Best Homestays in India
It was almost a decade back that Kerala pioneered the idea of ‘homestay’ in India. Such an interesting and fascinating idea got popularised to such extent that today, the subcontinent is flourishing with moderately priced and extremely hospitable homestays offered by some wonderful families along the length and the breadth of the nation. Just the way India offers unity in diversities, similarly the country offers a wide array of variety in homestays ranging from urban apartments to warm plantation accommodations.
While some of the families running the homestays in India offer a simple and chaste homely bed and breakfast, others prefer presenting a huge spread of platters along with amenities like airport pick-ups and drops and welcome drinks. Some of the best homestays in the Indian subcontinent are being mentioned below for you to plan your next few visits!
Sirohi House, Old Delhi
Near the Civil Lines of the historical city of Delhi, stands the huge mansion by the name Sirohi House, which used to be the residence of the Maharajah of Sirohi. A private drive beyond the gate would take you to the royal entrance. You would be mesmerized amidst the chandeliers, the ornate fireplace, carved hardwood and portions of Hindu temple. You would feel like thanking the owner Ashok Sahdev for collecting such unique antiques. As a guest, you have the option to choose between two standard and double and two suites, all air-conditioned with attached washrooms and cable TV connections. The buffet, the sit-down meals, the picnics and room service all would delight you. One of the most interesting features of this homestay is the urban garden that would make your heart travel long way away from the hustles of Delhi.
Mr and Mrs Mehra's Home, Dehradun
Away from the bustle of city life, set in a tranquil residential area, Mr and Mrs Mehra's home, Dehradun has a sprawling green lawn and the spectacular views of the Shivalik Hills. Not a single window in this homestay is free from flocks of geraniums that spread out of the window boxes. When you are travelling from Delhi to the Himalayan National Park, this Doon Valley homestay can be the best possible stopover. Along with the natural beauty, you would also be able to enjoy the warm hospitality rendered by Mr. Mehra who would wheel out the drinks trolley while his wife would pamper your taste buds with her famous snacks, tandoori chicken and lamb brain kebabs being the exceptionally sumptuous ones. You are free to borrow the Mehra car and drive down to the Queen of hill stations or Mussoorie and its mysterious woods.
Capella, Northern Goa
The fun and excitement of staying in a Goan house could be easily fulfilled when you spend some quality time sitting in the tropical garden bed of Jamshed and Ayesha Madon's exotic Goan house. This traditionally designed house, located halfway between the Baga beach
and the market town of Mapusa has been constructed by Jamshed, an erstwhile merchant mariner, and Ayesha, an ex-journalist who came here in search of a new life after leaving Mumbai. The current owners of an Italian restaurant by the name J&A's in Baga, this lovely couple has arranged for spacious guest rooms two being inside the house and one in a cottage in the garden. Furnished with antique beds and flashy washrooms with modern amenities, the rooms would beckon you to spend some relaxing hours. You would love the taste of the homemade lunch adorned with rice, curries and salads and a drink from the honesty bar. The beach that is just a 15-minutes drive would be a bonus for you.Address:
376/1, Bokachi Aradi, Parra, Bardez, Goa 403510, IndiaContact:
Vikram and Paaro Ranawat's Home, Jaipur
Paaro, descendent from the Rajput autocracy and her husband Vikram, a retired air force officer own a suburban villa in Western Jaipur. The house is characterised by a range of open spaces that are airy and have a flower-filled atrium around. The antique modern furnishing, the marble floors, the terrace, two guest rooms with a private lounge and of course the attractive self-contained cottage in the garden are sure to lure you to stay longer. You could have a welcome change by visiting the clothing factory owned by Paaro, who also offers Yoga instruction classes, culinary lessons and Hindi classes. You could simply enjoy moments of solitude by strolling in the garden embellished with pomegranate, papaya and custard apple trees.
