Does the idea of a homestay sound appealing to you? In India, homestays are fast gaining a wide popularity amongst travelers and tourists. The reasons behind this are many. Homestays are not just economical but also a great way of interacting with the locals, getting acquainted with their way of life and enjoying fresh, delicious homemade meals.
Certain homestays in India, however, are not just limited to excellent accommodations and tasty meals, but also deliver certain special experiences, depending on the region you may be staying in. Now, if the idea of a homestay has aroused you enough, we bring you the 10 best homestays in India for a soulful retreat. Next time you plan a trip to India, or across India, try staying from any one of these homestays. The experience will be worth it.
The Homestead Corbett, Uttarakhand
A homestay that feels like a resort that would be the best way to describe The Homestay Corbett in Uttarakhand. From the outside, however, the homestay does not betray much of what lies inside. It’s only when you step inside do you get an idea of it all. This one is for those who enjoy their share of pampering and want some of that good old comfortable stay. That does not mean, however, that it lacks excitement or is limited to delivering luxurious experiences. There are many activities to be tried outdoors.
What to Do: Enjoy bullock cart rides, exploring the fields and trying your hand at farm life, star gazing, fishing, camping, bonfires, elephant rides and nature walks.
Special Features: Sprawling grounds, swimming pool and spa pavilion with Turkish steam bath and gymnasium.
Meenmutty Heights Homestay, Kerala
Meenmutty Heights Homestay is one of the best family homestays in India for a soulful retreat and perfect for those who cherish the beauty of nature. Located in Wayanad in Kerala amidst a 200 acre estate, it is placed in the lap of nature. Tranquility envelops you, and all you can experience is the sights and sounds of nature. During your stay here, you learn to reconnect with nature and listen to its symphonies. If you are the more adventurous type, even then this place has something for you. In addition, the outstanding hospitality promises to win your heart.
What to do: Follow the plantation trail, enjoy a nature walk, collect flowers and shells, and enjoy bird watching.
Special features: Indoor and outdoor games, wonderful views of Meenmutty waterfalls from the resort, campfire and plantation visits.
Nature’s Treat Homestay, Kerala
Nature’s Treat Homestay in Munnar is one of the best places for spending your summer holidays in India. Staying amidst the soothing environs of Munnar can in itself be a lovely experience. That experience is embellished by the relaxed stay at the homestay with the various activities and experiences it offers. Staying here lets you reconnect with nature, enjoy the hospitality of the host family and relax in many other ways. Having left the crowd and commotion far behind, you enjoy the bliss and solitude surrounding you. Are your lungs desperately screaming for some fresh air? You will find plenty of fresh healthy mountain air in this place.
What to do: Visit the natural garden or the green house, enjoy the homely surroundings or a morning walk that leads to Mangappara village. You can also explore the spice plantations.
Special features: Badminton and table tennis court.
Thippanahalli Homestay, Karnataka
Everything about Thippanahalli Homestay is special, and upon visiting it, you will know why. Situated at a distance of almost 15km from Chikmagalur in the fertile coffee district of southwest Karnataka, this mansion is in fact a heritage plantation bungalow which was built in 1934. The heritage part of the homestay doesn’t end there however. Its hosts come from a long line of planters, and have been growing coffee in the district since 1860. The idea behind converting it into a homestay was to let people share their experiences along with their homes. With all that fascinating history and heritage, a stay here will leave you with warm memories.
What to do: Enjoy tours to coffee plantations, try trekking and driving in the mountains, bird watching and golfing.
Special features: The homestay boasts a wonderful collection of artefacts, chandeliers, carpets, dolls and antique furniture, all of which has been collected for over five generations. In addition, the garden also has a huge cactus tree which is more than 50 years old.
Vembanad House, Kerala
One of the best homestays for family vacation in India is the Vembanad House located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake along the Kerala backwaters. If you have imagined a lovely retreat enveloped by still water on three sides which provides an escape from the world, then this is where you should come to. In fact, the homestay is an old ancestral home which was restored to its former condition by its hosts. In its interiors, you will come across some exquisite wood furniture and artefacts, while the exteriors provide you with views of the paddy fields.
