An assault of sights, sounds and smells can be trying for first-time travellers in India. It is no wonder that one would want to retire to a cosy, comfortable and hospitable pad at the end of the day. And if it comes with the promise of making friends for life, it is definite plus.
The only way that one can do this in any country is at the hostels, where budget accommodation apart, a chance to socialize with like-minded travellers and getting local insights is the lure. Here are five of the top picks for nudging you towards the ‘hostel way’ of travelling.
Pankaj and Pallavi, the husband-wife duo, keeps the focus on Stops being ‘social and explorative’ in all nuances of the stay here. While the stay is personalized, efficient and comfortable, it is the fun of discoveries that gives them a loyal base of travellers who swear by their experience. Having appropriately made a debut in Varanasi, Stops is also opened in Delhi, at the cusp of New and Old parts of the town.
Growing at a breakneck speed of adding their colourful imprint on the hospitality scape of India, Zostel spans twelve key cities in India and two in Vietnam for travellers. Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Delhi, Goa, Jaisalmer, Ooty, Mysore Pushkar, Rishikesh and Khajuraho are amply cover cities of backpacking interest. The branded chain also helps to ensure standardization of facilities and loyal customers travelling from one city to another. Get a Zostel passport to redeem free nights after a mandatory stay for a few days.
The South Delhi address for easy accessibility and the credit of being the first backpackers’ hostel in Delhi makes Moustache the first choice for many scouting hostels in the capital city. Under the command of one of the first hostel entrepreneurs of India, Amber, Moustache has also started in Jaipur. The sunny terrace is one of the favourite spots to unwind and even do Yoga with an instructor in the early hours of the morning. The highlight, though, is the guided tours that the hostel organizes.
The all-white minimalistic aesthetics and unplastered walls of Jugaad are a refreshing break from a burst of colours and graffiti that other hostels are often suffused in. The recycling inclination is an added plus, as is the sprawling terrace with comfortable chairs. The shared kitchen on the terrace is well equipped and great for self-catering. More on www.facebook.com/jugaadhostel
The Madpackers Hostel
The terrace of Madpackers Hostel is the most coveted spot of the pad – this is where bonfires or sunny afternoons become the converging point for many travellers to come and share their stories from around the world. Who could beat this social ambience, where conversations flow easily? More on www.facebook.com/themadpackershostel
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Jugaadus: Jugaadus in Amritsar open up the world of Punjab’s excellent fare, openhearted hospitality and engaging history. More on www.jugaadus.com
Vedanta Wake Up: Limited to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Vedanta Wake Up is present in South India. More on www.vedantawakeup.com
Youth Hostels Association of India and Hosteling International: This chain of hostels has the widest reach in India with more than 100 hostels spread across the country. More on www.yhaindia.org
Le Pension – The heritage city of Jaipur is made easier with the presence of Le Pension. More on www.lepension.com
InnDia – The Amritsar-based hostel can host upto 26 guests at a time – enough to have ample conversations and variety of encounters. More on www.inn-dia.com
Red Door – Wedged in the heart of Fontainhas area of Panjim, Red Door is Goa’s finest hostel with access to a historical environment. More on www.facebook.com/reddoorhostelgoa
Prison – One of the few concept hostels in the country, Prison emulates the look and feel of a lock up. Amongst many quirky things, the entrance through a truck trumps all other experiences. This lies close to the Anjuna beach. More on www.thehostelcrowd.com/prisonhostel