The concept of a homestay has been much abused in several places, including in our country. A home stay is ideally a place, where a family resides, and travellers can occupy certain rooms, but share the rest of the property like a temporary family member. They eat whatever the family eats anyway, with no special arrangements being made per se. This gives travellers the taste of authentically immersing into a foreign culture. Unfortunately, a lot of places termed as home stays are anything but. They are specially created within individual homes to serve as conventional hotels.
In this list, we look at some of the finest homestays in India which bucks this commercializing trend but are actually places where one can get absorbed in the local folklore:
The Bangala, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu
The name of the place refers to the word for bungalow in Tamil. This is located in the Chettinad region, once a land renowned for seafaring and foreign trade, with links to south-east Asia particularly strong. The erstwhile Governor of Madras, Sir Arthur Hope used this property once en route, and ever since then the same cutlery has been used as a tribute to the rich heritage of the region. It is located in the town of Karaikudi, which finds itself right in between two of the biggest cities in the state- Madurai and Thanjavur. The Bangala has witnessed its fair share of modernisation with rooms now air-conditioned and the famous Chettinad cuisine being served.
Where: Devakottai Road, Senjai, Karaikudi, TN- 630001
Glenora, Wayanad, Kerala
Glenora is named after its founder, located right outside the imperious Wayanad National Park. It is located in the town of Vaduvanchal which gives easy access to the coffee plantations where camping facility is possible. Mornings are particularly pretty due to the enveloping mist.
Address: Padivayal, Vaduvanchal P.O., Sunrise Valley Road, Wayanad, Kerala
North Homestay, Naggar, HP
The town of Naggar can easily be missed unless one is really determined to seek nature and solace. Located near Manali, Naggar was once home to a royal family, and its castle survived a major earthquake in the 19th century when much of the rest got destroyed. In this same town, lies an equally obscure but beautiful property called North, run by a architect whose sole aim is to restore the balance between man and nature.
Address: Thava Road, near Tripura Sundari temple, Naggar, HP
Dechen Dzong, Gangtok, Sikkim
The rooms are cosy, yet well-lit at this place. Among all its charms, most reviewers have praised the magnificent sites on view from the top of this homestay. There is a terrace which is open to all visitors. The main markets of Gangtok are right next door, so one can truly experience the real Sikkim.
Address: Upper Sichey Road, Sungava, Gangtok, Sikkim
Lal Bari, The Red Brick Heritage Homestay, Kolkata, West Bengal
Unlike the other properties mentioned here, this is very much an urban location, but with a difference. The Lal Bari is ideal for work tours where one wants to live with panache. The place is replete with all conventional modern facilities such as internet connectivity and an international choice of cuisine. Yet, why we include this place on the list is the way the heritage property and its red brick complex has been maintained. In spite of the passage of time, and modernity around, this place has that old-world charm. The Indian Museum and the Kalighat Temple are just a few blocks away.
Address: 2 Beltala Road, Bakul Bagan, Kalighat, Kolkata
Devra, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The word Devra means tribal temple, and this complex has a special focus towards an organic lifestyle. The curators of this complex definitely have taste as all the interiors and artworks suffice. The views are breath-taking as one can see greenery all the way. One can even catch a glimpse of the Monsoon Palace and City Palace. One can even venture out for birding and temple visits from this place.
Address: Sisarma-Bujra Road, Kalarohi, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Break the hotel trend….book yourself at these gorgeous homestays….a home away from home!