Home stay for nature tourism in Manipur

Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh *

Landscape of Thanga - with Loktak Lake in background on 10th February 2018
Landscape of Thanga - with Loktak Lake in background on 10th February 2018 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam

I heard of the Home Stay at Thanga and I was fascinated by that. I thought of going there one day and stay at least one night there with my family, but as luck would have it, two times my programme had to be scuttled due one reason or the other.

Only after retirement, I had the chance, during the visit of my sister in law who is married to Jalandhar, because her husband was very fond of Loktak. There are many people in India and abroad who are simply mad after Loktak, Keibul Lamjao and of course Manipur.

The arrangements were easy because the Mobile number was available and staff of Keibul Lamjao National park, which is very close to Thanga had the details. I really enjoyed the experience, though the sojourn was a bit short.

Perhaps, one of the best means of eco-friendly ecotourism is the Home Stay. Home stays are facilities provided in the houses of local volunteers for stay of the tourists in a tourist place, may be a nature area or any other tourists site.

It was earlier even known under the name of paying guests, where a visitor will stay in a house not being a hotel. In the olden days, it was students which stayed in Stay Homes.

Nowadays, due to large scale stay of students in local, cheap (and mostly substandard) accommodations, the name seems to have a different connotation. But it is a fact that the very term Home stay came from such stays, according to Mariam Webster's Dictionary, a homestay is defined as "a stay at a residence by a traveller and especially by a visiting foreign student who is hosted by a local family".

The experience and knowledge one gain from staying in the house of local people is astonishing and is beyond once expectation always. Home stays have been used as a powerful tool in PA management and nature conservation.

In eco-tourism, the adage is "Shoot but shoot with a camera" and "Sell the forests but without harvesting" and this way the capital remain intact while sale proceeds can be more than the material costs of the trees and animals there.

It is so eco-friendly that we can do away the notion of eco-terrorism from eco-tourism activities. The idea have been successfully implemented in many nature areas like Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc. Home stay programme are also very good tool for income generation and improving socio economy of the local people without draining the natural resources.

Homestays have become so popular nowadays that it has become a brand in itself, many big set ups such as Havelis, Big houses etc. are opening up to Home Stays. There are many Home Stay facilities coming as can be seen in the web, but let us go for the true and mini scale rural family run home stays with the true sense of homestays in nature areas.

The advantages of Home stay tourism are that:
1. The income that accrues to the house owner is from Lodging charge and fooding charge which are very reasonable and not like that of Hotels
2. The House owner can be good local guide and can earn charges for the same which is beneficial for both the tourists and the host.
3. The local guides are definitely better than the outside guides, with little training they can of much value to the tourists.
4. The local products and traditional knowledge can be best marketed.

The advantages that the tourists get are as follows:
1. He can be very close to nature which is his main aim of the visit.
2. He can get first hand knowledge of local food, culture and traditions
3. The expenses on lodging and fooding can be drastically cut.
4. The tourists have a source of information at hand.

While many states in the country have made headways in Homestays, Manipur had very little in this respect. We have heard of a few ones at Ukhrul, Churachandpur and Moirang. There are a more nearer Imphal but I think they not so well organised sector and just in the offing.

Any way let me discuss more about homestays in nature areas and particularly in Loktak which has tremendous potential. That way, the one at Thanga is quite modest and popular. With the backdrop of picturesque Loktak and the historical background of Thanga Island, it is advantage Maipakchao, the visionary and pioneer who started this homestay in the remote island in Loktak (Of course Thanga is very popular on fb due to consistent effort by Tamo Rachandra).

With KLNP, the only floating national park and only home of Dancing Deer, the Brow Antlered Deer at its doorstep, ithas added advantage. There is also a beautiful hillock which can be used for trekking and which can be made more relevant to home stays. All Kudos to Shri Maipakchao.

I met him and talked at length about his plans, they have a society now and they are going to set up a chain of such homes. That will be quite beneficial for the tourists and for local people of Thanga. Once, the interested people are a bit organised, I am sure that there will be investment from the Government or other sectors.

