In continuing with a self-created and self-initiated tradition that is
now in its third year, I present before you a compilation of homestays and
hotels that I’ve stayed at during the course of my travels in 2016!
Just like last year’s post
this one also serves as an easy reckoner if you’re going to be in these parts
of the country at any point.
I have mentioned availability of free WiFi and the shoe-string budget
traveller that I am, I have three tariff brackets* :
*These are single night rates on double occupancy basis.
|Doors such as these have welcomes me across the different states I have travelled to this year as well |
2016 was the year when I finally struck Hampi off my invisible travel
bucket-list. The White Elephant is run by an enterprising and enthusiastic,
Moin who will keep you enraptured with his stories. A repeated and
disappointing theme that emerged from my conversations with him was about the
difficult-ness of Indian tourists!
|The very relaxing restaurant at White Elephant in Hampi, Karnataka|
And continuing with the spirit of #HaveFeetWillTravel, from Hampi I
made my way to the chilly Chikmagalur and nestled myself at Gonakal Homestay
My most cherished memory is this:
"Instead of sitting and
reading, you should have taken the local bus to some of the local sights!"
Meet Mr. Gowda My homestay host in Chikmagalur. His is a 350 year old heritage
home on a 40 acre property of coffee bean and spice plantations. At a little
over 60 years, he is far more fit and agile than folks less than half his age.
He is a man content with his family (which includes 4 dogs). And while he was
most curious about me disappearing into the nearby thicket when not reading
(instead of taking that bus to check out temples and what-not in the vicinity),
he didn't let that limit the scope of our conversations. We had somewhat
similar interests: he despises cities and pigeons with intense fervour! It was
naturally then quite heart-warming to eavesdrop as he spoke to his wife and
neighbour about me in Kannada; for in spite of the language barrier I caught
one word: धैर्य (Hindi for guts, nerve). It's a word he
repeatedly used to describe whatever he understood of my life as a solo
Tariff: < 2500 INR (inclusive of meals)
You can read all about my
experience with courting solitude in Hampi and Chikmagalur here
|The magnificent homestay at Chikmagalur, Karnataka |
Adgaon is a sleepy fishing hamlet located on the other side of Murud
and not too far away from other popular haunts of Shriwardhan and Lohagad. Our
village stay was a house from right across the beach – an image I had until
then conjured up in my head as the place somewhere on the map in some remote
corner of the world that I’d love to retire at. But here it was. No imagination
Tariff: < 1000 INR (inclusive of meals)
Look up more about how I was
allured by Adgaon in this post
|The inviting beach at Adgaon along coastal Maharashtra right across the entrance of my homestay|
There are places that people sometimes presume you’ve definitely
travelled to. Because, well, you are a traveller!
But then you haven’t and it causes eyebrows to disappear into
Hampi was one such place.
Historically speaking, because of the Jallianwala Baug massacre.
Culturally speaking, because of The Golden Temple.
Politically speaking, because of the Wagah border.
Punjab was a lot more than just
history, culture and politics. It was also about its people. Read about them here
|Punjabiyat is food, fields and more - glimpses from my farm-stay |
Makaibari is where you’ll meet Amma and Baba
A mother and a father in the disguise of homestay hosts.
It's not every day that you get treated like a daughter of the house
when you're in a distant town miles away from the place you call home and the
people you call parents.
Tariff: < 1000 INR (inclusive of meals)
Here’s why Makaibari was not only about tea but also tales and ties
And while I was in West Bengal, I also trekked to Sandakphu
|Women at work on a tea-plantation at Makaibari|
|Up above the world so high... Inching closer to the top at Sandakphu|
|School students from a small district near Madurai in Tamil Nadu|
Located at a stone’s throw away from the railway station, Hotel Valli
turned out to be an excellent find. Besides being budget-friendly, it’s also
clean and safe. The staff is extremely helpful in helping you find your way
WiFi: Yes (near the reception area only)
Tariff: < 1000 INR
Mantra was quite the find. It was luxury that came at a rather
affordable cost and what made that even better was the fact that we had most of
the property to ourselves as there weren’t other guests around at that time.
Mantra is an earth-friendly construction, BTW!
You can read all about my exhilarating cycling experience in
|The beautiful interiors at Mantra (Pondicherry) - where we had the entire basement to ourselves|
Just like in Thanjavur, Green Hill Hotel is a no-frills, no-fuss hotel
with modest rooms. But then again, when one is in Valparai why would one sit
inside the hotel room while the great outdoors beckon you?
You can read all about my slow
travels through the state of Tamil Nadu that spanned over 40 days here
Do you imagine what it would be like when you open the door and you
have a water-body gaping at you invitingly? Vembanad Lake Villas is a family
run property that is far away from the maddening crowd and ridiculously priced
properties across from Kumarakom! It is the ideal kind of place to sit by the
lake and read while occasionally glancing around to spot some avian populace!
The merits of travelling during the off-season is that you are provided with an
|That's what you see when you step out of your room at Vembanad Lake Villa in Kerala|
After hobo-ing some of my days in Trivandrum at my friend’s ancestral
home, I moved to Vasco Homestay
Centuries ago, Vasco Da Gama lived within the walls of this exact same
structure! Need any other reason why you should not give it a miss? The host
family is extremely warm and welcoming. And similar to Vembanad, because I was
visiting during the off-season, I got a room upgrade at no extra charge!
Want to know what tickled and
intrigued me about Fort Cochin? Read this post
|Walls so thick, I felt like I was living inside a fort(Fort Kochi, Kerala)|
My first ever invite as a travel-blogger for a property review brought
me to Garwahl and I was on top of the world – somewhat literally. The Goat
Village - an eco and responsible tourism venture - is all things modest and
environmentally sensitive; at least to the extent possible. Every meal follows
the 'farm to table' route implying that everything you eat is locally grown.
P.S.: Non-vegetarianism is not encouraged, not at every meal.
Want to know what it’s like to
be ill-prepared for a trek? Read about my experiences here
|The Goat Village's sit out area where many a meal was had, most often in the quiet company of the mountains|
Not all travel in 2016 has been solo but it goes without saying that
all of the above mentioned places wouldn’t have made it here if they weren’t
safe, clean and managed well.
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