Do you wish to travel to Uttarakhand? But not the touristy way?
If the state has been on your holiday bucket list, there's some news for you. This Himalayan state has been in a process to rediscover itself through various homestay initiatives in unexplored towns and villages. Here's are 10 secret homestays around Uttarakhand that give you a chance to unwind differently on your next vacation.
38 km ahead of Mussoorie, Kanatal is a serene town away from the touristy chaos. Abhay Sharma is your host at the Pahadi House. His homestay initiative has helped conserve and protect abandoned village homes. His idea was to 'give back' to the mountains that were even God's favorite destination.
Apart from your comfortable stay at one of the Pahadi Houses, your itinerary can include leisure walks in the surrounding hills, jeep rides to the unexplored jungles and plucking fresh fruits from apple orchards.
Image Credits: Pahadi House
2. Itmenaan Estate, Binsar
This 100-year old traditional Kumaoni house has been painstakingly restored into a homestay. The 3 beautifully designed suites are any travelers' dream home in the hills.
Away from the humdrum of everyday, spend your days in the lap of the hills to stare at the night sky, read, write or paint. You can also take part in invigorating farming, gardening and bee-keeping activities.
Image Credits: Itmenaan Lodges
3. Dalar Village Homestay
Dalar is a hidden Kumaoni hamlet in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Out of the 11 houses in this village, Ganesh Dutt's property has been restored to a homestay. The peaceful location of the house gives you a magical view of the Dalar Ranges.
You can indulge in leisurely day treks into the villages and meet the friendly residents. Enjoy the local food, the sound of flute and music recital by the villagers. Dalar Homestay indeed presents a perfect life in the hills.
Image Credits: Dalar Village Homestay
4. Dak Bunglow, Peora
The old Dak Bangalow at Peora built in 1905 was earlier used by the british as an inspection Bungalow. After years of dilapidation, the house was leased by Pradeep and Shubha in 2005 who are now the hosts of this homestay.
The homestay can be your dream vacation home since its original architecture, walls, fireplaces, wooden ceilings and grand verandas were retained, offering an indulgence in colonial royalty, homely hospitality and panoramic Himalayan views.
Image Credits: Dak Bungalow Peora
5. Kuflon Basics, Uttarkashi
11 kms from Uttarkashi into the Assi Ganga Valley lies the hamlet of Kuflon. The village was once famous for the sweet wild berry 'Kafal'. At Kuflon Basics, Anil Kuriyal a native to this place will be your host.
Amidst the majestic hills of Garhwal, spend some time reflecting and commune with nature. Meet the locals as you enjoy the unspoilt treks around the area and discover the tranquil nearby villages.
Image Credits: Kuflon Basics
This 1000 acre property called Jones estate was initially owned by Col. Jones who was the magistrate of the area. After India's independence the property was bought by Frederick Smatacek, who fled from the nazi and managed to board a ship to India. His descendant Paddy Smetacek will be your host at this homestay.
The homestay is also known as 'The Retreat' and it has served diplomats from around the world. Fredrick Smetacek who was also an avid entomologist had an extensive collection of butterflies here. The homestay's old-world charm and the family's warm hospitality can possibly give you the best vacation ever.
Image Credits: The Retreat
7. Kamla Pandey's House And Other Homestays at Sarmoli
The homestays at Sarmoli is a rural development success story. A kilometer ahead of Munsyari is the quaint village of Sarmoli where the sarpanch of the village Mallika initiated the homestay program to help provide income to the people of Sarmoli. The program was started in 2004 and 15 families happily turned their homes into homestays.
Image Credits: Ipshita Bhattacharya
Kamla Pandey's house is one of these 15 village homes that welcome travelers and promise a comfortable stay in the lap of hills. The treks around the area and opportunities for birdwatching can be included in your itinerary.
Image Credits: Padma Madipalli
8. Keanna Village Home, Nathuakhan
These secret himalayan homes are in every corner of this state won't cease to amaze you. Keanna Village home is a quiet homestay at Nathuakhan near Mukteshwar and Nainital. This region of Kumaon which is aptly known as the fruit basket of the country promises to refresh your senses and enjoy the hills in the most authentic way.
At the height of 1940 meters, the homestay turns into a magical snowclad heaven during winters. For the rest of the year the cool breeze at the hilltop and the warm sun makes it just the right place for your next vacation.
Image Credits: Keanna Village Home
This heavenly homestay is set in a clearing amidst 100 acres of untouched forests. The 80 year old house is only a couple of hours away from Nainital in the South Gola Range of the Himalayas. Spend your days looking at the majestic Nanda Devi and the surrounding peaks.
At Jilling Terraces, the hosts believe in balanced eco system where the people can live purely off the land. This homestay sources raw vegetables and fruits from the local farmers and this could be your chance too to reconnect with this beautiful little Himalayan world and its people.
Image Credits: Jilling Terraces
10. Innisfree Forest Estate, Nathuakhan
This Forest Estate is the mountain home of Lat and his elder brother Dway - descendants of Kumaon’s royal Chand Dynasty and a Burmese princess. Together with Lat’s Latvian wife Julia and their mother Aunty Kiran, they warmly welcome travellers into their home and lives.
Their house is the abode of spectacular mountain sunrises and sunsets, and breath-taking views of the snow-hooded Himalayas on clear days. Perfect for solitude seekers, solo travellers, writers, artists, and anyone looking for tranquillity, inspiring vistas, long walks, and lots of good food and conversation.
Image Credits: Innisfree Forest Estate
The warm sun, the cool breeze and a magical little cottage in the hills can give a sunny side to life.
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