In Sikkim, near Kanchenjunga National Park and North Sikkim, there are many Stay Homes funded by the Government for upliftment of socio economy and nature conservation. Handled properly, tourism is no pressure to nature, rather it is a way of marketing nature without harvesting. The Sikkim Government used to give money for two rooms of pucca house with attached toilet for such homes.

With unique culinary items of noodles, dhukpa, tongba etc. and with plenty of Monasteries and nature, such homes are doing wonders. Here in Manipur too, specially for Thanga, with lots of waters for boating, the Unique Phoom Houses, lots of birds and fishes and of course KLNP nearby, any number of stay homes at Thanga shall be sustainable.

The day of my visit, I saw many foreigners, Dutch and Japanese, visiting Thanga, and going for a swim even in mid winter. Swimming in Loktak, a large freshwater lake in the hilly region of eastern India, one of Ramsar Wetland could be a memory to be cherished.

Will it too much to say that the water of Loktak can be sold without removing from Loktak? I liked the idea of Maipakchao to promote the Lai Haraoba of local Sacred Groves and associate it with homestays.

It will be in a way like Dussehra in Kullu valley. With a friendly nature and oriental hospitality of our people, these homes shall be wonderful.

The number of islands forming Thanga and history behind how the island was connected to mainland etc. could be interesting information (though I feel that from tourist point of view, island character would be more attractive, could be connected by bridges) to the tourists.

The only disadvantage that the home stay tourism may have is the inexperience handling of tour itinerary by the host which may entail precious time lost to the tourists and professional handling of issues. For this, the home stay hosts and guides can be given required trainings.

It can be popularised as the best cottage industry in the nature areas of other places of Manipur also. With this, I am sure that the home stay shall be a viable tourism alternative in a conflict region like Manipur where infrastructure in far away and remote areas are distant dreams.

* Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on 11 March , 2018 .

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #36: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Saraighat Bridge - An Expedition
  • Meeting with MP Dr Bimol Akoijam
  • Manipur: 11 medal (5 gold) @ Natl Taekwondo
  • Socialization and the Two "Meads"
  • The Power of Poppy - 36 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Raghumani Ningthoujam
  • Chilli Chicken Delivers a Flavorful Punch
  • International Day of Yoga 2024
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Top 10 health threat
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Taste vs Health
  • Fiasco of UGC-NET, NEET 2024
  • From NEET to NET: It's time to fix NTA
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Proposed Palm Plantation behind Jiri violence?
  • 'Why Impose War on Us'
  • Why workers most affected by scorching heat?
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Id Festival- 'Id-Ul-Azha' :: Book
  • World Day to Combat Desertification 2024
  • NDPP did not lose LS due to local problem
  • RSS chief says, priority Manipur
  • What if not IIT ?
  • Waiting for a response from the PM
  • The test of leadership failed
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #35: Download
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Triathlon : Manipur bag 6 medals (3 gold)
  • Illegal immigrants/fugitives from Myanmar
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • A solution to Meitei-Kuki-Zo conflict
  • The Power of Poppy - 35 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: R K Brojen Singh
  • Brief sketch on General Balaram Sougaijamba
  • Non-violent for peaceful, mutual co-existence
  • Homeless person ..alcoholism & defeated TB
  • Cancer on rise among young adults
  • Defending, fighting for Idea of Manipur
  • From partiality to complicity
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • 'Modi must announce finality of Naga pacts'
  • Gliding over Brahmaputra
  • Question leaks cause stress among student
  • Home remedies for prickly heat
  • After IIT, AIIMS it is now IIM
  • Stealing spotlight from Manipur crisis
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • Strongly condemns violence in Jiribam
  • Lessons from outcome of LS election
  • Tumcho releases "Goodness of God"
  • Right diagnostic for antimicrobial resistance
  • 12th June is World Day against Child Labour
  • Hands of geo-politics ?
  • The row over NEET-2014
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD