Personally 2014 has been very fulfilling.
On the 'have feet..' front, not only have I been able to travel a lot more – on my own and with people, both known and unknown – but I’ve also been religious at having a blog update on each journey I’ve undertaken. Looking back, I reckon there have been instances when I’ve gotten super micro in recounting experiences (5 series blogposts) while sometimes I’ve simply breezed through the entire experience only through photographs.
As I steadily better my craft of ‘travelogue-ing’ in my upcoming posts, I’ve considered making a few amends retroactively. One big piece of missing information – and I appreciate being asked to add that in – has been around my homestays. It’s now almost my default setting to first look up available homestay options or enquire with all and sundry. Yeah, I am big on homestays.
So to rewind a little bit, I’ll start with my destination from
Coorg, Karnataka – Mr, K K Poornaiah, Ganesh Estate Homestay
I’d decided to travel solo to Coorg the Christmas of 2013. But I was blissfully under the impression that I’d easily find a host. After all, it was a simple Google search with the words “Coorg” “homestay” strung together that throws up, and I quote Google, “about 3,07,000 results in 0.36 seconds”. Imagine my chagrin, when close to 10 calls later I still haven’t found a host who hadn’t been booked for the season. A part of me somewhere was happy that homestays were a thing and another part was growing despondent. But a homestay of course I did.
Mr. Poornaiah of Ganesh Homestay is a warm and enthusiastic host. When I got delayed in arriving at Madikeri because my delayed train had had a domino effect on other travel plans, he made it his responsibility to pick me up from the ST bus stand. Situated right in the middle of his own coffee and spice plantations, the wooden cabins create quite the effect for a much needed getaway.
For more about my Coorg experience, read When In Coorg
Kutch, Gujarat – Mr. Krutarth Jadeja, Devpur Homestay
And then began another hunt which after a little detour had me speaking to Mr. Jadeja of the Devpur Homestay. And who immediately said, “Yes, please do come to Kutch and we’d be happy to host you at Devpar”. Such friendliness from someone I hadn’t even met yet. And if it weren’t for him I doubt I’d have experienced Kutch the way I did
For more on Kutch, read 'Exploring Kutch - The Homestay'
Velas, Maharashtra – Mr. Mohan Upadhye, SNMCPN
For more about Velas, read 'Seeking The Hiding 'Turtlets' at Velas
Purushwadi, Maharashtra – Mr. Inir Pinheiro, Grassroutes | Purushwadi
To know more about the experience, read 'A Date With Fireflies'
Spiti, Himachal Pradesh – India Untravelled and Spiti Ecosphere
I’d been to Ladakh twice before already before stepping into Spiti.
And I wasn’t prepared to be jolted out of my wits. Why? Because Spiti is nothing
like Ladakh; in spite of the similarities to the terrain. Spiti is Ladakh’s
unruly step-sibling, I believe.
What made Spiti more hospitable however were the locals I stayed with during my homestays in Demul and Komic. And none of that would’ve been possible without help from India Untravelled who helped connect us with Ishita at Spiti Ecosphere.
You can read more about Spiti on 'My Encounter With Spiti'
Gokarna, Karnataka – Namaste Cafe
P.S.: By sans frills I’m implying that you head to your room only to hit the bed and call it a day.
Here's why I didn't mind the ultra modest accommodation 'Solo Tripping Doing Nothing In Gokarna'
Dehena, Maharashtra – Grassroutes | Dehena
For a more detailed description, read 'Camping In Nature's Lap At Dehena'
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh – Ms. Asha D'Souza, Friends of Orchha
A page on Orchha from the Bundelkhand diary - 'Experiencing Benevolence in Bundelkhand'
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh – Hotel Surya
I must admit I wasn’t too sure what to expect as a solo traveller in Khajuraho – even though it is recommended for solo travellers. And boy was I disheartened when I couldn’t locate a homestay. So I stayed at Hotel Surya which is by far among the better budget hotels I’ve come across. Be assured that neither safety nor comfort is ever compromised on.
Pranpur/Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh - Ms. Gouthami, Travel Another India | Pranpur
And from the last journey of 2014…
Special mention to Heranca Goesa simply because it was a welcome relief to not have to spend another night in a hotel and instead at a homestay. On second thoughts, wish it wasn’t Christmas and we’d be able to nibble on some delectable Goan food in Diu :-/
BhavnagarNilambaug Palace at Bhavnagar is one of the most stylish yet comfortable hotels I’ve stayed at with the touch of something that’s very home-like. I’m still wondering how they pull that off.
You may also want to read: 'Everything About Homestays'
Would love to hear about your homestay and budget hotel experiences too.
2015 Update: To look up homestays and hotels I'd stayed at in 2015, read iAppend | Accommodation Recommendation