Colonel's Retreat, Delhi
Located in south Delhi Defence Colony
, the warm abode of Arun and Suman Khanna, the Colonel’s Retreat, named after Arun’s father who was in the Indian Army, welcomes its guests with huge and bright rooms featuring an attractive decor, Wi-Fi, washrooms with modern facilities, cable TV connections, air conditioning system and hospitality platters. You would be served by a courteous staff offering you meals on request. While you can chill out viewing the city from the balcony, you could even try joining Arun on making rounds of Delhi riding a cycle. You could visit the world-renowned Humayun tomb which is at a stone’s throw. Shops, restaurants and markets are also a small walk away from this homestay.Address:
D-418, Defence Colony 110024 Delhi India
Evergreen Estate Bungalow, Mundakayam, Kerala
Between the elevated tea gardens of the Western Ghats and the warm coastal plains, the 1950s constructed Evergreen Estate Bungalow, owned by George and Anju Abraham emanates the feel of Florida and not Kerala. The essence of conventional Indian plantation life is reflected from the concrete decks and the Art Deco curves of this magnificent bungalow which can be seen through the rubber trees of the Mundakayam Valley. Whether you talk about the huge guest rooms that are completely furnished, the whirling ceiling fans, the verandas along with its woven chairs, the bungalow in this tropical garden is sure to sweep your heart away!
It’s been over generations that George’s family has been farming here and he would take immense pleasure is taking you around the rubber factory, the Pullakaya River and Mundakayam's planters' club of the colonial times. You would relish the authentic taste of appams with mild vegetable stew, banana fry, meat-ball curry, fish moily and home farmed fresh fruit juice all from Anju’s kitchen. She would be delighted to share her recipes with you which could be a rare take-back from this homestay experience!Address:
Koottickal Road, Koottickal, Kerala, IndiaContact:
Spiti Homestays, Himachal Pradesh
As the name suggests, Spiti Homestays in Himachal would make you experience a homestay of an entire community. In the forlorn Pin Valley, spread across six villages of high altitude, you could choose from 14 homestays overlooking the frozen Himalayan peaks. The experience of residing in the mud and brick structures would be certainly different from the general accommodations where you would be getting buckets of hot water and find the toilets to be composting squats. This roughness of such a setting would be balanced by the brightly coloured guest rooms that are furnished with rugs and fabrics. The perennially smiling faces of the people, the yak safari, the genuine taste of momos and noodle soup, the revitalising mountain breeze, the untarnished scenery would add to your spirit of rejuvenation.
Nelpura, Alappuzha, Kerala
Nelpura, Alappuzha is a heritage homestay located in the serene edge of the backwaters in Kerala at Kuttanad. Belonging to a Syrian Christian family, Chackochan Edayady where the couple Mr Chacko and his wife Salimma are the owners, this 150 year old homestay is a conventional granary house of Kerala. While being into academics, both of them are still into running the family farm, some acres of coconut palms and watery paddy. The house with a carved wood, a tiled roof that resembles a pagoda and a veranda that wraps around provides its guests with three rooms, two of which are air-conditioned. During your stay, you could not just enjoy a copious serving of fresh and home made food but also meet the locals, take a boat ride or a backwaters trip or simply visit the St Mary's Forane church at Pulinconnoo to seek some peace and seclusion. Address:
Edayady House Monkompu. P. O., Alappuzha, Kerala 688502, IndiaContact:
Nandan Farms, Sawantwadi, Maharashtra
Nandan Farms is the pastoral home in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg region that offers two guest rooms both of which open to a broad veranda overlooking the 12 acres farm of pineapples, coconut palms and cashew. The couple, Ammu and Ashish Padgaonkar believes in offering the feel of real India. You would get hot water, proper washrooms. Within twenty miles are Amboli, the small hill station in the Sahyadri hills and the Vengurla beach, the former to the east and the latter to the west. By hopping on to a train at the Sawantwadi station nearby, you could find yourself in northern parts of Goa in just thirty minutes! Or if you plan to relax in the farms, you can enjoy a gentle swing in the hammock and experience the culinary expertise of Ammu as she prepares fried mackerel and chicken curry in the Malvani-style.Address:
Chivartekdi, at Post - Charate, Sawantwadi, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra 416510, IndiaContact:
+91 94223 74277
Glenora Homestay, Wayanad, Kerala
