What is a Homestay in India & Why Stay at One (with our top 11 recommendations)

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Homestays are catching up in India.

But what exactly are homestays?

Homestay in India, in simple words, refers to the concept where the locals open up their homes for the guests or the travelers to stay in like a part of their family. With a lot of benefits, it is a win-win situation for both the guest and the host. It gives a chance to the host and the guest to offer and to experience respectively, the famous Indian hospitality.

After all, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. To attempt to improve the number of tourists traveling to India, the Tourism Department of India started the Atithi Devo Bhava campaign with the theme Incredible India.

Planning to explore Incredible India?

Wondering which places to visit to make the most of your money spent?

On popular dates of travel such as during Fall, Spring & festival time, flight tickets & Good Hotels tend to get fully reserved 3-4 months prior.

To avoid settling for something less than what you pay for, I recommend you plan your itinerary well in advance.

You can reserve your ticket and plan your trip with me and relax knowing that my trusted team will take good care of a fellow wanderlust traveler. FOR DETAILS EMAIL at richa@lighttravelaction.com

Planning a cultural immersive trip in India?Want to explore India but don't know where to go, what to see, How to book? Don't Worry! I will help you Plan your Perfect Trip! My team will help you with ticketing, visa paperwork, help you plan a customized trip to Incredible India. Click for a curated list of luxurious, budget & eco-friendly homestays in India #lighttravelaction #homestaysindia #incredibleindia #offbeatindia #responsibletourism #homestay #homestayhouses

Who should you choose to stay at a homestay in India?

  • The real experience- You get to observe closely the local culture, traditions, food, and lifestyle. When someone opens up his home to you, you get to enrich your travel experience. You can direct all your queries to a person who has the hands-on experience of the local life.
  • Catering to all budgets- Homestays are available for every budget. You can choose a low budget or a luxurious one as per your preference. There are a lot of options to choose from.
  • Safe and informal- You feel safer when you are staying with a family because it feels like home. You can sleep tight knowing that there are people around in case you need anything or just in case you fall sick (God forbid!)
  • Personalized experience- Many hosts ask for a lot of information about the guest before arrival like food preferences, allergies, arrival and departure details, any other requirement or request etc. Hotels don’t do this.
  • Forging a bond- Travelling is not just about clicking pictures or recording your travel story, it is also about getting to know about fellow beings living in different places, in different circumstances. Life in a city is a lot different than life in a village or mountains. You exchange stories about life and create bonds that often last forever.
  • The real taste of local cuisine- Food at a restaurant taste quite different than the food at a homestay. It can be customized as per your liking. You can also see how your food is being prepared.
  • Active participation- You can get involved in a lot of activities, festivals etc with the host family. I learned a few things about organic food and growing kitchen garden on the roof-top, during my stay in a homestay.
  • Unique ambiance with a personal touch- Homestay options can be found in big cities, small towns, villages and remote areas as well. There is a personal touch in every homestay. You can choose to stay in a mud house in the desert, a haveli in a royal city, a cottage in mountains or a house constructed in a traditional way. Every house offers unique architecture, ambiance, and vibe.
  • You learn to value resources and travel responsibly- You probably won’t get to know the hardships of the lives of the local people while staying in a hotel. It’s one thing knowing about it and another thing experiencing it yourself. My one-month long stay in a village of Rajasthan made me understand the value of water.
  • Helping the local economy- When you stay at a homestay, you provide a chance to the locals to earn their livelihood and you contribute to the local economy.

Our recent experience with homestays has been so nice that I decided to curate awesome homestays that are worth visiting this year.

Offbeat experience and a view to die for, these Homestays will charm and delight you at the same time.

Maati Homestays, Munsiyari, Uttarakhand

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Starting at Rs. 1350 per person per night, inclusive of food and shelter, the ‘Maati home-stays’ are not for the low budget travelers.

They are undeniably for a particular niche in the market – the ever-growing Indian urban middle class seeking experience beyond the concrete walls of resorts and hotels.

