In your to-do list for India, it is normally about Indian food, UNESCO World Heritage sites, mighty forts and fairy-tale palaces, pristine villages and some more depending upon your personal interests.
But to understand a destination, it is important to know its culture as well. Culture introduces you to the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular society. So to know the culture, visiting a local family must find place in your list. Staying with a family gives you direct access to understand Indian culture. For a wheelchair holiday, we have a family in Delhi with provides easy wheelchair accessibility to their home and to their living areas
Family in Indian context is an institution itself. It is important to understand that family plays a central role in the lives of most Indians. In middle class families, priority is still given to family preferences than over those of the individual. Important personal decisions such as marriage and career paths – are usually made in consultation with one’s family. Majority of Indians still find their life partner in “arranged marriages”.
Indians still live in large joint families with different generations living together under one roof. It was believed that with passage of time, nuclear households would increase immensely in India but it has increased only moderately.
Visiting a family is generally informal. Besides interacting with the host’s family to know their customs, food habits, language, culture and festivals you will also eat home cooked food. You may even try your hand in the kitchen and learn about optimum usage of Indian spices.
There’s a big difference between the Indian food served in restaurants and hotels, and the food that’s cooked in an Indian home. It’s a lot lighter, and has more flavor.
If you get an opportunity, you must celebrate a festival with an Indian family…it will give you real meaning of a festival.
While you may hear that real India lives in Indian villages but you can also experience the real India while staying in a residential neighbourhood with a family.
The phrase “Atithi Devo Bhava” – Guest is God – is often experienced the best during a family visit.