Homestays are the preferred choice of stay for backpackers in India. Homestays and small guest houses are a huge way of life for the locals in the Ladakh region. Anyone who has traveled this region would recommend a homestay to a hotel. This is where you can get close to the culture, warmth, and life of the land and socialize with the locals.
It was in the fall of 2015, I was descending after the tough trek up the Stok Kangri mountain together with my friend. This was my biggest trek until then and the hardships were greater than I anticipated. At least for starters, Stok Kangri is not an easy trek. We decided to stay at Stok village for the night before heading back to Leh.
Since, Leh is a good 14-15 km from Stok, my guides at Ladakh Mitra made sure we were tended to traditional Ladhakhi style at a wonderful homestay in Stok village.
It was late afternoon, “Julley” we said to each other and were greeted by the hosts who were ready to take in two hungry, tired, exhausted, almost dead trekkers just back from climbing a mountain which is deemed as the highest trekkable peak in India. With no energy left and extremely aching bodies, we went off to sleep right after a hot shower. It had been a week since we even used a conventional bathroom. What happens in the mountains stays in the mountains.
In the evening, we were invited for some traditional Ladakhi dinner of steamed lentils, rice and veggies with the famous ‘butter tea‘, a salty tea made of yak butter traditionally served at home and to top it off there was some good Thukpa soup.
That night, we had our best sleep since the trekking started. Warm blankets, eyes shut, no more pain and agony and the nail-biting cold! The next morning, we were served with a simple breakfast spread of Ladakhi bread and some hot tea. It sat well with the overcast morning that day and we felt like freshly baked cookies.
The host led us to his wonderful garden full of glowing flowers and vegetables. The homestay had great views of the open farming fields amongst surrounding mountains. Much more peaceful here than in Leh town. With the season closing in September/October, they would have to stop and start farming all over again after winter. The whole of winter is usually spent indoors.
Next door to the homestay lies a 200-year-old heritage home belonging to the same family. The host, Mr. Tsewang Paldan, was kind enough to take us on a tour of this two centuries-old Ladakhi home to show us what life was like in the past. The home is now uninhabited and is well maintained as a small museum of sorts for the homestay guests to see a glimpse into Ladakh’s past.
Take a look at this wonderful homestay and a peek inside the heritage home in Stok, Ladakh.
There’s a lot more interesting stuff to see inside the heritage home which I’ll leave you to explore when you get there. Together with the tranquil countryside feeling, the yellow sunflowers, the loving hospitality of the family, you are sure to have a comfortable stay in Stok village. A near perfect ending for me after a week climbing mountains.
If you would like to enquire about this homestay, kindly contact:
Tsewang Paldan – +91 941 921 8421
alternatively, you can also visit their Facebook page.
If you would like to trek with Ladakh Mitra, kindly contact:
Tashi Norbu Jayo – +91 959 692 9195