Home is where the art is: India’s Top 10 Homestay regions

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1. Ecosphere Homestays, Spiti

A community-driven initiative led by Ishita Khanna (voted MTV Youth Icon in 2008), Ecosphere Spiti takes you to some of the loftiest homestays in India. On the Spiti Left Bank trek, visit the high-altitude villages of Langza, Komik (Asia’s highest inhabited village), Demul, Lhalung and Dhankar (the erstwhile capital of Spiti), as you stay in traditional mud-brick homes overlooking snowy peaks of the Trans Himalayas. Discover ancient fossils and remote Buddhist monasteries, go on yak safaris and enjoy the rejuvenative powers of chirku (Sea-buckthorn).

Contact Ishita/Sunil, Chhering Norbu
Ecosphere Office, Old Bazaar, Kaza
Ph 01906-222652
M 98994 92417, 94182 07750, 94184 39294, 98730 98017
E info@spitiecosphere.com
Web www.www.spitiecosphere.com

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2. Culture Aangan, Konkan

Experience the magic of the monsoon in the lush hinterland of Maharashtra’s Konkan region. Founded by philanthropist Rashmi Sawant, Culture Aangan promotes ethnic farm stays across Sindhudurg and Sawantwadi, combining eco-holidays and rustic experiences. Visit the Pinguli Tribal Arts Complex, relish typical Malvani fare and unearth vibrant lacquer craft and Ganjifa Art, with pristine beaches never too far away.

Nandan Farms, Sawantwadi
Hosts: Amrutha & Ashish Padgaonkar
M 94223 74277
E amrutapadgaonkar@yahoo.in 

Dwarka Farmhouse, Sawantwadi
Hosts: Soni & Dilip Aklekar
Ph 02363-266267, 98694 10626, 94225 41168
E dilipaklekar@yahoo.co.in

Pitruchaya Homestays, Sindhudurg
Hosts: Vijay & Vaishali Loke
M 98699 81393, 97645 93947
E sindhudurg@rtne.co.in

Shreeyog Paryatan, Oras
Hosts: Shubhada & Shashikant Kadam
M 94224 34893

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3. Malabar

While Wayanad and Southern Kerala have witnessed a tourism explosion, the quiet northern coast of Malabar from Kasaragod to Palakkad has been largely overlooked. Stay in tharavadu houses (ancestral clan homes), witness Theyyam performances (India’s oldest ritualistic temple art form), visit stunning sea forts and savour Moplah cuisine as you explore India’s historic Spice Coast. Key attractions include the 4 km long drive-in beach Muzhappilangad and the maidan in Thalassery where cricket was played for the first time in India.

Gitanjali Heritage, Bekal
Host: Mr Jaganath
Ph 0467-223 4159, 94474 69747           
E jaganathc@rediffmail.com
Web www.gitanjaliheritage.com
Tariff Rs.3,500

Chandralayam, Bekal
Host: Mr. Krishnan
Ph 0467-2236456, 94467 72414
E contact@chandralayam.com
Web www.chandralayam.com  

Kannur Beach House, Thottada
Ph 0497–2836530, 2708360
M 98471 84535, 98471 86330
E info@kannurbeachhouse.com 
Tariff Rs.2,500

Costa Malabari, Kannur
Ph 0484–237 1761
E touristdesk@satyam.net.in
Web www.costamalabari.com
Tariff Rs.2,000

Ayisha Manzil, Thalassery
Hosts: CP & Faiza Moosa
Ph 0490–2341590, 98470 02340
E cpmoosa@rediffmail.com, ayishamanzil@rediffmail.com
Tariff Rs 9,000

Olappamanna Mana, Vellinezhi
Hosts: ON Damodaran & P Sreedevi
Ph 0466 2285383, 9895081821
E olappamannadamodaran@gmail.com
Web www.olappamannamana.com
Tariff Rs.4,700-6,000

Kandath Tharavad, Palakkad
Host: Mr. Bhagwaldas
Ph 04922 284124, 321231, 93499 04124
E tharavad15@yahoo.com
Web www.tharavad.info
Tariff Rs.4,000-6,000

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4. Coorg

From ain-maneys (ancestral homes) to colonial plantation bungalows and riverside retreats to bamboo cottages, Karnataka’s hill district of Coorg teems with homestay options. Most homes overlook manicured lawns bursting with poinsettias surrounded by picturesque coffee estates where cardamom and pepper grow under the shade of rainforest trees. Trace the journey of coffee from berry to cup, sip homemade wines and enjoy signature Kodava dishes like pandi (pork) curry and bemble (bamboo shoot).

