Shantiniketan. And all that we wanted was that the stay should be rich in experience but sparse on the ‘luxury quotient’. And that’s how we chanced upon Mitali Homestays in Shantiniketan.
How is the stay at Mitali Homestays, Shantiniketan? Located about a 10-minute rickshaw drive from Vishwa Bharati, Mitali Homestays is what Shantiniketan living all about. A 50-year old bungalow converted to meet the homestay requirement, it is run by the elderly Dey couple – Mr Dey is an ex-UN official who came back to his family home upon retirement and started the homestay.
Mital Homestays comprises 5 rooms, 3 attached to the main house and 2 in the annexe. We booked what they call the Honeymoon Suite that was on the first floor of the annexe and had 2 air-conditioned rooms, a kitchenette (with the basic utensils and provisions for tea/coffee), attached bathroom and a personal balcony. Imagine waking up to the chirping of the birds and then sipping tea in the balcony while still in your sleeping robes. Bliss!!
But soon you’d itch to explore the property before the breakfast bell goes off, for the grounds are quite huge. The large gate opens to a well-kept lawn surrounded by lovely, old flowering trees and bushes on all sides. The vegetable garden is, in one word, delightful to a city-dweller – they grow just about every vegetable organically! Even have their own mushroom cultivation. And the fruit orchard is rich with mango trees, litchi trees, jack-fruit, guava, papaya. You’d be squealing like a child when the staff tells you that the jam, marmalade, or the curry, the fruit basket is filled with their own produce.
How is the food at Mitali Homestays, Shantiniketan? Splendid! The lady of the house, Mrs Dey, personally oversees every meal and the effect is for everybody to see, nay, to taste. Every lunch, every dinner is a different cuisine (from Bengali to Lebanese to oriental to European) and you are spoilt for choice. We’d be out the whole day but come back straight to Mitali during the meal times just so as not to miss the good food! Plus, they have a roof-top dining area. Beat that! The experience is so delightful; you really have to experience it to know it. We loved it, and so did the other guests. We struck conversations across the table and soon we made a couple of friends with whom we compared notes and accepted/offered travelling tips.
What about the other amenities at Mitali Homestays, Shantiniketan?
- Speak with Mr Dey should you need a car to yourself for the day and he will help make the arrangements.
- Ditto for any excursion that you may want to undertake in and around and need feedback/tips.
- Mrs Dey maintains her own boutique called DesignAsia where she sells some stylish Indian and semi-Western clothes made with the Indian fabrics and embroidered by the village folks.
- The family also arranges for Baul folk music and dance performance in the house. We, along with the other guests, had confirmed our interest in having an exclusive performance on the final day of our stay, and one was arranged in the evening. With the Baul troupe singing some very soul-stirring numbers, it was a fitting end to our Shantiniketan odyssey.
We Strongly recommend Mitali Homestays in Shantiniketan. It won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for the year 2013.
Plan a trip to Shantinektan during Poush Mela in December with our compilation of itinerary, sight-seeing suggestions, Mitali homestay review, shopping and food recommendations. Read the posts in the link — Best Shantiniketan Itinerary and Blogs