Glenora is the home to the warm and hospitable Rajagopal family and registered as a "farm tourism provider" located in the rainforests of the northern highlands of Kerala. The special attraction of this house is the huge 90 acres of pepper, lime, betel nut, coffee, guava, ginger, avocado and many more plantations. While the house has three well-furnished rooms, you could even choose to stay in any of the two new cottages both of which have balconies that overlook the attractive plantation along with birds, foliage and monkeys. You could engage in a game of badminton, jeep safaris, trekking trip to the Sunrise Valley, the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the Meenmutty Falls.Address:
Padivayal, Vaduvanchal P.O., Sunrise Valley Rd, Kerala 673581, IndiaContact:
Yangsum Farm, Sikkim
The traditional Sikkimese home in West Sikkim
, the Yangsum Farm is an approximately four-hour drive from Gangtok. It is located in the shadow of the majestic Kanchenjungha and offers a luxurious hideout in this 100 year old heritage home. While you enjoy the sumptuous local cuisines made out of the organic fruits and vegetables of the farm, you would be able to bask in the warmth of the valley of rhododendrons. The soulful chants flowing from the monasteries nearby echo in the mountain walls and soothe your ears as you witness the real essence of the rural life of this area. You could also connect to your childhood days of bedtime stories when your host tells you the interesting stories of Sikkim and its earlier times. The bird-shapes attic is the perfect nocturnal shelter as the sky glitters with uncountable stars and the surroundings turn silent. Address:
P.O. Rinchenpong, District Gyalsing Contact:
Darang Tea Estate, Himachal Pradesh
Amidst the natural beauties of the Kangra Valley
of Himachal Pradesh, the 150-year old Darang Tea Estate, known for being one of the first tea estates planted by an Indian during the British Raj offers warm cottages as homestay. The younger generations of the same family reside in the estate where the 70 acres of tea plantations and the well-maintained and adorned cottages overlook the snow-clad Dhauladhar Range. The intriguing stories of the bygone era are told by the matriarch of the family. You would enjoy the stroll through the Darang village as much as you would do taking a daylong trip to Bir and Billing for paragliding. Whether through the sips of the freshly brewed Darang tea or through the creative cuisines made out of the organic ingredients from the farm, you are sure to have a revitalising vacation!Address:
P.O. Darang, Dist. Kangra – 170 060 Himachal Pradesh, IndiaContact:
Neeru: +91 9816312333
Kuflon Basics, Uttarakhand
After quitting their corporate jobs, Anil and Shree moved to the love of their lives; the mountains in the heart of Uttarakhand’s Garhwal Himalayas. There they built a home, the last one on the picturesque Kuflon hamlet. There are two handcrafted brick walled huts for hosting the guests which offer unhindered vision of the mountains. You would enjoy the hearty meals that would be cooked for you incorporating ingredients from local farmers. The experience of sipping water coming from the Holy Ganges through the creatively installed filters in the mountains is one of the rarest treasures of life. The village located 5000 feet above the sea level offers ample scope for trekking to the lakes of Dodital, the Gangotri and the Yamunotri. You could even bask in the warmth of bonfire as your host shares various fascinating tales with you.Address:
Village Kuflon, Sangamchatti Road, P.O Kalyani, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand-249193 India
Aira Holme in Chhota Shimla
The calm and quiet neighbourhood of Shimla that overlooks the Tara Devi Temple and the woody hills of Chail is where Aira Holme is located. Built by the British Raj in 1870, this estate got inherited by an artist Billy and his wife. The two attractive guest rooms feature huge windows which give you the impression of staying near the sky off the grounds. The hills and the deodar trees that beckon you from the open terrace add to the cozy comfort offered by the wooden attic of Billy that is loaded with unthinkable artwork and old books.Address:
Aira Holme, Chotta Simla, Simla, 171009Contact:
The Dak Bungalow, Uttarakhand
It was in 1905 when the British Raj built The Dak Bungalow in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand
along the Silk Route. It was after a century that the elderly couple Shubha and Pradeep, after quitting their corporate jobs in Delhi moved to the mountains and while working there with an NGO, rescued the building with a lease from the Government of India. Restoring it to its original pomp and splendour with mud walls, high wooden ceilings, royal verandas and fireplaces the Dak Bungalow was opened up as homestay. The delightful homely delicacies of Shubha, the exotic fruit wines of Pradeep and the pristine life on the lap of Nature are some of the incentives for a traveller to stay in this place. The panoramic view of the Trishul and Nanda Devi peaks and the attractive mountain hamlet of Peora are simply irresistible!
