Childhood Friends Transformed Their Ajji’s Home Into Eco-Friendly Homestay In Maharashtra Village

the kokum tree
by Sanjana Shenoy

The next time you crave to escape from it all-pollution, traffic, and hustle life of Mumbai, just head to The Kokum Tree, an eco-friendly homestay in Maharashtra’s Lonere village in Raigad stay. The beauty of this homestay doesn’t just lie in its rustic interiors or soulful food but in its inspiring origin story as well. Childhood friends Anuja and Sneha transformed their Ajji’s home into a home that welcomes all guests with open arms. Welcome to The Kokum Tree and its sweet, sour, inspiring story.

Inspiration To Transform Ajji’a Home Into Homestay

Architect Anuja Phadke revealed to The Better India that after working in corporate life for a decade, she and her childhood friend Sneha ( an Economics degree holder) decided it was the right time to quit. Their backup plan? If they failed to become successful entrepreneurs they would return to their Mumbai jobs. Anuja’s Ajji ( grandmother) had a small home on her 5-acre large orchard cum forest. The dup decided to transform this home into a homestay. They had the vision to establish an eco-friendly home with a space for community interaction.

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Challenges In Setting Up The Homestay

While Anuja and Sneha were fired up to make their dreams a reality, the road to entrepreneurship certainly wasn’t an easy one. The duo worked hard for months, doing all the heavy lifting and physical labour themselves. There were also times when plumbers, farmworkers and electricians weren’t willing to take orders from the young women. The land and the home belonged to Anuja’s Ajji, but transforming it into an eco-friendly homestay required a lot of hard work and finances. With their finances depleting, the friends wondered when they could start earning.

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The Kokum Tree: Eco-Friendly Homestay For The Soul

Just like the fruits in the forest, Anuja and Sneha’s labour bore fruits. And the duo finally opened their homestay Kokum Tree for guests in 2019. The Kokum Tree, an eco-friendly abode features 4 rooms with attached bathrooms, a kitchen, a common living area and a verandah. There’s also a bamboo cottage for nature lovers and pet parents who’d get their furry companions along. Anuja and Sneha serve farm-to-table Maharashtrian thalis. They practice waste segregation and composting. Children are taught to identify trees, climb them, play in the mud and read books.


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There are also fun activities like yoga, cycling, pottery and more. Guests can visit a wooden deck atop a pond to soak in the breathtaking sunset. Ever since 2019, over 2000 guests have visited The Kokum Tree to date. And if you too want to visit The Kokum Tree, let nothing stop you. Book a cosy room at the homestay for ₹8900 per night and the bamboo cottage for ₹7,900.