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Visitors to India are being offered the chance to stay in a 'slum' hotel to experience first-hand the reality of extreme poverty in the country.

The recently-opened hotel will host tourists in a cramped one-bedroom Mumbai home alongside 16 members of the same family.

Guests will have a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and home-cooked food but will need to share a toilet with 50 other residents of the same building.

Lodgers will sleep in a separate room on a tiny two-person mattress and hosts say they are willing to admit unmarried couples – but only if they are foreigners.

A night's stay will cost 2,000 rupees (£22) and every penny will go to the family and the wider community.

The venture is the brainchild of local Ravi Sansi and his work colleague David Bijl. Bijl, an NGO worker who is originally from Amsterdam, says the business is intended to give tourists a deeper understanding of realities that face the city's inhabitants. Around 60% of Mumbai's residents are believed to live in similarly deprived conditions.

"Visitors come in, take a few snapshots for their Facebook page and go off without really understanding anything," he said. "I have worked in many slums and I know there is a positive impact for both sides when an outsider takes an interest in slum dwellers' lives and how they cope by connecting with them" he told The Guardian.

A Facebook page has been set up to give potential guests an accurate representation of basic conditions at the unofficial hotel:

"You'll be staying in a separate room for maximum two people (one single mattress). The family stays in a living room/bedroom/kitchen where you can go to socialise. Bathroom is shared with the family, toilets are shared with the community.

"This is a real experience and so are the pictures, not doctored or only shot from the right angles, but made to give you an honest impression of what your stay will be like."

The scheme is not without its critics: some say 'slum tourism' is insensitive to millions of people living in poverty around the world.

Jockin Arputham, president of global advocacy group Slum Dwellers International, says the project is counterproductive and will not help the vast majority of the city's residents.

"These tours are meaningless and a stay for a night will be meaningless. These are not objects in a museum or animals in a zoo. It is a community, real people living their lives. Staying the night helps neither the visitor nor the family," he told The Guardian.