The Himalayas, ranked as the world's third-largest repository of ice and snow, stand in unparalleled glory, rivalled only by Antarctica and the Arctic. It's true that any time is a good time to venture into the mountains, the splendour of the Himalayas truly shines during the rainy season and the winters and summers offer distinct experiences. Although some may argue that monsoons and winter months pose challenges for travel, true mountain enthusiasts and adventure seekers would eagerly secure a booking at any of these gorgeous homestays without hesitation. Here's a list of homestays where you can enjoy the best of mountain life.
This lovely chalet, perched on a 6,600-foot hilltop, features a dining room with a glass roof and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. With endless views of the Himalayas and pine forests, you'll never need to fake your Zoom background again. The sleek two-bedroom Manali guesthouse is made of Burma teak, English oak, and pine wood. It is furnished with Scandinavian lights, customised furniture by Anthologie Design, and a beautiful art collection. Enjoy a Kashmiri, Indian, or Italian lunch prepared by the in-house chef. Curl up by the fireplace or stare through the glass ceiling into Himachal's starry skies. This homestay really does give you the feeling of heaven on earth.
Price: The entire chalet with two rooms starts from INR 18,000 More details here
This peaceful property is roughly an hour's drive from the bustling town of Kasauli and provides all the privacy you require. From this hotel, you can see the spectacular Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas and smell the perfume of pine trees. Take in the atmosphere from the expansive living area, bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, or the nicest feature of the house - the huge terrace. The residence will take you on a world journey from the lap of the Himalayas. Afghan pillows, Japanese coffee service, a Russian vase, Iranian Tabriz carpets, Italian chinaware, and Polish crystal wine glasses are among the keepsakes from their trips. Spend your evenings cuddling up by the fire or enjoying some fresh barbecue. Book here.
Price: Doubles starting from INR 12000
Sanjiv's Aira Holme Retreat is a 10-minute drive from the city centre, tucked away in the tranquil enclave of Chotta Shimla. Before Sanjiv, and her husband, Birinder "Billy" Singh, the owners, opened the doors to guests in 2012, the house was used as a billiards parlour. In her honour, Billy and their daughter now run the homestay. The two rooms with ensuite bathrooms have sitting areas with views of the mountains and swinging deodars in the breeze. Relax on the well-kept grounds, read a book in the cosy attic, or play catch with the three friendly dogs. Book here.
Price: Contact property for rates
Contact: +919814782557; +919814052557; +919216552557; +919816021713
The 150-year-old home of Neeru and Naveen Bhandari could be the perfect spot to disconnect from the outside world. There are just four cottages, built on a sprawling 70 acres, each with its private verandah overlooking the spectacular Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas. You can borrow over 500 volumes from the estate's tiny library if you want to curl up and read by the fireplace. Enjoy fresh, homegrown vegetables and fruits in your cuisine and liquids. Stroll around the tea gardens while listening to the bubbling of mountain streams. Remember to schedule some playtime with the friendly resident dogs, Casper, Diana, and Brandy. The property is about 24 kilometres from Gaggal Airport. Book here.
Price: Cottages starting from INR 4,000 to INR 9,000
The Mirage is a wonderful hideaway for art connoisseurs, set against the backdrop of the Dhauladhar range and the Shivalik Hills. The house is just down the road from the Andretta artist colony at Palampur. When Norah Richards bought the land from the District Commissioner of Kangra 75 years ago, she laid the first stone for the colony. Aside from students of the arts, the homestay has expanded to include yoga enthusiasts and theatre groups. The property consists of three cottages with unique bedrooms filled with curios, a living, dining, and reading area, and a kitchenette. Relax in the heated swimming pool during your downtime, or simply sit back and watch the sleepy town go by. Book here.
Price: Doubles starting from INR 8,300 for Non AC Twins; AC Suites at INR 10,500