Homestay The Taras, Ladakh
Situated in the Ladakhi village of Nyerma, Jammu and Kashmir, a nunnery was established in 2006 for housing nuns who did not have anywhere to spread their teachings. A cosy guest house was built for the nuns for hosting the travellers who were eager to experience more beyond the invigorating beauty of Ladakh. The simplicity and the hardships of life, the touching stories of young nuns, enlightenment about Tibetan Buddhism and hikes along the high Himalayas combine to give a traveller a lifetime experience. The best part of this homestay is that the nunnery gets a financial support from your stay.
The Retreat, Bhimtal, Uttarakhand
The Retreat in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand is known for its intriguing stories. It was in 1930s that Frederick Smetacek escaped the Nazis and somehow boarded a ship heading towards India. Getting into a nuptial bond with a descendant of the famous warrior Tipu Sultan, he established a holiday retreat to usher in diplomats from all over the world. This property is now run by his descendents who are warm hospitable hosts to uncountable travellers who come here to experience the classical style of luxury of an authentic family home that is embellished with cosy fireplaces, antique paraphernalia and lime-washed mud walls. A walk in the woods of Bhimtal, a welcome change of meals with secret Anglo-Indian recipes, the homely hospitality of Paddy and above all, picking tea from the Orange Pokoe tea plantations planted by the British in the 1850s would be as exciting as walking along the lakes of Sattal and unfolding the secrets of the mountains with the Smetacek boys. Address:
Bhowali Range, Uttarakhand 263136, India
Contact: +91 81710 31968
Ramgarh Heritage Villa, Himachal Pradesh
Lying between Kullu
in Himachal Pradesh, Ramgarh Heritage Villa used to be a five star hotel once upon a time, hosting stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru and celebrities like Dev Anand. Years later, it got inherited by Nakul Khullar, the son of an apple baron of the region who restored the colonial appeal and opened it to travellers as homestay. The gently flowing Beas and the orchards of apple and kiwi, the magnificent Dhauladhar Range, the monasteries nearby all contribute to a blissful journey and stay in this place. The Ramgarh Heritage Villa is only an hour drive from the Kullu airport.
