You’re not exactly staying in someone’s village home, but it’s the next best thing. Just started in February 2015, the Barauli Community Homestay Village provides a taste of authentic village-life in a Tharu village that is a stone’s throw from Chitwan National Park.
Accommodation is provided in twelve little cottages that have been built in the village. All rooms are simply furnished, but offer you everything you need for a comfortable stay. Each cottage has a modern attached bathroom and comfortable beds. The accommodation is basic, but rooms are attractive and clean. The village women live close by and ‘own’ the cottages, with their names on a board outside. They take care of their guests like they were staying in their own homes. Whilst you might not be exactly staying in the families’ homes, this is a very close and nice second choice. The houses of Tharu villagers are very small and not well-equipped for taking in guests, but in the community home stay cottages, guests have the opportunity to get a close-up glimpse into typical village life.
Arriving at the village, I was welcomed by some of the villagers who presented me with flowers and refreshments. After settling into my beautiful little cottage, I was given the option to cycle or explore the village on foot. Bicycles can be rented or you can walk around the neighboring area and visit village school. Many of the women don’t know much English, but this was never a problem. Smiles and laughter from the best communication. Passing the fish ponds where villagers rear cap and the newly planted rice paddies, we finished up by the Narayani River, a perfect place to admire the setting sun over a cup of tea brought by one of the girls.
The following afternoon a group from G Adventures arrived, coming up from a morning’s sightseeing at Lumbini. After a warm welcome and a tour of the village, we were all treated to a classic performance of the traditional Tharu stick dance. Reminiscent of English Morris dancing with much clacking of stakes, the guys danced first by themselves, and then with the girls joining in. Most students or young farmers from the village, everyone seemed to be having great fun. The villagers and small children came to join the guests and by the end of the show, everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves.
One of the former chefs from Tiger Tops is now cooking at the Barauli Community Homestay. Offering a simple but very good menu, the food was delicious. Starting with the best gundruk soup I’d ever tasted, this was followed by an excellent dal bhat, served with fish from the village fish ponds and chicken. I was so impressed by the soup that the following evening, I went into the kitchen to learn how it was made.
In the morning, guests go on a jeep safari in the community forest area that forms a buffer zone of the national park across the river. There is no shortage of wildlife and birds here. While you might not expect to see a tiger, I saw a one-horned rhino bathing in a stream and a cute little barking deer grazing by the trail.
Sponsored in large part by Royal Mountain Travel and G Adventures, groups come for one night, about three times a week except during the monsoon. Other guests who would like to stay here, are very welcome and can contact Royal Mountain Travel to check when groups are there and book their stay.
If you would like to book to stay in Baurali Community Homestay, you can book at CommunityHomestays.com.
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