Ten charming homestays in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh

Image courtesy: ©Himalaica

There is something really comforting about unwinding at a homestay instead of a regular hotel. The owners go that extra mile to add some personal touch that makes you feel at home. And when they are tucked away in the mountains, gorgeous views are part of the deal. So when you next plan your holiday to Himachal or Uttarakhand, choose from these homestays for an authentic experience.

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UTTARAKHAND

The White Peaks, Gagar

 

Image courtesy: ©The White Peaks

Want to travel with your pet? This enchanting homestay welcomes them with open arms. Located in Gagar, a 45-minutes’ drive from Nainital, this beautiful house is the perfect spot to get away from it all and reconnect with nature. Lying off the much-treaded tourist path in a quiet village in Kumaon, the two-roomed cottage nestled in the midst of imposing oak trees has a breath-taking view of snow-capped peaks from the courtyard.

Image courtesy: ©The White Peaks

Simple home-cooked meals, hikes through the forest, walking down a narrow trail, catching up on some reading or just doing nothing is what this place is about.

The Birdcage, Mukteshwar

Image courtesy: ©The Birdcage

If the name is Birdcage, can the excited chirping of birds amid the serenity of nature be far away? After all, Mukteshwar is a hotspot for birds. The seven rooms are the perfect spot to rejuvenate from the chaos of a city and this homestay expands its culinary offerings beyond the Indian to include European food so that your cravings for pasta don’t go unsatiated.

Junoon in the Hills, Ranikhet

Whether you sit in the garden blooming with flowers like buttercups and lilies or relax indoors in front of a cosy fireplace, this secluded cottage in a village just before Ranikhet oozes with charm. There is a tiny stream flowing through its garden and your eye inevitably gets drawn to the undisturbed view of the gigantic Himalayan peaks in the distance. The impeccable interiors are warm and friendly.

Himalaica, Shyamkhet

Image courtesy: ©Himalaica

A stone path leads up to this slanting green-roofed house which is hugged by lush greenery all around. Its piece-de-resistance is the glass conservatory where you can sip freshly-brewed coffee drinking in the beauty of the Himalayas. Head out for a trek, play with the dogs, or just enjoy some moments of quiet solitude in this place that aptly calls itself a mountain retreat. It is located near the village of Shyamkhet on the Bhowali-Ramgarh road.

Jilling Terraces, Nainital

Image courtesy: ©Pallavi Pasricha

As you stand alone high above the clouds, this sprawling wooden house is the sole occupant of this stunning hillside. Nearly a century old, it has six rooms, a library and a gorgeous garden. You can watch the orange glow of the sunrise from your room and count the stars in the evening. The meals are home cooked and delicious. It is a one-hour drive from Kathgodam, the nearest railway station.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Ekam Chail, Chail

Image courtesy: ©Ekam Chail

This charming eco-friendly home away from the madding crowds of Shimla is located just before Chail. Surrounded by lush pine and deodar trees, none of the four guest rooms here are alike. The food, though vegetarian, is made by ingredients grown in their garden so expect to enjoy the freshest meals. If you’re a book worm then you won’t be able to pull yourself away from the library area.

The Ballu, Dharamshala

Want to stay at a mud house built in 1903? The rooms barely have any furniture or an attached bathroom and there is no menu. But what you do get instead are delicious home-cooked meals, two loving dogs Bibi and Begum, a stream running just 20 feet away and a lovely view of the Dhauladhar Range. Rest assured the place will make you fall in love with minimalism and simplicity.

Meenabagh Ratnari, Ratnari

Image courtesy: ©Pallavi Pasricha

It may be a tad bit tough to find this place, but once you reach, there is no looking back. Located amidst lush apple orchards, the four-bedroom cottage beckons you to take it easy and do nothing. It has everything you would expect from a traditional Himachali home – wooden floors, mud and stonewalls, an attic, a fireplace in the sun room, gorgeous views and good food. Don’t miss out on apple picking.

Gone Fishing Cottages, Deori

Image courtesy: ©Gone Fishing Cottages

The enchanting Tirthan Valley is home to a small village Deori where you can soak in a few days of peace and quiet at Gone Fishing Cottages. Set up lovingly by Upendra and Dimple, all the seven rooms here are made of local material and we won’t get talking of the views because then this story won’t end. There’s lip-smacking food and the sunsets are extremely pretty. You can bring your pets as well.

Kalta Homestay, Brall

The three-storied house in the small village of Brall, 85km from Shimla, blends the old with the new – wooden interiors with carpeted floors, a solar shower but no attached bathrooms. Sample local Ladakhi and Himachali flavours in your meals dished out with fresh, local ingredients. Enthusiastic campers can go for an overnight stay at Kuppad peak or just spend some time connecting with the friendly locals.