If you want to experience village life, these home-stays offer the perfect opportunity. All 3 meals inclusive in the package comprise of local cuisine.

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Our host family was very affectionate and welcoming and it felt as if we were part of their family.

Our home-stay experience was so heartwarming that my daughter cried her heart out when we had to leave the place.

Don’t’ mistake the Sarmoli Home-stays for luxurious home-stays.

These are humble dwellings which help in connecting with the people while staying with them in the same living condition as theirs, eating the same food they eat every day and understanding their culture, their struggles, their beliefs and their love for nature.

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If you want to experience village life, these home-stays offer the perfect opportunity.

We stayed in Sarmoli Home-stay for little about 11 days.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Read: 7 things no one tells you about Munsiyari Homestays

Silent Valley, Nainital

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As the kids ran after Blackie (Host’s dog) who ran chasing the birds, my husband and I let out a breath of relief. This was going to be our First (of many) home-stays ever and we were anxious.

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A soft breeze blew past us, ruffling our hair, we looked down the SilentValleyy.

We could hear the birds chirping on trees, the giggle of our kids at a distance and greenery everywhere around.

The air smelled heavenly of wet earth and pine! Somewhere, over the mountains, the clouds drifted gently and took away with it the tiredness of our long drive through traffic and pollution!

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Located in a cozy corner of the Uttarakhand in Nainital region (Alchauna, Chanfi, close to Bhimtal) surrounded by the Himalayas is the Family-run, “Silent Valley Home-Stay”.

The Silent Valley is spread over an area of 100 acres of land, with a 100-year-old Kumaoni House, organic farms by the river Kalsa.

This 100-year-old Kumaoni house will take your breath away with its awesome views and serene weather.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Read: India’s First Madame Tussauds Museum in New Delhi!

Amargarh Fort, Rajasthan

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Almost 80 km from Sawai Madhopur and 180 km from Jaipur is the 150 years old Amargarh Fort.

The fort was named Amargarh after Raja Amar Mal ji who was a minister in the royal court of Karauli, a state of Jadon Rajputs. The Original fort was 280 years old but was destroyed by fire. The ruins of the old fort can still be seen.

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Furnished with traditional excellence blended with modern amenities, Amargarh Fort has now been converted into a Homestay. We were fortunate to have discovered this gem of a place.

The kids had fun running on the ramparts and chasing squirrels and parakeets.

Also worth visiting are the organic farms, Kaleesal dam, Jeep safari in the forest area and visiting the village nearby where you feel as if the time has come to a standstill.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Read: 10 Awesome Places to visit in Rajasthan

The humble Badal House, Khuri, Rajasthan

It was just another December, a couple of years back and all I knew I was traveling to Khuri where I could sleep under the open sky.

Famous for its sand dunes, Khuri is a small village about 50 km south-west of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

At Khuri, we were lucky to have this quaint homestay called the Badal house. There was this lovely mud hut where Badal Singh lived along with his family and hosted travelers.

Right from the moment, we landed he made sure guests feel at home and in time I felt it was family.

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Badal house sees few rooms constructed inside a small compound. The same compound sees a small kitchen, storeroom, and a bedroom.

The mud huts in the compound serve the guests.

The best part is the open area where one can soak in the morning sun and also serves as sit out and dining area.

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Simplicity and humbleness is his second name. Badal ji is very clear that he wants to keep his business low-key and not be a part of the hospitality rat race.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Recommended by Ayandrali Dutta.

Read: 18 AWESOME INSPIRING TRAVEL QUOTES to fuel your wanderlust!

Nomad’s Hostel, Alleppey

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This hostel cum homestay is a beautiful house which is converted as a hostel for 2 rooms and rest as a homestay. The best part of this place is it’s location, right at the Backwaters of Alleppey.

The view here is just so good and I kinda got addicted to watching the boats and houseboats cross all day. The picture speaks for itself. I stayed here for a week and had a great time.

Nice Place if you wish to relax and chill in a hammock with a view and a good book. If you’re heading to Alleppey or Kerala, do check this place out 🙂

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

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Recommended by Seema.