Gowri Nivas, Madikeri
Hosts: Bopanna & Muthu
Ph 08272–228597, 94481 93822, 94484 93833
E gowrinivas@gmail.com

School Estate, Siddapur
Hosts: Rani & KK Aiyapa
Ph 08274–258 358, 94486 47559
E school1@sancharnet.in
Tariff Rs.4,800-8,050

Palace Estate, Kakkabe
Hosts: Apparanda Prakash & Poovanna
Ph 08272–238446, 98804 47702
E info@palaceestate.co.in
Tariff Rs.1,200-2,000

Kabbe Holidays, Chelavara
Hosts: Vidya & Dilip Chengappa
Ph 08272-200658, 98454 46652, 94489 76460
E dilip@kabbeholidays.com
Tariff Rs.2,000-3,800

Polaycad Bungalow, Ammathi
Hosts: Mallige & Robin Cariappa
Ph 08274–252240, 94486 06066
E polaycad@hotmail.com

Spring Dale Plantations, Kadanga
Hosts: Urvashi & Dr Sunil Muddaiah
Ph 08274-269 430, 98459 89898
E contact@springdalecoorg.com 
Tariff Rs.5,000

Bamboo Loft, Dubare
Hosts: Kodanda Ashish & Savitha
Ph 08276–267 800, 98458 48224
Tariff Rs 2,000

Kalmane, Nagarahole
Hosts: Maya & Prabhu Uthaya
Ph 08274–244 659, 94484 69659, 99001 69659
Tariff Rs.3,500

5. Goa

The Portuguese ruled Goa for 450 years (1510 to 1961) and there’s no better place to see its imprint than Goa’s heritage homestays. Renovated Portuguese style houses, complete with entrada (foyer), sala (living room), balcao (balcony) and period furniture transport you to a different era. Walk the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas, relish Goan cuisine, dwell in the stillness of centuries-old churches, explore a rich hinterland criss-crossed by rivers and a 131 km coastline always at arm’s length.

Arco Iris, Curtorim
Hosts: Bennita & Ganesh
Ph 0832 2786800, 96049 64482
E beni@arcoiris.in, bennitaganesh@yahoo.com
Tariff Rs.3,500-7,000

Stain Glass Cottage, Colva
Hosts: Sharon & Rajesh Arab
Ph 0832-278 0249, 96043 59382
E info@stainglasscottage.com
Tariff Rs.4,000-4,500

Capella, Parra
Hosts: Jamshed & Ayesha Madon
M 99234 59488
E info@capellagoa.com
Tariff Rs.6,000

Siolim House, Siolim
Ph 0832 2272 138/941, 98225 84560
E info@siolimhouse.com
Tariff Rs.4,500-11,000

Vivenda Gomes Pereira, Panjim
Host: Antonio Gomes
Tariff: Rs.6,500

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6. Chettinad

Chettinad is a land-locked quarter of the enterprising Chettiars, a Tamil trading community who went to the Far East for business and returned to build grand mansions with their fortune. Extending over thousands of square feet with several inner courtyards, the front and back of these massive homes often open out to different streets. Procuring the best from across the world, Chettinad homes lavishly use Burmese Teak Wood, Italian Marble, Belgian chandeliers and English Steel. Besides the architectural treat, feast on specialties like Chicken Chettinad, kaada (quail) fry, nandu (crab) masala, rabbit and pigeon.

Chettinadu Mansion, Kanadukathan
Host: Mr. Chandramouli
Ph 04565 273080, 94434 95598
E info@deshadan.com 
Web www.chettinadumansion.com
Tariff Rs.5,000

The Bangala, Karaikudi
Host: Mrs. Meyyappan
Ph 04565-220221
E thebangala@gmail.com
Tariff Rs.4,700-5,650

Saratha Vilas, Kothamangalam
Hosts: Michel Adment & Bernard Dragon
M 98842 03175, 98849 36158
E sarathavilas@hotmail.com
Tariff Rs.5,200-5,600

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7. North East

Whether it’s the comfort of a Lepcha home in Sikkim, a Khasi-run homestay in Meghalaya, an Angami village-stay in Nagaland or a colonial tea-bungalow in Assam, the sheer diversity of cuisine and culture in the less-explored North East, is mind-blowing. Bathe in waterfalls, get a fish spa in natural rock pools, trek to the amazing Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya, interact with tribes, go on birding walks to spot endemic species and embrace nature in its purest form.

Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort, Laitkynsew
Hosts: Denis & Carmela Rayen
Ph 03637-244218/9, 94361 15925, 96153 38500, 98630 79856
E cherrapunjee@hotmail.com
W www.cherrapunjee.com

Rosaville, Shillong
Host: Mrs. Topoti Bauri
Ph 94361 10180 ‎
Tariff Rs.2,000-3,500

Prabhakar Homestay, Guwahati
Ph 0361-2650053, 94350 33221, 94350 33222
E bookings@prabhakar-homestay.com
Tariff Rs.4,500-6,000

Meru’s homestay, Khonoma (Nagaland)
Hosts: Khrieni & Megongui Meru
Ph 0370-234 0061

Mayal Lyang, Sikkim
Hosts: Gyatso & Samsay Lepcha
Ph 9434446088
E gyatso@mayallyang.com
Tariff Rs.3,800

Yangsum Farm, Sikkim
Hosts: Thendup Tashi & Pema Chuki Bhutia
Ph 03595-245322, 94341 79029
E yangsumfarm@yahoo.com
Tariff: Rs.6,250

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8. Rajasthan

Get a taste of true-blue royalty in Rajasthan’s family-run heritage hotels, homes and havelis. From authentic lal maas (red meat) to simple dal baati churma on a platter, from lofty forts to exquisitely carved Jain temples, from tie-dye clothes to embroidered jootis (footwear), from elephant rides to desert camel safaris, from Kalbeliya dancers to Manganiyar musicians, the colourful Desert State is a heady blend of Rajput valour and legendary hospitality.

Giri Sadan Homestay, Jaipur
Host: Capt SK Singh
Ph 0141 2371385, 2364191, 98292 92008, 94133 37387
E reservation@girisadanhomestay.com
Tariff Rs.2,400-3,700

Jai Vilas, Jaipur
Host: Jaideep Singh
Ph 0141-2710781, 95874 10880
E joybana@gmail.com 
Web www.jaivilas.com  

Devra Homestay, Udaipur
Hosts: Major Durga Das & Jyoti Jasol
Ph 0294 2431049
E info@devraudaipur.in

Nachana Haveli, Jaisalmer
Hosts: Vikramaditya & Meghna Singh
Ph 02992 252110
E nachana_haveli@yahoo.com

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9. Uttarakhand

In this fabled Devbhoomi or ‘Land of the Gods’ there are many ways to experience divinity – sunrise on the snowy peaks of the Great Himalayan Range, the blaze of a rhododendron forest in full bloom or the rustic charm of Kumaoni villages. Venture into the wildlife preserves of Binsar and Corbett, go birding at Nainital and Pangot, explore India’s own Lake District, amble through the fruit orchards of Almora and Ranikhet while you uncover Jim Corbett’s legacy on his Maneater Trails.

The Homestead, Corbett
Hosts: Bunny & Amu Puri
Ph 05947-282128, 9927082128, 9837782328
Tariff Rs.5,000-8,000

Valley View Villa, Ranikhet
Host: Sabrina Singh
Ph 05966-240266, 94120 93826
E sabjyas@gmail.com

The Cottage Jeolikot
Host: Bhuvan Kumari
Ph 05942-224013, 94111 07313 
E bhuvan_kumari@yahoo.com
Tariff Rs.3,800-5,500

Emily Lodge, Nainital
Hosts: Siddharth & Neha
Ph 05942-235857, 99170 21129, 94111 96907
Web www.emilylodgenainital.in  
Tariff Rs.4,500-6,500

Emerald Trail, Bhimtal
Hosts: Sumith & Leena Dutta
M 98339 49954
E emeraldtrail.bhimtal@gmail.com
Web www.emeraldtrail.in
Tariff Rs.3,800-5,000

Gaunap Village Stay, Binsar
Host: Sunder Singh Bora
M 94105 90980, 98495 14854
E info@idyllichavenindia.com

Bob’s Place, Nathuakhan
Hosts: Bob & Poonam
Ph 05942-285510, 98110 34861
E holidays@welcomheritagehotels.com

10. Himachal Pradesh

High in the hills crowned by clouds are castles, royal residences and plantation bungalows converted into exotic holiday retreats. Sip fine tea and marvel at Kangra’s miniature paintings, grasp the nuances of Tibetan Buddhism at Dharamsala, visit unusual shrines of Manu, Hidimba Devi and Bijli Mahadev and buy locally hand-crafted scarves, shawls and Himachali topis, besides HPMC’s wide range of horticultural products like juices and jams.

Tara Villa, Palampur
Hosts: Pavi & Reeta Sarin
Ph 01894-231217/18, 98162 31177, 98160 31177, 98164 00007
E info@taravilla.in
Tariff Rs.2,500-3,500

Manali Meadows, Manali
Hosts: Sunita & Sanjay Dutta
Ph 01902-257555, 93189 33044, 93189 33055
E info@homestaymanali.com, sunjaydutta@gmail.com
Tariff Rs.2,000

Jandev Castle, Ghorna (Shimla)
Host: Kr. Anirudh Singh Jandev
Ph 0177-2811861, 9418136456
E jandevcastle@gmail.com
Tariff Rs.3,650

Clouds End Villa, Dharamsala
Host: Raghveer Singh
Ph 01892–224904, 222109, 94183 26200
E sales@cloudsendvilla.com
Tariff Rs.3,000-5,000

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. This article appeared in the July, 2011 issue of JetWings magazine.  

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