Hotels, resorts, home stays, budget and boutique properties, villas, and even palaces… there is no end to accommodation options in India. They are mostly located in urban centers or tourist places. However, most Indians stay at villages, where the lifestyle is vastly different. Your Indian experience won’t be complete unless you visit the villages, see the ways of life there, learn about the food habits, and the rich culture. You simply cannot know about the country unless you visit the villages, or better stay there.
Now you can stay at Indian villages, thanks to the many village and eco-friendly resorts that have come up in the last few years. Many of them are heritage properties as well.
The ethnic touch you will find here adds a special flavor, where you can identify yourself with the local lifestyle – men wearing cummerbunds while women sporting a Bandhni Saree as a pleasurable change. Incidentally, these ethnic wears are often gifted freely by the Indian village resorts as prized souvenirs. You can also see the villagers making Indian handicrafts, and may even learn how to make them.
Here are a few classic heritage village resorts of India –
A 5-star village resort near Jaipur, the capital city of the Indian state of Rajasthan is an exact replica of a village in Rajasthan that reflects the local culture, tradition and cuisine in every detail. Here you can ride an elephant, camel, learn pottery, painting, see the craftsmen at work, try local foods, and can even see traditional cultural displays of Rajasthan. There are regular and royal cottages here and havelis – all fully air-conditioned and ethnically furnished with jhula, the typical indoor swing, so popular in Rajasthan homes. Complete with en suite modern bathrooms, mini-bar and many luxuries for the modern-day traveler. There is continental cuisine available as well.
Spice Village Resort
This is in the South, at the Cardamom Hills in the state of Kerala. Enjoy here the aromatic flavor of Indian herbs as a natural gift of the Gods throughout the year. Surrounded by lush green hills and swift flowing mountains, the resort sits among acres of coffee and cardamom plantations as far as the eye can see. Your taste buds will be amply rewarded by Kerala curry or continental cuisine, your love for Indian wildlife will be fully satisfied by a visit to the nearby Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, known for its herd of wild elephants and carnivores such as tigers and panthers.
Sun Village Resort
This is in Goa, close to its share of sand, surf and golden beaches. It is a mini melting pot of Indo-Portuguese cultural heritage where both nations have given their best to create a cultural haven, which is something novel and attractive. For instance, the taste of Goan Pork Vindaloo is absolutely heavenly while its recipe is totally different from the original Portuguese way of cooking. Located near the Anjuna Beach in the palm-fringed area, the resort offers picture postcard salt pans and acres of emerald green paddy fields that provide feast for the eyes.
There are many other village resorts spread throughout the country, such as Monchasa close to Calcutta, Manesar Heritage Village near Delhi, Vythiri Village and Coconut Lagoon, both in Kerala, Mountain Trail at Mukteshwar in the Himalayas.