Afsana Homestay: Where Women’s Wisdom Meets Himalayan Beauty

Experience the magic of Himalayan hospitality at Afsana Homestay; this charming mud house offers stunning views, local flavours, and a peaceful retreat.

Provides a memorable retreat and empowers you to discover the secrets to her success, guided by the inspiring woman who runs it.

Afsana Homestay

Embark on a journey to the serene beauty of Manali and indulge in the ultimate retreat at Afsana Homestay. Nestled near the iconic Hidimba Temple, this 50-year-old mud house promises a getaway.

Experience the allure of nature as you wake up to breathtaking views of the Himalayas and lush forests right outside your window. With spacious rooms and ample sunlight streaming in, Afsana Homestay feels like a home away from home.

Delight your taste buds with authentic local cuisines served amidst the tranquillity of this secluded haven. From exploring apple orchards to witnessing majestic sunsets at Lion King Rock, there’s no shortage of experiences to cherish nearby.

The wisdom of Afsana Homestay’s successful owner, who share invaluable lessons and tips for creating a memorable stay:

The secrets behind Afsana Homestay’s success. It highlights the importance of self-belief, community engagement, fostering a genuine homestay experience, hiring the right team, continuous learning, and promoting responsible tourism.

Whether travelling with loved ones, embarking on a solo adventure, or seeking a peaceful workstation, Afsana Homestay welcomes you with open arms. Discover the essence of responsible tourism amidst the splendour of Manali’s natural beauty.


Let’s meet Heena, the inspiring woman who runs this homestay. She shares her inspiring journey of establishing a homestay in Manali and the challenges and rewards of being a woman entrepreneur in the hospitality industry.


Heena, Founder Afsana Homestay
Heena, what inspired you to establish your Homestay? 

After spending over a decade in Chandigarh, completing my education and working for four years, my health took a toll, prompting me to return to my roots in the serene landscapes of Kullu, my hometown. During my time back home, I focused on rejuvenating my health while engaging in freelance work.  

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic further deepened my connection to my heritage and the simplicity of rural life.

Living with my grandparents in their traditional mud house, surrounded by the beauty of nature and immersed in village activities like tending to our farms and exploring local culture, I found solace and inspiration.  

From this authentic rural experience, the idea of establishing a homestay in a mudhouse, offering guests a taste of village life, blossomed within me.

 Thus, my journey as a women entrepreneur in the hospitality sector began, fueled by a desire to share the tranquillity and richness of my upbringing with others. 

Can you tell us about the journey that led you to where you are today? 

My journey to where I am today can be described as the rebirth of Heena 2.0.  Returning to my roots in the mountains, I was deeply influenced by the values instilled in me by my late grandparents, who continued to inspire me even in their absence. 

Initially, entrepreneurship wasn’t on my radar. Still, as I immersed myself in the local community, I realized the potential of hospitality and tourism in Manali and across  Himachal Pradesh beyond agriculture.

Over a year, I dedicated myself to thorough research and sought insights from friends in the industry. 


Managing the social media accounts of friends who owned homestays/hotels provided invaluable hands-on experience. Along this journey, I encountered challenges and growth moments, including learning experiences and occasional betrayals.

However, overcoming these obstacles means I’ve arrived at where I stand today—a testament to resilience, determination, and the unwavering support of those who have shaped my path. 

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur in this industry? 

As a woman entrepreneur in this industry, I’ve encountered numerous challenges,  beginning with the scepticism I faced due to my small-city background. Many questioned my capabilities simply because of my gender, undermining my aspirations and suggesting that marriage should be my priority instead.

Despite my family’s initial resistance, I remained resolute in pursuing my dream.  Facing societal pressure and familial expectations, I embarked on this journey fueled by sheer determination and a rebellious spirit. 

The journey wasn’t without its share of setbacks. Relatives and acquaintances often questioned my choices, casting doubts on my prospects and urging my family to prioritize my marriage over my professional endeavours.

Even some friends, whom I had supported wholeheartedly in the past, turned their backs on me, spreading false rumours and withholding their support—a painful but enlightening experience that revealed their true colours. 

Practical challenges also emerged, such as sourcing reliable labour and navigating the logistical hurdles of operating a homestay nestled amidst apple orchards. However,  being a local afforded me certain advantages, allowing me to leverage my negotiation skills and familial connections to overcome these obstacles. Through perseverance and resourcefulness, I established a successful homestay and learned valuable lessons in resilience and self-reliance.

In retrospect, I can proudly say that I’ve built a thriving business and a home—a testament to the strength and determination of women in entrepreneurship

Can you share a memorable success story or moment from your experience running the Homestay? 

Choosing a single success story or memorable moment from my experience running the Homestay is challenging, as numerous instances hold special significance. A standout success story would undoubtedly be the first 

anniversary of my homestay, Afsana. Reflecting on the year, I realized we had welcomed over 250 guests, each leaving with a smile. The connections I’ve formed are lasting, with many guests returning multiple times, reaffirming my passion for hosting. 

One of the most memorable moments occurred during the opening celebration of  Afsana. It was a profoundly personal achievement to video call my father during the event, sharing the joy and excitement of that day. Hearing him say, ‘I’m proud of you,  you did it,’ and doing a virtual cheers was incredibly touching.

That moment of validation and accomplishment was a celebration of the homestay’s opening and a testament to the hard work and dedication that brought my vision to life. 

Every interaction with my guests is unique and contributes to the mosaic of memorable experiences that define my journey with Afsana. 

What advice would you give other women aspiring to start their businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector? 

Starting your own business, especially in the hospitality sector, is an exhilarating yet challenging journey. My first advice to other women venturing into this field is to trust your instincts and stay true to your vision despite what society might say or expect from you. Listen to your heart and the passion that drives you. 

From a practical standpoint, I strongly advise against entering into partnerships at the outset. While it might seem appealing to share responsibilities, it can often lead to complications and conflicts of interest. It’s usually more effective to start independently and hire staff to support your operations. This approach allows you to maintain control and truly understand every facet of your business. 

Conducting thorough market research is crucial. Understand the dynamics of the location where you intend to set up your business—know your audience, your competitors, and what specific needs you can fulfil. 

In terms of operations, try to handle as much of them as possible personally in the early stages.  This hands-on experience is invaluable; it not only helps you grasp the complexities of your business but also equips you with the knowledge to make informed decisions as you expand. 

Lastly, be bold and steadfast in your pursuits. The path of entrepreneurship requires a certain degree of rebellion against the norm and the resilience to keep going, even when 

times are tough. Always be vigilant and proactive about protecting your business and your dreams. 

Embrace these challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Each obstacle is a stepping stone towards your success in the hospitality industry.

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