Untravel Weekends: Atithi Parinay

Surrounded by the Western Ghats, Atithi Parinay offers eco friendly huts and tree houses, traditional food and warm local hospitality.


Surrounded by the Western Ghats, Atithi Parinay offers eco friendly huts and tree houses, traditional food and warm local hospitality. 

In most urban jungles, there is this perennial feeling of living in boxes. Whether it is your 800 ft. apartment or the car you drive around even to a jogger’s park or the cubicle you clock in and out of, life as we know it has become confined within walls and boxes.

Atithi Parinay urges you to step out of your urban boxes (both physical and mental) and spread your cramped soul to 4 Acres of lush green land set amidst mango, coconut & banana plantations. Surrounded by the Western Ghats, Atithi Parinay is located along the interiors of the Konkan coast in the peaceful surroundings of Kotawade, just 15kms from Ratnagiri & Ganapatipule.

Atithi Parinay offers travellers the chance to come home to the cozy comfort of eco friendly cottages with hot piping traditional food made by the locals of the region. Truly a woman’s touch one might remark, but the homestay is the joint venture of the mother-daughter duo of Vasudha Sahasrabudhe and Medha Sahasrabudhe.

A visitor attempts to climb a coconut tree at Atithi Parinay

Mrs. Vasudha Sahasrabudhe started her career in entrepreneurship at 56 with her daughter although hospitality has been a natural forte for her. The warmth of the hospitality can easily be credited to the atmosphere she has set up with the host locals and guests from all over the world.

The tree houses, tents & cottages homestay can visibly be attributed to Medha Sahasrabudhe’s interior designer skills. With a course in “Ecology and Environment” from the Ecological Society, Pune, Medha always dreamt of having her own resort.

We talk to her about how she realized this dream in a sustainable homestay like Atithi Parinay.

Can you share your story of setting up Aithi Parinay? Your background and motivation for starting this venture.

We started Atithi Parinay in January 2012. It all started when one of my friends randomly asked me to start a home-stay while visiting Ganapatipule. The idea seemed interesting but I was not so sure of anything else. And then, for the next 6 months we were discussing how to go above it.

This property was developed by my father. He was a landscape contractor, and wanted to come and settle here. We were settled in Pune at that time. My father passed away in 2008. And I started coming to Kotwade frequently. We always used to come here for our summer vacation, as my natives are from this village.

We started off with 2 rooms in our own house. The response from guests was really encouraging. Motivation came from smallest of incidents – One of my cousins came over for lunch and he liked the setting so much although he himself comes from a small town. It was not new for us as we were visiting this place since childhood, but for someone from a different place this place seemed very relaxing to unwind.

I always loved the countryside and nature so a one year PG Diploma in “Sustainable Management of Natural Resources & Nature Conservation” followed with the Ecological Society of Pune. The love for plants and agriculture was always there but the course changed my perspective for organic agriculture, responsible tourism and the work done in the space.

What are the 5 aspects of responsible travel you have worked on and what it took to implement?

We wanted to expand in 6 months’ time after we started, and we made up our minds to make all the accommodation and dining area with sustainable material. Local labor was used for the construction and traditional materials were used in construction of tree house and cottage.

With regard to food, we source most of the vegetables, rice and milk from our own farm or source it from the nearby village. The food served is local vegetarian Maharashtrian cuisine that is made by local people.

Founder of Atithi Parinay, Medha Sahasrabudhe with the locals and a guest at the homestay

Initially, the food and accommodation ideas were not acceptable by villagers and some travelers. Villagers used to mock off my ideas when I wanted to make thatched roof or mud walls. “Zamana aage jaa raha hai, aur aap piche” (the world is moving forward and you’re going backwards) was their comment. It was disappointing at first but I stuck to my plans.

Also, the food supplier from the village, I really had to convince him about local food, and this is what is important to serve. Make our food a brand in itself.

We also do not serve mineral water in our resort, thus, reducing plastic waste.

What has been the impact of your venture – on the local people, environment, the place itself, traveler sensitization and anything else you’ d like to stress on.

We have not reached a point where we can impact local people in big way. But yes, we have given employment to about 12-15 people in the village. We are slowly educating villagers about waste management, pollution in the nearby river etc. It will be a while to see the results but we are off to a promising start. Some smaller homestays have also sprung up that uses the same model. We’re happy that we are providing direction to some more people with the same motivation.

Visitors at one the nearby virgin beaches indulge in bird watching

Can you share experiences/anecdotes from travelers who’ve visited?

We have just returned to Mumbai after a heavenly holiday at Atithi Parinay near Ratnagiri. Our stay was pleasant from the minute we entered AP. Back to nature feeling with wonderful hospitality. Very clean rooms and toilet. The naturally green surroundings with clean fresh air was a blessing. Enjoyed the Maharashtrian veg food immensely, care was taken to introduce us to authentic fare. Would love to repeat our visit after the monsoons. Beaches like Aare Waare was just out of this world. Enjoy with friends, elders and family a wholesome holiday.

– Chitra and Prakash Rao

We stayed here for two nights. A lovely farm stay surrounded by trees and filled with birdsong.
Medha the host is very welcoming and took us for a tour of the nearby village and helped us to buy organic mangos. The food is excellent and just like home cooked food. This is a great base too for exploring the nearby beaches as well as visiting Ganpatiphule. However, once you are on the property you don’t feel like leaving!

– By Mark (New Zealand)

We were a family of 8 and booked 2 tents and 1 tree house for 3 nights. A very relaxing and refreshing stay indeed.
Reaching there – This was a challenge even with Google maps. A long scenic drive through the ghats – it took us 8 hours from Mumbai. Medha was very patient and can provide directions with her eyes closed.

Stay – Fantastic. Quiet. Clean. Comfortable bed and blankets. Towels and bed sheets are replaced once in 3 days. Room/Bathrooms cleaned every day.
Food – Perfect to our taste – Traditional Konkan style with an extremely hospitable cook attending to every food requirement.
Host – Medha is an outstanding host and made us feel comfortable during our entire stay. Her practical attention to detail is echoed by her well trained team. I remember when we requested a carom board, she went all the way to Ratnagiri to buy one.

Spending time:

1) At Athiti Parinay – Morning walks, badminton, and darts, toddler toys and books as well.

2) Around Athiti Parinay – Beaches, Temples, and Forts. Also visit the cashew factory near Athiti Pariney gates.

Overall, a fantastic stay with an outstanding host, clean and green surroundings, and home cooked food.

Thanks Medha!!

– Shwetha

Contact: (02352) 240121, info@atithiparinay.com. Visit them at http://www.atithiparinay.com/

Untravel Weekends is a feature series on resorts, homestays and guesthouses that are built and run on the foundations of responsible travel by means of nature conservation, using alternative energy, reducing waste, recycling, rain water harvesting, organic farming, sourcing and feeding into the local economy or promoting indigenous cultures. 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. more

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