Read: Guide to Climbing Mount Kanamo at 19,600 feet

Tukchu Homestay, Leh

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Tukchu Homestay is a quintessential reflection of home sweet home. Tukchu, a 100-year old traditional Ladakhi home converted into a homestay, is run by a warm-hearted couple, Mr. Tashi and Mrs. Skarma Gyaltsen.

The best thing about the place is its positive vibes and sublime local ambiance.

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Spacious outdoor patio with a lovely tiny garden, cozy reading area, airy and spotless rooms and beautiful dining hall with the classic floor seating arrangement (the heart of the house ) – You are sure to love every bit of your stay at Tukchu.

Tukchu Homestay is just below famous Shanti Stupa in Changspa.

At Rs. 850 per adult and Rs. 500 per kid with extra bed per night (with breakfast), it is a budget travelers dream come true.

The meals are priced at Rs. 150 per person per meal (lunch/dinner)

If you want to experience the real flavor of homestay while you are in Leh; Tukchu Homestay is a perfect place for you.

Recommended by Anjali.

Read: From Daunting to Haunting – Story of Pune’s Shaniwar Wada Palace

5. Pranavam Homestay in Wayanad Kerala

Pranavam Homestay in Wayanad Kerala is a very special homestay run by retired couple Mrs. Rama & Mr. Ravindran.

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Post retiring as a top executive from a tire company, Mr. Ravindran moved to his wife’s family plantation and decided to build a small homestay to keep busy.

I guess a 100+ acre plantation is just not big enough to keep an enterprising retired man like Mr. Ravindran and his wife Rama on toes.

When they started the Pranavam Homestay, tourism was in its nascent stage in Wayanad.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise and conscious efforts were made to make tourism as sustainable as possible in Wayanad, with minimum damage to the local ecology that supports the last few surviving patches of rainforest in India.

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Mr. Ravindran also actively participated in founding Wayanad Tourism Organization, a very well-organized and structured liaison group of, homestay, hotels and resort owners in Wayanad district with the sole aim to promote sustainable tourism in Wayanad district.

Mr. Ravindran serves as General Secretary of the WTO and is one of the key driving forces to help develop sustainable tourism in Wayanad.

If you are looking for a family-run place surrounded by a 100-acre pristine plantation where still some of the tribal families live and work then you should stay at Pranavam Homestay in Wayanad Kerala, the home-cooked Kerala Sadya is a perk you will enjoy along with the peaceful stay.

Recommended by Prasad NP.

6. Ecological Delight: Mayal Lyang in Dzongu, North Sikkim

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Run by Gyatso and his wife Samsay, Mayal Lyang is a place which is entirely a world different from ours. The homestay is situated in Dzongu valley which is a safe haven reserved for Lepcha community, along the Teesta River.

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I spent two days with Gyatso`s family eating fresh vegetables off the garden, sipping `Chee` [Local beverage brewed from millets], bathing in the hot water spring, driving to the waterfall at Lingzya, introspecting by the Rongyung Chu River and strolling in the village.

If you are looking for a tranquil place to de-stress yourself then end your search at Mayal Lyang: A land blessed by God.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Recommended by Suman.

Read: Family Trek to Mesar Kund

Rann Visamo Village stay, Rann of Kutch

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Come winter and people flock to Great Rann of Kutch to admire the salt plains of the White Rann.

The Rann Utsav is a place of much glamour and pompous. For people like me who prefer a much quiet place to be at, a homestay that is about 20km away from the Rann desert seemed to be perfect.

Rann Visamo is at Hodka village, surrounded by fog most of the time and farms when the fog clears a little.

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The village stay has about 4 to 5 traditional bhungas and cottages. Bhungas are the traditional colorful round mud huts of Kutch which are like the identity of the Kutch region.

The Kutchi thick handicraft quilts and blankets kept me really warm in the windy huts.

True to village stay experience one can expect home cooked food here. A fixed set menu but varying dishes between lunch and dinner, the taste of which I still remember.