Address: Ramgarh Heritage Villa, Raison, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India.Address:
Kullu-Manali, off National Highway 21, RaisonContact:
+91 9816248514,+91 9817069114
Innisfree Farm, Uttarakhand
Innisfree Farm, located in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand is a peaceful abode owned by the descendent of a royal family of Burma and his Latvian wife. The apparently unassuming entrance of this abode called Innisfree, named after a poem by WB Yeats would lead you to a forest filled with tall oak and deodar trees. The home is built out of recycled wood and stone and the organic farm grows virtually everything. Hence, you would love to feast on fresh milk, cottage cheese and butter from the resident cows, pancakes that are stuffed with cooking apples from the orchard, organic eggs and delicious jams and the local cuisines cooked with local ingredients. As you walk down the mountains along with your hospitable hostess to catch a glimpse of the lifestyle in this region, you would long to spend more days in this homestay!Contact:
La Villa Bethany, Mussoorie
Fifteen minutes from Mall Road, Mussoorie
in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, La Villa Bethany was a home for missionaries once upon a time. Sunita and Amarjeet restored this mansion of the colonial times as they moved to the Himalayan region renouncing their corporate careers in Delhi. You would have to see it to believe it how crossing just fifteen minutes from the maddening crowd of the Mall Road of Mussoorie, you can enter a completely different world of peace, and tranquillity. The pathway leading to the villa would take you to a wonderland of the Doon Valley where you can be yourself and feel simply out-of-the-world! The Villa is the sole self-sustaining home of this region which relies on solar energy, organic farming and rainwater harvesting.Address:
Near Kellogg Memorial Church Landour Cantt,
Mussoorie, Uttarakhand 248179, IndiaContact:
+91 135 263 0054
Kannur Beach House, Keral
In the remote part of northern Kerala, the Kannur Beach House is a conventional Kerala style home that is a century old. Amidst the coconut plantations beside a freshwater lagoon this homestay is barely a few minutes walk away from the Thottada beach. It gives you the feel of the old saying, “Home, sweet home”! If you wish to relax and unwind in a sea shore, you could not probably get a better place than this. You could get involved in boating, bird watching, walking and swimming at your heart’s delight.Address:
Thottada Beach, Kannur (Cannanore), IndiaContact:
The Homestead, Corbett
The luxurious accommodations that the Homestead at Corbett offers, would make you feel no less than a cherished and intimate resort. The magnificence of the property is larger-than-life which would sweep you off your feet as you arrive at the place. If you have been looking for some extraordinary pampering, you should not give a second thought and visit this charismatic homestay. Your desire for fun and adventures would also be fulfilled by the outdoor and farm life which include trips to the meadows, bullock cart rides, day trip to the Corbett National Park
, milking the resident cows, star gazing with telescope, barbecues, bonfires, nature walks and of course, the elephant rides! The special attraction of this place is the spa pavilion with Turkish steam bath and gym.
Pirumadara, Pin- 244715
Jim Corbett National Park, District Nainital, Uttrakhand, IndiaContact:
+91 9927082128, +91 9837782328, +91 9810048864, +91 9810055329
Red Hill Nature Resort, Tamil Nadu
More than 7000 feet above the sea level and almost 30 kilometres from Ooty,
the Red Hill Nature Resort enjoys the exclusive privilege of a private position in the untarnished upper Nilgiri mountains. The large tea gardens, the picturesque countryside and the eye-catchy rural setup would amuse you as much as the fields of cabbages and carrots. The restored heritage bungalow constructed in 1875 is the chief attraction of this property looks all the more ravishing with the views of the mountains and the lake.
The tea garden spreading across 250 acres hosts this bungalow which features colonial style guest rooms, eight in number and standalone cottages. All of these have bathtubs, fireplaces and verandas. You could indulge in fishing, camping, mountain biking, swimming, bird watching and yoga sessions just to unwind and enjoy a perfect vacation. The food cooked in the fire-wood stove would delight your taste buds with hitherto unknown pleasures.Address:
Emerald, Nilgiris, TamilNadu 643209, IndiaContact:
Olaulim Backyards, Goa