What to do: Take cooking lessons and enjoy fishing with locals, walk through the paddy fields, go shopping in the local markets, enjoy open air dining, Ayurvedic massage and houseboat trips along Kerala backwaters, learn about the coir industry and take Yoga classes.
Special features: Enjoy the splendid isolation on the banks of Vembanad Lake, go night fishing and catch your own seafood.
Raj Mandir Boutique Homestay, Rajasthan
Raj Mandir Boutique Homestay in Jodhpur in Rajasthan is one of the best homestays in Rajasthan. Located in a garden, the homestay is a haveli which is 250 years old and located just 200m from the Mehrangarh Fort. Each of the rooms offer a balcony, which means that you can enjoy the outstanding views of the surroundings. Its proximity to the prominent tourist attractions in Jodhpur means that you can always set off and explore them at your own convenience. When it comes to a comfortable stay, you will get more than what you expect.
What to do: Visit the nearby tourist attractions like the Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum and Mehrangarh Fort.
Special Features: Outdoor fireplace, massage, special diet meals.
Olaulim Backyards, Goa
To enjoy all that Goa has to offer while staying and enjoying the hospitality of locals, stay at the Olaulim Backyards in Goa. If you have ever wanted to feel the beauty of Goa up close, this is how you do it. Located on the Goa backwaters in Olaulim village around 30 minutes from Panaji, the capital of Goa, it is run by a Finnish-Indian couple who also stay there with their two children and several adorable pets. The cottages are located in the dense vegetation in the backyard and treat the guests to pleasing views of the coconut groves, paddy fields and swimming pool. Though the cottages may be rustic, they are not short on comfort. Bathing is an essentially joyful activity at this homestay, as the bathrooms are built in tropical style, and are partly open under the full views of Goan skies and large trees.
What to do: Enjoy kayaking, fishing, cycling, bird watching and swimming. You can even visit the local tavern for enjoying some local gossip.
Special Features: Partly open-air bathrooms.
Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay, Jodhpur
If you are searching for a homestay around Jodhpur, then Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay is for you. It is situated on the outskirts of Jodhpur, almost 20km away, and therefore, enjoys a close proximity to this heritage city. However, this is no ordinary homestay. It provides you an authentic Rajasthan dwelling experience with accommodations offered in traditionally styled huts. They recreate the feeling of staying at a village. Even though you may not find the comforts of a luxury hotel, you will more than enjoy your stay at this homestay.
What to do: Village safaris, village trekking, camel safaris, folk music and dancing.
Special Features: All the accommodations at this homestay are built in the shape of traditional village huts.
Devra Udaipur, Udaipur
Another of the fabulous homestays in India is the Devra Udaipur in Udaipur. This one though, comes with a difference. It is a colonial styled farmhouse whose main focus is on making its guests acquainted with an organic and natural lifestyle. Devra, in the local language, stands for a tribal temple and accordingly, the temple of the host family, is worshipped by the local villagers. It is also the landscape surrounding the homestay which will leave you enchanted. Everywhere you look, there are hills and farmlands stretching in every direction. The houses are characterized by balconies, spacious sitting areas and terraces.
What to do: Go trekking in the Aravalli ranges, enjoy cycling (bikes are provided by the homestay), visit the temple and go for village walks, take yoga classes, try gardening and painting.
Special Features: You get to know everything about organic living, along with organic meals which are prepared with home grown organic food.
Red Hill Nature Resort, Tamil Nadu
If you are having plans for summer vacation for family, then head to Ooty, which is famous for its pleasant weather and numerous sightseeing opportunities. At Ooty, head for the Red Hill Nature Resort. Tucked away in the upper Nilgiri Mountains around 30 km from Ooty, the road to this homestay passes through the lush countryside, picturesque villages and lovely tea gardens, with occasional fields of carrots and cabbages. The Red Hill Nature Resort is situated on a 250 acres tea garden and its hosts are tea growers. It boasts eight colonial styled guest rooms and separate cottages with verandahs, own fireplaces and bathtub.
What to do: There are a range of activities to choose from, including trekking, mountain biking, bird watching, practicing Yoga and visiting the local tribes.
Special Features: There is a traditional kitchen with wood-fired stove along with family recipes handed down from generation to generation. The homestay also consists of cows, chickens and a perfectly maintained garden which grows seasoned vegetables.