Every once in a while, everyone deserves to go as far away as possible from the frantic city life and bask in the lap of nature. What better way to do that than to spend time in the beautiful Himalayas, where the serene atmosphere is disturbed only by the chirping of birds and the gurgling of rivulets. Here are some lovely homestays you can sneak away to for your next uplifting vacation.
This cosy, two-bedroom cottage is located amid a shimmering silver oak forest in the rustic hamlet of Gagar in Uttarakhand. Nature lovers can spend the day hiking and bird watching in the surrounding woods. You can also bring your pets along and let them explore the great outdoors. Even Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian writer, who had a summer home close by in Ramgarh, is said to have been inspired by the natural beauty of the place. Away from the chaos and clammer of city life, this is the idyllic home in the hills you can escape to every time you need to be one with nature.
Imagine waking up to the sight of the sun emerging from behind snow clad mountains, while a vast expanse of green hills glimmers incessantly in the foreground. This is exactly the kind of stunning view you get to experience every morning from each of the seven rooms at The Birdcage. This beautiful establishment in Mukteshwar, near the popular hill station of Nainital, is also a great getaway option for eco-conscious travellers. They’ve set up green initiatives like rain water harvesting and solar power, and have their own organic kitchen garden.
Our Place Himalayas is a charming little homestay located in the picturesque Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Equally lovely is Anita Khullar, the woman behind Our Place Himalayas. There are orchards everywhere you look and a gently babbling brook runs across this property. While you can spend the entire day doing nothing but luxuriating in the scenic views from your cottage, there are plenty of activities you can partake in, too. From hiking to white water rafting and angling, there’s never a dull moment for the adventurous soul in this Himalayan village. From the funds she earns from the homestay, Khullar contributes to social causes like helping underprivileged children with their education.
The classy Taara House Luxury Cottage is done up in recycled Burma teak, English oak, and pine wood. There’s elegance exuding from each corner of this two-bedroom cottage and guests will, especially, appreciate the Glass House room, from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Manali during the day and spend hours gazing at the stars at night. Whether you’re an artist or a writer searching for a serene place to get your creative juices flowing, a newly wed couple looking for a romantic honeymoon getaway, or just someone craving a much needed break in the Himalayas, look no further than Taara House Luxury Cottage.
The Retreat is a colonial bungalow from the 19th century with quite a vibrant history. The lovely house is part of a much larger estate which was originally owned by a British administrative officer. When the Imperial reign came to an end, a section of this thousand-acre estate was bought by Frederick Smetacek who had fled from his hometown of Sudetenland (now part of the Czech Republic) during the Nazi era and boarded a ship to India in 1939. Smetacek became a successful businessman in Kolkata and later built The Retreat at Bhimtal as a summer home. An attraction here is the Butterfly Museum and Research Centre. This family-run homestay comes with a whole lot of grandeur and warm hospitality of the owners, who have preserved this beautiful home for years.
Meena Bagh Ratnari is owner Sanjay Austa’s labour of love and his personal touch around the property is hard to miss. This is one of the reasons why Meena Bagh is such a warm and welcoming place to be in. Built amid a 65-year-old apple orchard planted by Austa’s grandparents, the structure is wood-panelled and consists of mud-plastered walls resembling a traditional home in Himachal Pradesh. As a testament to its commitment to eco-tourism, Meena Bagh resort has been awarded a Gold certificate for sustainable tourism by the Ministry of Tourism.
Upendra and Dimple Kamra have always been avid travellers and when their wanderings finally led them to Tirthan Valley, they couldn’t help but set up a home in this enchanting Himalayan region. Thus, Gone Fishing Cottages was born. Visitors who come and stay at the place are more than just guests, as the owners like to call them ‘friends and extended family’. During your stay at Gone Fishing Cottages, you can spend your days hiking around the Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, go trout fishing at the nearby Tirthan river, discover quaint villages or simply while away the hours revelling in the scenic landscape.
As soon as you enter Chalamthang, a small village in Sikkim, the cacophony of cities becomes but a distant memory. This is an ideal getaway if you want to exchange the constant stress and scrambling with a slow-paced pastoral life. Whether you’re picking your own vegetables from the adjacent farm to cook a hearty meal, going for long walks around the pristine hills or exchanging lively conversations with the village residents, a vacation at Chalamthang Homestay will ensure you return home completely rejuvenated.