The soft phulkas with jaggery and ghee was my favorite in spite of the many options available to eat. When at Rann this is a place to stay.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Recommended by Chittra.

Kutir Craft Village Homestay, Hodko village, Gujarat

Staying at the resort near to White Runn is more expensive and one can opt to stay in a nearby village.

The village was chosen by UNDP under the rural development through tourism. Located on the main road leading to Greater Runn of Kutchh, Kutir Kraft Village resort is a peaceful place which offers a typical village style ambiance and architecture.

Despite being named as a resort, you can have homestay experience.

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The most amazing part of staying at Kutir Craft is their owner- Khalubhai whose hospitality is worth praising.

For further details about this place, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Recommended by Mayuri.

Read: Rani Padmavati’s Chittorgarh is a must visit – Here’s Why?!

Homestay at Kareri Village, Himachal Pradesh

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Kareri is a sleepy little village in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. I was incredibly lucky to do a homestay in Kareri Village.

After breakfast, if it was a sunny day I would sit out and read a book, if not I would do the same by the fire.

Thus at a slow pace the life would go on.

There were numerous birds that could vie for my attention along with the book. The mustard flowers were in bloom, painting the village pretty.

If the weather was good I would go out for a walk in the evening but it was only on the last day that did the clear blue skies greeted me!

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The nearest big town is Dharamshala. I took a taxi from Dharamshala to Kareri which cost me 1500 rupees.

I had to walk a bit from the road head to the house. There is public transport up to a village called Gera.

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If you wish to do a homestay at Kareri village the charges are around 1200 rupees per person per night which includes food as well. 

As I was new to the region and as I was thinking of trekking, I went with my long-time trekking guide Sohan Singh Bisht. However, if I go to the village again I am confident of going alone now. 

For further details about this place and the guide, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Recommended by Mridula.

READ MORE: Why Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh is a good weekend getaway from Delhi

Padmini Haveli, Chittorgarh

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“Garh to Bas Chittorgarh, baaki Sab Garhiya” beamed our Homestay host and Guide, Parvati as she took us around the 7th century AD, Chittorgarh Fort.

Translated the phrase means “If there is any Fort, it is Chittorgarh, rest are all fortresses!”

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Padmini Haveli is one of its own kind home-stay in one of Asia’s largest living Fort, Chittorgarh in Rajasthan.

A traditional Rajasthani merchant’s house, the Padmini Haveli is built on two stories around a central courtyard surrounded by an atrium that provides welcome shade at the hottest hours of the day.

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Located in the center of the old village of Chittor within the walls of Chittorgarh Fort, it overlooks temples and palaces.

From the roof terrace, fanned by the local breeze, there are sweeping views of the city and the Aravalli hills beyond the Mewar plain.

For further details about this place and the guide, pls email richa@lighttravelaction.com

Read More about this Fort HERE!

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Cultural immersion in homestays of India top many people's Incredible India travel bucket lists. If you want to know the real India, I would recommend you stay in a homestay. You get to observe closely the local culture, traditions, food, and lifestyle. Homestays are available for every budget. Click for a curated list of luxurious, budget & eco-friendly homestays in India #lighttravelaction #homestaysindia #incredibleindia #offbeatindia #responsibletourism #homestay #homestayhouses
Your search for a perfect homestay in India ends here. Planning a cultural immersive trip in India? If you want to truly experience incredbile India then home stays is the way to go. Family Friendly, Eco-friendly, simple yet gorgeous, it's difficult to decide where to stay! Click for a curated list of luxurious, budget & eco-friendly homestays in India #lighttravelaction #homestaysindia #incredibleindia #offbeatindia #responsibletourism #homestay #homestayhouses #indiahomestay

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3 thoughts on “What is a Homestay in India & Why Stay at One (with our top 11 recommendations)”

  1. wow thank you for a beautiful blog and your feedback I will definitely keep all your tips in mind I would also like to tell my experience about beautiful Hill Station

    Reply

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