Thus our business grew slowly, though not in leaps and bounds !!.
 
Slowly and steadily we gained confidence and realized there was potential in this and so built/renovated some more rooms and now total five in all.  We renovated all baths/toilets, added modern furniture to the existing collection of Chandrashekhar’s grandfather and generally made the rooms more appealing to the guests.  RTDC sent us Editors of Guide Books, Travel Agents took notice of us because we helped them in thime of their distress and guests themselves started talking about us giving us immense word of mouth publicity.  There is nothing like word of mouth publicity because a potential guests would rather believe someone who has experienced what we have to offer rather than all the other written material.  Even today, 70% of our guests are recommended by those who have experienced us/our hospitality.  The Rough Guides, The Special Places to Stay in India by Alistair Sawday and others visited us and saw for themselves how well we looked after our guests that they gave us fabulous reviews;  The Trip Advisor and other Portals had several guests writing about their experiences with us.  Thus slowly our guests started arriving without any suspicion or hitch.
 
Our philosophy is very simple – look after the guests as well as one can and give them the best – something that they will never get in a hotel. Therefore we almost insist the guests have dinner with us as well, apart from Breakfast which they do.  The dinner time is the best time when the interactions between and Guests and the Hosts is the best.  We sit in the Drawing Room or our Courtyard sipping a Sundowner and talking about everything under the earth – History, Culture, Caste System, Recent News – anything under the sun.  The Gusts thus know that there are very good human beings in India too – educated, learned and confident to discuss things very meaningfully.  We advise guests where to go and what to do, where to have their lunch and where to go for shopping etc.  They become very close friends and trust us totally because they know we are not going to mislead or misguide them.  Often we have guests who have been roughed up in Delhi and Agra and wanted to go back home by the earliest flight but when they came in contact with us and experienced the humane touch, they felt much relieved and carried on with their tour.  Many, having fallen ill, thank God that they fell ill in Jodhpur at our Homestay because they were taken care as a family.  And when we look after them so well, they feel much grateful and obliged and want to give us the world !!!  We also have a lot of retired, single guests who come and stay for six weeks at a stretch.  They get so attached to us and our ways that they want to come again and again !!!
 
We build up so much trust in the Guests that they begin to have implicit faith us and our guidance.  The friendship and relationship is long lasting and forever – we ar ein touch with 90% of our guests since inception through Birthday/New Year greetings ! An we often go abroad and believe us, we do not have to pay any money for our accommodations and meals – and sometimes sightseeings.  Often we are not able to oblige our Hosts abroad by not being able to be with them  in their own country and there is immense mutual disappointment. 
 
Our rooms are very simple with basic amenities like clean linen, neat and clean baths/toilets, good food and the way in which we make the guests feel at home as one of us.  The guests too reciprocate and mingle with us as if they are our own family members.  They stay for a longer time, laze around after doing their sightseeings and often ask Bhavna, the Hostess to teach them cooking.  Bhavna has started giving Cookery Classes/Demonstrations to the guests in which she demonstrates Vegetarian, Non-Vegetarian dishes, Snacks and Desserts and they eat the food that is cooked by/for them.  These Cookery Classes have become very popular so much so that even Agents in Delhi have put these on the itineraries and even guests staying in other hotels come to learn cooking from Bhavna.
 
Our dedication and devotion can be gauged from the fact that we are on Position No.1 among the 53 properties that are in Jodhpur of our category.  We are always more concerned about the happiness  of our Guests rather than the money we may make.  We try our best and sometimes our efforts may not be upto the Guests’ expectations.  But so far such a situation has not arisen and guests have always gone home with nostalgic memories from Indrashan.  We serve the guests to the hilt and do not snoop on them and keep track of all that they are having – we leave it to the guests to tell us what they have had before checking out and we bill them accordingly.  100% guests are honest and tell us all that they should be charged.  There ar etimes when guests have booked and cannot turn up because of unavoidable circumstances – in which case they wish to pay but we do not charge and request them not to feel guilty.  If they do, we request them to pay to charity which is much appreciated.
 
We have just enough rooms which we as a family can look after and have no intentions of increasing because then the personal touch will go and we will be like any other commercial entity.  Often, we have to be out on social commitments and so who looks after the guests ?? It is my 82 year old mother Ba, who acts as the Hostess (even when we are there, she mingles with the guest also). The guests feel amazed that an 82 year old lady can speak in fluent – no Queen’s English !!! Ba tells stories about the Raj and how she adjusted with the modern ways and makes very interesting conversations with the guests.  Guests are often heard telling us that their stay at Indrashan was the highlight of the trip.
 
So this is the story of Indrashan – happy and contented Hosts who love mrting and hosting guests and look after them to the best of thieabilities.  We try to be ourselves as natural as can be and request the guests  too to be a member of our family.  This attitude removes all mistrust that may be in the minds of guests and they feel so happy to be a part of us.  Foreigners are in the habit of early dinner – we too have adopted this healthy habit and they love to talk and drink after their supper.  In this way they may keep sitting and drinking amongst themselves and allow us to sleep.  They may have a drink or two and before checking out, they inform us to bill them for all they have had in our absence ! Often there are guests from different countries and there is always a lively discussions on various subjects.  In winters specially, we sit in the Couryardsurrounding a Fire and drinks and dinner go on and it makes alovely atmosphere and environment  !!!
 
We have had all types of guests from the richest (we hosted the richest banker from Mexico who came in his own aircraft and stay with us) andofcourse we have the bagpackers too. However, the maximum visitors to Indrashan are the old and middle aged, specially the retired people who have time at their disposal and want to use it maximum.   But all of them go back with fond memories of their stay at Indrashan and often come back just to stay with us for old times sake.  They may come to India again to visit another area but make it a point to stay with us for sometime. It is our nature and hospitality that brings then back to us again and again.  Speaks volumes about out devotion and commitment !!
 
 
 
 
 
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