Social Startups

Culture Aangan Homestays : Promoting Rural Development via Tourism

Culture Aangan makes use of Cultural Tourism to create a sustainable livelihood for rural communities.

Visitors to Culture Aangan home stay’s get a great, first hand look at village life in a rural setting.
Rural communities are benefited from promoting cultural tourism by creation of economic opportunities that previously did not exist.

Aangan, literally means “courtyard”. An Aangan has always been central to the life of a village family, as a space to meet, perform ceremonies, dry food and bond as a family.
Culture Aangan adopts this concept to provide visitors with a first hand experience into rural life, yet ensuring that basic traveler comforts are met.

The beginnings

In May 2005, Culture Aangan founder, Rashmi Sawant began work on a project with the goal to connect city dwellers with life in the villages of rural India. The experience involved staying with a rural family and getting to know a way of life that is vastly different from city lifestyles. At the same time, travelers made a contribution to the local economy of the village.
What started off as a passion for promoting local culture, soon turned into a social enterprise. Culture Aangan launched its pilot in 2009 in the southernmost region of the coastal strip of Maharashtra, India.

The Culture Aangan model

Culture Aangan promotes Cultural home stay experiences to its guests. Approximately 70% of the profits go back to the rural communities.
Culture Aangan adopts a unique model to cultural tourism. The company works with village authorities to transform old buildings into restaurants or activity areas. The local residents invest to convert a part of their own home into rooms with modern bathing facilities and amenities.
Culture Aangan oversees the management and maintenance of homes as well as ensures services are provided per expectations. As a guest at Culture Aangan, you are literally a guest of the entire village.

Promoting local business and culture

At Culture Aangan home stays, all aspects of the home stay are supplied by the locals. This includes cultural activities as well as local produce.
For example, spices, meat, fish, vegetables, fabrics and construction materials used at the resort is sourced or produced locally and supplied where necessary. This creates jobs for the local communities, and a market for goods and services in their own villages.

Culture Aangan supports the preservation of local art and folk culture by providing an art gallery where guests can interact with craftsmen and learn local craft.
The company’s non-profit foundation supports women self help groups by training them, helping them with quality control and product marketing. All products are used within the home stays.

Social benefits

Traditionally, villages need to depend on Government grants to build and maintain roads and schools and provide safe drinking for residents.
Culture Aangan helps to make villages self-sustaining and independent of Government funding by creating local job opportunities. This has an effect of reducing migration of village youth to the cities to find work.

To date, over 300 people have vacationed with Culture Aangan and have helped towards improving the economy of local communities. For further information you may look up Culture Aangan via their website or Facebook page.