Although often basic, homestays are one of the best ways to experience life in India. While there are literally hundreds, here are a few that stand out...
Centrally located in Delhi, Saubhag is owned by the Dass family. Meera, the hostess, is a retired teacher who has travelled extensively and who always goes that extra mile to ensure her guests enjoy a comfortable and relaxing stay.
Saubhag offers a peaceful respite from one of India’s busiest cities: there are three air-conditioned rooms within the property, all of which are en-suite, and a large sitting room where you can relax with a cup of tea.
Built in the 1880s by the Paravil Tharakans family, Olavipe sits amid the lush tropical greenery of Olavipe Island in Kerala’s Backwaters.
Simple and traditional, there is no air-conditioning in this property but there are ceiling fans to help keep the heat at bay – not that you’ll want to spend too much time in your room. With over 40 acres of organic farmland to explore, including coconut, nutmeg and vanilla plantations, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
Alternatively take a boat trip along the local backwaters with the family boatman or canoe through the peaceful lagoon.
A sympathetically restored fort owned by the Singh family, Chanoud Garh is located in the centre of Chanoud, a small village in the heart of Rajasthan. This is very much an off-the-beaten-track destination, but a great place to break up the long journey between Jodhpur and Udaipur.
One of the many highlights of staying at the Chanoud Garh is the food you’ll enjoy; traditional, locally sourced and home-cooked, you’ll struggle to taste better Rajastani cuisine anywhere else in India.
A small and simple homestay built by the Maharana Pratop of Udaipur over 300 years ago, the Castle Bera is a peaceful haven with excellent leopard sightings only a short drive away.
This characterful property offers limited facilities but with a charming host whose seemingly infinite knowledge of local wildlife means you’ll be spending most of your time searching for the elusive leopard, you’ll soon forget about its slightly dated grandeur.
Nestled on the edge of the Corbett National Park in the shadow of the Himalayas, you will find the peaceful home of Bunny and Amu, who welcome guests into their beautifully decorated and comfortable homestead. The property offers a number of luxuries including a pool, jacuzzi and Turkish hamam, as well as sprawling gardens just waiting to be explored.
Embark on a jungle safari into the Corbett National Park, a famous tiger reserve, in search of local wildlife, or simply relax with a BBQ in the grounds – there is plenty to keep you busy during your stay.
Katy Pannell is Online Travel Editor at Audley Travel, an award-winning tour operator that specialises in tailor-made trips and small group tours to over 80 countries around the world.