Taking to the hills when the sweltering summer heat comes calling is the law of the land. Waking up in the mountains and being regaled by postcard like views is the stuff of escapist dreams and the little summer preview we gave you on budget home stays in the picturesque North last week was just a warm-up for what we have in store for you in the future. Why would you choose to stay in the city, greasy-nosed and stuck in a sweaty rut, when you could be at one of these gorgeous home stays after all? If ever there was a time to be thankful for the mind-boggling array of options India’s varied geography offers to us, it is now.
This time round, we headed South to the misty hills, exploring tucked away locations and properties that’ll have you forgetting the very notion of a stifling summer. Seeing is believing, so check out your varied options yourself right here:
Where: Wayanad, Kalpetta, Kerala
Eco-friendly jungle getaway meets great facilities in the backdrop of the picturesque Western Ghats in this homestay in north western Kerala. The location of the premises are a mere 3 kilometres from the city centre making it accessible without ever feeling like you’re having privacy compromised. Sightseeing is a definite option if you’d like to head out; if not, barbeque nights in this haven don’t sound too shabby either.
Cost: Rs 4,000 per night
II. Heritage Stay
This one’s for the outdoor fanatics who like to get on the trekking shoes. The ‘unlikely combination of southern England and Australian stone cottage’ commands breathtaking views of the Ketty valley, the world’s broadest, inhabited valley, with trekking trails and hiking paths mere minutes away from the premises. The homestay itself is simple, with the cottage including 7 double bedrooms, a restaurant and a common area.
Cost: Rs 3,023 per night
Where: Kanthalloor, Idukki district, Kerala State
This homestay situated at an altitude of 1, 700 metres and below the frostline has successfully stolen our hearts. About 300 metres from hosts’ house, the cottage is a quaint terracotta-tiled affair, overlooking exquisite views of god’s own country. There’s plenty to do in the area even if you set out on foot, with tea estates, a riverside shrine in a wildlife sanctuary, a dam and a reservoir in the hills just begging to be explored.
Cost: Rs 3,280 per night
Where: Coonoor, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu
A heritage property built in the 1800’s, countless British aristocrats have enjoyed the myriad offerings of the Nilgiri out of this residence, which has now been restored to make way for cosy rooms with modern facilities. Set amidst 1800 acres of tea gardens, the exquisite architecture and the views are bound to make for a trip you’re unlikely to forget, and if you do find your way here, we promise we won’t be the teanest bit jealous.
Cost: Rs 4,000 per night.
Where: Idukki, Kerala
Organic farms, cardamom plantations, tea plantations and little hamlets are all a stone’s throw away from these two mud-house marvels, constructed solely out of custom-made chemical-free and completely eco-friendly mud-bricks and thatched grass roofs by local tribes called Muduvans, in their traditional style. What’s really fantastic is how authentic and rustic the ethnic mud walls are, complementing the classy, contemporary interiors, bathed in warm, yellow lighting, perfectly.
Cost: Rs 8,000 onwards
Where: Wayand,Meppadi, Kerala.
Crawling into a cave now seems like a much more promising prospect than before after the discovery of this little find. A natural cave has been converted into a cosy space where you can enjoy nature at the closest possible distance. This homestay with a difference used to provide shelter to tribal communities while they were out hunting, as was discovered from the many tribal artifacts unearthed here. Today, a king-sized bed lords over the room, and there’s even an attached toilet with shower. Right outside the door of the cave house, there’s a campfire every night to keep your stony quarters toasty.
Cost: Rs 5,500 per night
Where: Vythiri, Kerala
This Kerala homestay offers far more than a house - the whole hill is pretty much at your disposal. The dream getaway to help you flex some creative muscles, valleys and hills undulate around the premises and there’s even a treehouse at the top of a hill where you can have a quiet barbeque, or just choose to crawl into a sleeping bag and nap in.
Cost: Rs 5,100 per night
VIII. The Point
Where: Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu
Luxury at its indulgent best can be found at The Point, thanks to the efforts of a couple of hospitality professionals who have travelled to and worked in many countries all over the world. The international standards of hospitality are apparent in these aesthetic quarters, which house 2 suites and 7 super deluxe rooms.
Cost: Rs 6,050 per night
IX. Boutique BnB
Where: Madikeri, Coorg
Ancestral property dating back to the 190a0’s located in the middle of a beautiful coffee, pepper and cardamom plantation? Yes, please. The Kedakal bungalow has four bedrooms, out of which two are dedicated to guests. 5 km from the nearest town Suntikoppa en route to Madikeri, this one’s just chockfull of history and intrigue.
Cost: Rs 5,500 per night
X. Luxury stay
Where: Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, India
Listen up, wildlife fanatics and birdwatchers - listed by Conde Nast as one of the top 30 eco-resorts in India, this should definitely be right up your alley. Immersed in the Nilgiri biosphere, you could be regaled with a view of up to five ranges of the Nilgiris on a clear day, not to mention birds like Hornbills, Indian Gaur and even elephants have been spotted from this homestay before. This luxury stay is also located close to Mudumalai National Park, the famous Blue mountain toy train and the postcard-like hill stations of Ooty and Coonoor.
Cost: Rs 5,499 per night
Where: Pachilakaadu, Kerala
Fringe Ford is the place to be if you’re looking to be completely cut off from the world just for a little while. Tucked away into a cosy valley, ancient forest peaks tower around the premises affording visitors a panoramic view of the surrounding jungles. The low-slung bungalow with gorgeous Mangalore tile and massive glass windows make for a cosy home to return home to and there are several trekking trails just waiting for you to set out exploring on.
Cost: Rs 6,991 per night
Researched by Sanyukta Shetty