Mountain Homestays was launched in 2016 as a flagship initiative under the aegis of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE). GHE is an impact venture that focuses on providing clean energy and education access for the remote communities in the Ladakh region of India. Ladakh is a high altitude, cold desert in the Himalayas with an average altitude of 12000 feet. Life there is harsh, and due to tough terrain and remoteness, numerous villages do not have access to electricity. Since 2013, GHE have closely worked with the communities to setup an education base and install solar micro-grids in 53 remote villages. To alleviate poverty and address urban migration, they are creating alternate livelihood opportunities for the villagers through homestay based tourism. These unexplored rural destinations in Ladakh let the visitors experience what it's like to live closest to the real Himalayan culture.
Social Enterprise started in 2016| Local/Foreign Owned with 80% local staff
They have created 22 homestays in their solar villages through partnership with local villages. Most of these villages are remote and poor, facing issues of urban migration and culture loss. They are promoting these homestays to alleviate poverty and preserve the local art & culture. All these homestays are run by village women who take care of visiting tourists. Since Aug 2016, 300+ tourists visited these villages, adding income to these families & engaging in local village life. They help in farming, learn about the regions history, folklore, try local dances, and the Ladakh’s favorite recreation, Archery.
The harsh mountain terrain and remoteness make these communities most vulnerable to climate change, with unprecedented rains, rising temperatures and melting glaciers already creating problems for these communities.
All the homestays they are promoting are in solar villages. Before their intervention, these villages lacked access to electricity and relied on kerosene lamps for lighting in the night. With 53 villages solar electrified, Mountain Homestays have saved an enormous amount of carbon footprint.
Four of their solar villages are inside the Hemis National Park, the largest protected area in India, containing the highest density of snow leopards in the world. Working closely with these communities, and promoting responsible tourism ensure protection of endangered species and other wildlife that share this habitat with these villagers.