Tuesday, August 20, 2013


A Homestay is accommodation provided in a private home, run by the homeowner and this concept is gaining popularity in India both for national and international Tourists. I talk here of the Top 5 where you can experience the difference of Living in a Home away from Home …..

These destinations are an ideal choice of accommodation for places especially where Language is a barrier as most of the home owners are well versed in English and can accompany their guest for sightseeing and shopping in the local markets. Home cooked food as per one’s choice is another unique attraction and yes it is much more economical than living in a Hotel, thus making it an  ideal choice for Single travellers, Pet Holidays, Adventure Holidays, and also makes for wonderful relaxed weekend trips.

‘Puthankayal Island’ was the last island to have been reclaimed in the backwater region for agriculture and is approximately 2 meters below the lake level. The retaining dyke around the perimeter of the island keeps the lake water from entering the farm. This farm houses traditional style, antique filled, open plan affair, with enough space for a couple and an extra bed if need be, waterfront cottages amidst the mango, nutmeg, coconut, and pepper plantations and staying here is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the real Kerala experience in a fascinating location, with a caring family to look after you. Don’t fret your privacy is much assured at these independent waterfront villas with gorgeous ‘sit outs’ facing the peaceful waters. You will be welcomed warmly By Anu and her ‘mummy’ and after a quick tour of the plantation and feasting on the Syrian Christian lunch with the family in their dining room, one can spend the rest of the days eating more Kerela food, doing touristy stuff and chilling out.

Where? - Anu Mathew, Philipkutty’s Farm, Pallivathukal, Ambika Market P.O, Vechoor, Kottayam District, Kerala - 686 144.
Tel: (91)-4829-276530 /275130
Mob: (91) - 98950 75130
Best Way to Reach- It is 75 Kms from Kochi and 27 kms from Alleppy. Though accessible by road (up to the opposite bank), it is the ‘vallam’ (country boat) that will finally take you across.

Sample this, lush farms blooming with sarson, swaying green grass and gentle aroma of freshly baked rotis with dollops of ghee, drinking fresh milk straight from the cow, farm fresh eggs for breakfast and you would know you are in Punjab…Get a peek into the rural life with this and much more at this Haveli. So if you are planning a religious pilgrimage to the Golden Temple, or just passing through Amritsar, Green Acres Haveli and Retreat is sure to provide a relaxing experience plus one can also plan an excursion to the Wagah border or go on a Heritage walk of the Golden city.
Where? 1, Green Acres, Airport Road, Amritsar, Punjab 143002, India
Tel: +91 97 81 983828
Best way to Reach: Take the Amritsar Shatabadi and reach Amritsar. The Farm stay will organize a pick and drop for you.

The best way to enjoy the place is leave on Friday early evening, enjoying the drive. Cheerful dhabas dot the journey. Trucks whisk dust off on the ‘Kuchha’ roads Simbhauli onwards, but all that is fun and adventure. It’s heart-warming to see animals lay outside village homes, familiarity of cow dung appearing in every village. This majestic fort is now managed and operated by Leisure Hotels. A host of modern amenities have been introduced at the fort, where the royal family still lives in one section, making it a perfect spot for family or friends’ getaways. The brilliant white façade of ‘Surya Mahal’ is surrounded by well-manicured, lush verdant lawns. The décor with its understated elegance is a reflection of the time, when style remained a way of life. Activities such as an excursion to the colourful Saturday Bazaar, imparts the true flavour of an Indian Village. One may bask in the solitude in the warm sunshine, sit beneath the orchard trees in the farm, walk along the river, enjoy horse riding on Peshawari breed horses and bullock cart rides, walk through village haat and play billiards, squash, croquet, badminton to name just a few. The food here is really nice and home style and the service makes you feel like the King himself. All in all ,the Fort has been restored to provide comfortable accommodation, whilst retaining the atmosphere of a bygone area, filled as it is with antique furniture, historical photographs, old hunting trophies, a snooker table, etc. The village of Unchagaon is also fascinating, and an afternoon walk reveals traditional activities such as pottery and sugar refining.

Distance from Delhi: 110 Kms. (Gaziabad-Hapur-Simbhauli-Unchagaon)
Best way to Reach- by Road, approx. 3 to 31/2 hours’ drive
To make a booking: Leisure Hotels Ltd., F - 3/6, Ground Floor, Okhla Inds. Area, Phase I, New Delhi - 110 020
Tel: 91-11- 4652 0000

On arrival, one is greeted with beautiful pinewood cottages which give off a cheery atmosphere. There is a huge activity centre for the kids and lots of shady trees. After breakfast one can start off with the adventures, first become familiar with the basic one like climbing a commando’s net, and move on to crossing the Burma Bridge, rope walking and flying fox. A bit of exercise builds an appetite and when your tummy starts rumbling head off for a hearty lunch of Himachali ‘Madra’ and ‘chawal’, which ends on a sweet note with ‘gur ke chawal’, and life is bliss. Do wake up in time for your next adventure, which is a trek to ‘rock climbing’ and ‘rappelling’. The star of the show however is the ‘Village tour and meal experience at a local home’, on Aamod’s activity list. It is a nice drive to the village home and here your culinary sojourn starts with a cup of tea made with freshly drawn milk…absolutely divine. Slide into the kitchen and try your hand at making the rotis on the ‘Chullah’. The ladies of the house are extremely friendly and hospitable and will feed you the most amazing fresh and organic (they grow their vegetables without any chemicals) dinner, and you will end up eating as if there is no tomorrow. However the best part is the dessert… ‘Pure ghee and Shakar’! After this experience it comes as no surprise that you may be planning more such holidays!

Where? Aamod at Shoghi, Village Shalaghat, P.O. Kaiphlighat, Tehsil Kandaghat, District Solan.
Tel: 0177 6532020
Best Way to Reach- Take a Shatabadi/Howrah Kalka Mail till Kalka and then take a cab till the resort which is approximately 2 and a half hours drive uphill.

This is a concept of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited, and has set up a pan-India network of about 312 homes that delivers the real India through an enriching host- guest interaction.
For complete information on the variety and the range of Homestays that are available with Mahindra’s visit www.mahindrahomestays.com

Published in Tlf