Memos from Asia

Four Unique Homestays in Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh has everything from views of spectacular snow-capped mountains and the lingering aroma of freshly plucked apples to the haunting beauty of deodar forests and an omnipresent spiritual aura that enlightens the mind. Besides being one of India’s most beautiful states, it also is the quintessential long-weekend getaway for folks looking to leave behind the craziness of cities likes Delhi and Chandigarh.

While the region boasts impressive luxury hotels, sojourning at a homestay in Himachal Pradesh is a captivating experience that promises warmth, delicious homecooked food, and a much-needed escape into some of its lesser-known provinces.

The Hidden Burrow – Jibhi

The Hidden Burrow in Jibhi lives up to its name by being a one-of-a-kind hidden gem of a property that is still flying under the radar of the weekend holiday crowd. Its location, amidst lush natural scenes, open surroundings, and waterfalls, makes it the ideal starting point for long walks. For those looking to relax, it is the perfect background to a day spent reading a book, drinking copious amounts of tea or coffee, and munching on comfort foods prepared at The Hidden Burrows’ in-house Hobbit Café.

The real rustic nature of this lovely homestay in Himachal Pradesh, though, comes to light once you look at its five accommodations, each made using natural elements. Jannat is the most exclusive. It is a treehouse at the height of 60ft and comes with a double bed, balcony with a day bed, kitchenette, and bathroom. The Hidden Burrows also has “India’s first treehouse hostel” that offers comfortable dorms and cabins for solo travelers or large groups.

Address: Banjar – Jouri Rd, Jibhi, Himachal Pradesh 175123

Darang Tea Estate – Darang

An unmissable opportunity to experience a 150-year-old legacy, Darang Tea Estate, close to Mcleod Ganj and Palampur, inhabits 70 acres of land and offers its guests four delightful cottages to call as their temporary abodes. When staying here, you are guaranteed a warm-hearted welcome by hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Bhandari, who are forever eager to indulge in lengthy conversations on a myriad of topics, from cooking and gardening to photography and, of course, fun things to do when in Darang.

The interiors of the cottages are simple, with a heavy dose of homeliness, but that only adds to the authenticity of your homestay experience in Himachal Pradesh. Each of the dwellings has double bedrooms, perfect for families, and extra spaces in the form of a living room, dining room, and veranda. When residing at Darang Tea Estate, you can easily explore nearby places of interest such as Kangra Fort, Bhagsunath Temple, and Dhramkot. However, do not miss out on the tea gardens, the nearby mountain stream, and fishing breaks that make for the simple pleasures of life available right at your door front.

Address: Kangra, Darang, Himachal Pradesh 170060

Gone Fishing Cottages – Village Deori

Situated within The Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gone Fishing Cottages started as a passion project for Upendra and Dimple Kamra but soon transformed into one of the best homestays in Himachal Pradesh. Staying at Gone Fishing Cottages is also the perfect excuse to discover the many faces of the gorgeous Tirthan Valley. Be it admiring the raw natural beauty of the surroundings, trout fishing in the river, or trekking through orchards to visit waterfalls and the famous Serloaskar Lake, there is much to do when you decide to stay at Gone Fishing Cottages.

The lodges at Gone Fishing Cottages are well-appointed, provincial, and comfortable with a mix of modern-day and classic touches. Homebodies will like the presence of an LCD TV with a satellite connection, whereas romantics will droll over the traditional “Bukhari” heater in every cottage. Adding to your convenient stay is the delicious food, lovingly made using “organic ingredients sourced locally from the farmers of the valley.”

Address: Tirthan Valley Road, Village Deori, P.O. Kalwari, Himachal Pradesh 175123

Taara House – Manali

Three kilometres away from Manali city center, Taara House has an idyllic location, away from the crowds, yet close enough for convenience. The two-bedroom cottage further enhances its allure by creating an ambiance that highlights the region’s splendor while providing creature comforts that make a homestay in the mountains all the more special. Not only that, but there is also a unique juxtaposition between the old and the new at the cottage. Guests will notice that contemporary elements such as designer light fixtures and bespoke furniture merge wonderfully with the traditionality of the reclaimed wood used to build the residence.

As a result, the living spaces are wondrous at Taara House. The rooms have exceptional art and quirky artifacts, think an antique typewriter desk lamp. Then there are the windows all around that let in plenty of sunlight throughout the day while providing unobstructed views of the distant mountain range. Not to forget, there is the absolutely dreamy glasshouse, a place you will have to force yourself to leave come bedtime. In the end, Taara House has a unique and ever-present refreshing characteristic about it that will make you want to stay there, just a little bit longer.

Address: Kullu – Naggar – Manali Rd, Prini, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175103

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