Gone are the days when hotels were the only choice of stay while planning a trip. Nowadays more and more people are opting for the privacy, comfort and local experiences that come along with staying in a cutesy homestay nestled somewhere away from the crowds. We give you five such Indian homestays that let you enjoy your privacy and cosy up this New Year’s Eve. By Amitha Ameen
Built in 1928, this colonial era bungalow sits pretty on a hilltop surrounded by carpeted tea plantations in the serene hillstation of Valparai in Tamil Nadu. With close proximity to Anamalai Hills in the Western Ghats, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Kerala and a stone’s throw away from the Shola forests — Sheikalmudi Bungalows by Tahr Trails lets you lean back and truly unwind in a natural setting. Celebrate the New Year in the wild by listening to the call of the birds, spotting wild animals and taking in a refreshing dip in any one of the numerous rivers and streams in the area.
This heritage homestay, located in Alleppey ‘Venice of the East’, was made famous by the movie Ekk Deewana Tha. The house became an overnight sensation and captured many hearts, thanks to its beautiful portrayal in the film. A typical day in this backwater facing 100-year-old heritage home would include, staying like a true local, enjoying houseboat rides on still Alleppey backwaters and indulging in delicious south Indian spreads.
This family-run rustic homestay is situated near the edge of a hill and can only be accessed by a short two-kilometre trek from the more famous Khajjiar – Mini Switzerland of India. Perfect for those who truly want to disconnect during New Year’s Eve. Don’t forget that temperatures in Himachal Pradesh around this time will be sub-zero. The entire homestay including the unobstructed views of Kailash Mansarovar and the Chamba Dam will be covered in snow and ice. But the warm hospitality, bonfire nights, stargazing and home-cooked meals are enough to make you feel cosy at this winter paradise.
There’s a popular opinion that Darjeeling in West Bengal is an overrated destination. But one weekend away at Ging Tea House, and your perception is bound to change. Located in Lebong Valley, this 154-year-old colonial heritage tea house is quietly nestled amongst tea plantations. Walking up in this classic and tastefully done house with its wooden flooring and royally decorated rooms is sure to take you back in time. Lounge on the sundeck, go on a tea trail, explore Darjeeling in a day or simply choose to stay cosy indoors.
Goa is a destination of choice for most people when it comes to spending a good time on New Year’s Eve. But this beach town can also get overwhelmingly crowded around this time. To enjoy the sights of Goa and staying away from the crowds, we suggest Olaulim Backyards. Run by a couple and their two kids, the rustic homestay is safely hidden away from the crowds. From pet dogs, cats, a goat, a pony and a donkey – its safe to say there is no dearth for entertainment within the homestay’s compounds. With just five sustainable cottages on offer, Olaulim Backyards lets you have all the privacy you need.