For Real Time Updates and Better ExperienceDownload the app Now!
Download the app Now!

Ahmedabad’s homestay culture should flourish, say experts on World Heritage Day

Updated: Apr 18th, 2024

File photo: Homestays in Ahmedabad

Named a UNESCO World Heritage City in July 2015 for its 2600 heritage sites and the centuries-old havelis nestled along the archaic pols, Ahmedabad streets exhibit a history to be proud of.

On the occasion of World Heritage Day, it is imperative to note that despite the havelis set amidst more than 600-year-old architecture, old Ahmedabad has only three homestays and half a dozen heritage hotels, providing limited options for tourists. 

Jaydeep Mehta, a homestay operator in the walled city, informed that since 2015, there has been a consistent demand for such properties in Ahmedabad. 

“While a heritage city fosters cultural significance with its heritage homes, continuous demand for godowns is eroding the living cultural fabric of the city, and we only think about heritage places on Heritage Day,” said Mehta.

“As Ahmedabad has emerged as a world heritage city, its cultural importance should be as important as its commercial or business importance. However, the city’s living culture is vanishing amidst commercial development,” he added.

Ahmedabad’s heritage legacy

Not merely relying on architectural legacies, Ahmedabad also shines as being home to art, music, textiles, food, and jewellery. 

However, somewhere the city has failed to be established like that of Udaipur and Jaisalmer, other cities with heritage sites. Mehta noted that unlike Ahmedabad, several homestays can be found in other heritage cities in India.

Notably, more than 100 Bollywood, Gujarati, and documentary films featuring Ahmedabad can be watched on various platforms.

Homestays in Gujarat

Only after the government’s nod have homestays been permitted for tourists. Gujarat is home to around 90–100 homestays, encouraging cultural exchange. Foreigners visiting are drawn not just to the heritage sites but also to Gujarat’s language, music, textiles, and jewellery. 

However, despite having several hotels and homestays, Ahmedabad has just one official homestay service approved by the government, catering mainly to foreigners and NRIs.

Differences between hotels and homestays

Highlighting the importance of homestays, prof JD Bhola of LD Arts College, who frequently travels to many heritage sites around the world, said, “The whole world is a book, and a reader who does not read it by travelling can be said to be turning the pages of a simple book.”

“When you opt for a homestay with a family, you connect with the culture of that city. A hotel gives you comfort within four walls, but a homestay has a special significance in a cultural heritage site,” he added.

Homestays should grow in Ahmedabad

Homestay culture in Gujarat may clash with traditional family food habits. Unlike Western cultures, where travellers immerse themselves in local life, cultural exchange through homestays remains underdeveloped.

Homestays also encourage cottage industries, handicrafts, and arts in the city.

Experts believe that homestay culture should develop in Ahmedabad.

Also read:

Celebrating 613 years of Ahmedabad, tracing tales and trivia