If you are looking for a natural retreat, then Olaulim Backyards is your ideal destination. Located in the Goa backwaters in the Olaulim village, this homestay is run by a Finnish-Indian couple who stay with their two children and their pets. Three attractive cottages have been added by the couple all of which are unique in terms of colour and size. Placed in different levels of the backyard foliage, these cottages overlook paddy fields, coconut plantations and swimming pools. Although pastoral in nature, the cottages offer ultimate comfort to the guests especially with the memorably built washrooms. You could experience the fun of having a shower under the canopy of open Goan sky and tall trees since the washrooms are partly open air. For having an exciting holiday, you could indulge in canoeing, fishing, cycling, kayaking, swimming, bird watching and also visiting the local taverns.Address:
Olaulim, Goa 403523Contact:
Devra Homestay, Rajasthan
Devra Homestay is a farmhouse in Rajasthan of the colonial style that emphasizes on natural lifestyle with organic flavour. Devra, in the local language means a tribal temple and the temple of the host family is worshipped by the local rural inhabitants. The panoramic views of the hills and the stretch of farmland till the City Palace are truly amazing. The guest rooms have window seats bearing the view of the Monsoon Palace mountaintop. The spacious area meant for sitting, the terraces and the balconies adorn the whole house. You could trek in the Aravalli range, take village walks, visit temples, attend yoga classes, get involved in painting, gardening, sightseeing and interacting with the farm animals.Address:
Sisarma - Bujra Road, Kalarohi, Udaipur - 313001, Rajasthan, IndiaContact:
+91 9982242236, +91 9828163311
The Bangala, Tamil Nadu
The Tamil word Bangala, meaning "The Bungalow", is the name of the heritage bungalow that was constructed in 1910. Although in the ancient times it used to entertain VIP guests, it was in 1998 that it got restored and converted into a heritage homestay by its owners. Conveniently located in Karaikudi, at the heart of the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, you would experience Chettinad cuisines being served on banana leaves. The library and swimming pool are meant for relaxation. You could also visit the local Chettinad residences, local markets and villages, sop for antiques, diamonds, saris, furniture and also the renowned Chettinad tiles. If you are a foodie, you would especially this homestay since it offers seven course meals, kitchen tours, exclusive packages for exploring the local cuisines and also culinary demonstrations.Address:
Devakottai Road, Senjai, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu 630001, IndiaContact:
+91 4565 220 221
Hidden Forest Retreat, Gangtok
A small piece of heaven just a couple of kilometres away from Gangtok
is where the Hidden Forest Retreat is located. It is the perfect homestay for people who yearn for privacy and tranquility. This homestay is spread over an area of three acres full of fruits, trees, flowers and forest. The forty-year old orchard of the host family has got extended to form this homestay which got opened for travellers in 2003. It mainly features twelve large guest rooms having balconies that overlook mountains and paddy fields. Your preference is the host’s command; local delicacies would be presented as per your preferences. There is no fixed menu to abide by.The veranda gives the untarnished vidion of the Gangtok town, the Rumtek Monastery and the river Rani Khola. Apart from nature walk, you could enjoy trekking, tour of the nursery, local sightseeing. However, if you are find of nurseries, then you should ideally visit during the months of March and April when Spring is in full bloom!Address:
Middle Sichey, Gangtok - 737101, Sikkim, IndiaContact:
+91 3592-205197, +91 9474981367, +91 9434137409
Thippanahalli Homestay, Karnataka
Thippanahalli Homestay is an extensive red manor having 28 rooms and situated around 15 kilometres from Chikamagalur, in the luxuriant coffee district of Karnataka. Constructed in the year 1934, this palatial mansion is a heritage plantation bungalow where the hosts hail from a long queue of planters. Since 1860 they have been growing coffee in the district. Missing the extended family that the hosts had earlier grown up with, they opened the house for guests so that their home could be shared with many. The guest rooms are five in number out of which only one is inside the mansion and the rest four are standalone cottages within the property. As you take as stroll inside the mansion, you would appreciate the artwork, the rare paintings, the artefacts and the hue collection of antique furniture that have been there over five generations. A huge cactus tree, more than fifty years old is one of the special attractions of the garden. While you could relax watching birds, you could also actively take part in trekking and driving along the mountains, golfing and also taking coffee plantation tours.
The best of homestays would not only offer you some of the best kind of accommodations, but also make you relish some authentic cuisines made out of organic ingredients and served with personalised care and attention. Above all, such homestays can be the perfect key to rejuvenation!Address:
160, Thippanahalli Estate, Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka 577130, IndiaContact:
+91 82622 10730