Hostel & Backpackers Culture In India
Hostels during travel? Isn’t that a ‘western’ thing? How can we Indians stay at hostels when we go travelling with the family and the whole paraphernalia associated with our great travels? Well this is how most of us would have reacted a few years back, until now, when things are seeing a change and I am glad we are part of it.
We Indians are a funny lot in some ways. Since birth, we follow what our parents say, which is understandable and expected; nothing funny there. However, even when we step into adulthood, most of our decisions are still taken by our parents or at least they continue to be ‘family decisions’.
So whether it is the job we take up, the house we rent, the car we buy or for that matter, even the person we marry, are all part of the ‘family decisions’. Therefore, it is no surprise when the holidays we take are decided by the family, for the whole family, and we travel as a family everywhere.
However, with today’s youth being more independent and earning at a younger age, the need for realizing freedom and taking a break is beginning to arise. I am happy we have finally realized that a young man’s travel needs are and must be, quite different from what granny’s travel needs can be. And so, pops up the need for solo travels, frequent travels, lightweight travels, and ultimately travels that are made possible and easy by ensuring that Backpacking trips in India are possible.
It is great to see that the youth in India is more experimental. They want to experience the country and its real side, out of their comfort zones, not from the windows of a 5-star hotel, but through local experiences gathered from their backpacking trips in India.
Hostels are no longer completely a Western concept in India today. In fact YHA (Youth Hostels Association of India) provides hostels/accommodations along with various adventure trips across India.
The concept of the backpackers’ hostel is to provide stay to travelers, which is affordable, clean, and comfortable. It provides travelers an opportunity for to interact with each other about their travel experiences. It is a welcome chain indeed. It helps you to travel independently, make your own choices, interact with locals, and increase your experimentation avenues out of your comfort zone.
Long time back in 2013, a hostel named Asterix opened in Goa but shut down immediately. However, the foreigner crowd flocking for Backpacking trips in India are on a budget and it is important that such options be made available.
Recent travel centric Indian movies too have made the backpacker hostels famous and have motivated the Indian traveler to opt for this. Many young Indians travelling abroad have experienced living in clean and affordable hostels with ample socializing amongst a variety of travelers their age. They have found such travels enriching and free-minded.
That’s how Zostel, India’s first chain of branded backpacker’s hostel, was set up. And now there are plenty of them; in almost all cities, not just cosmopolitan ones like Goa and Mumbai but even in small cities like Amritsar. This is a refreshing and welcome change on the Indian map. Goan hostels like The jungle hostel cater to everything from arranging for two wheelers to designing travel itinerary. There are dorms (dormitories) and single rooms too. Dorms can be opted in various occupancies say 10 in one room to 3 in one room.
Travelers admit that such arrangements are budgeted but highly uplifting. They provide means of social interactions amongst various ethnic groups. Since most of the hostels allow travelers to use common kitchen for cooking their own food so it adds up new experience in the journey. I feel it is always better to travel rich in terms of experience than just money. Also you get a moment to interact and gel up with bunch of like-minded crowd jostling around than living in absolute solitude on a 5-star property.
- Zostel is the first chain of hostels with one each in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Agra, Bir, Varanasi, Delhi, Goa and Rishikesh etc.
- Stand alone hostels like Moustache hostel and The Stops hostel are in Delhi.
- Then there are Jugaadus and Inn-dia hostels in Amritsar.
- Vedanta Wake up has two branches in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Le pension in Jaipur provides fabulous explorations in the pink city.
Which one will you prefer next? Hasn’t the thought of solo Backpacking trips in India enticed you by now? So, go ahead and try it.