Shahpura Bagh, Rajasthan
The Shahpura family call their residence a homestay but to the observer, the white-washed buildings scattered around a pool look distinctly upmarket. In fact, the Shahpura are descendants of the Raj, but you wouldn’t know it from the warm welcome and down-to earth atmosphere of their home. Staying here is all about excursions into the region and local interaction. Depending on your tastes, you may like to visit a local school, go boating on the tranquil lake or ride a bullock cart into the village to meet the neighbours.
Activities have a dual purpose – to showcase traditional way of life, but also to help support local projects and this method of sustainable tourism is a forward-thinking approach to safeguarding for the future. After a day out in Rajasthan’s rural pastures come home for a cooling swim before sunset drinks and a home cooked feast in the dining room, using recipes passed down through generations of this philanthropic family.
Chanoud Garh, Rajasthan
Halfway between Jodhpur and Udaipur lies Chanoud Garh, a 300-year-old crumbling fort, located in the heart of a Thar desert village, backed by the Aravalli mountains. Here, you’ll find a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in village life with friendly introductions from the owners, the Singh family.
As you would expect of life in a rural Rajasthani village, Chanoud is low-key and steeped in tradition; and in contrast to the whirlwind of Rajasthan cities, you can slow your pace here. Take a cookery lesson with the mother of the house, walk through the village to see the market, school and vegetable garden or drive out in an open jeep to the into the cracked-earth landscapes of the desert where women gather wood and migratory birds whirl overhead. Your hosts are an educated, friendly bunch, use your evenings to hear their stories with drinks on the rooftop terrace surrounded by flickering candles as you await a delicious home cooked meal.
Devra Homestay, Udaipur
In just ten minutes from the marble-swathed temples and palaces of Udaipur (and its accompanying bustle) you could find yourself at tranquil and rural homestay Devra, a house built within the lush estate of an old temple. Although billed as a homestay, we think it has the feel of a chic retreat, and with its open-to-the-sky courtyard, infinity pool, wide terraces and spacious suites, you’ll find plenty of spots to unwind.
Welcoming owners Major Durga Das and Jyoti Jasol have lived here for over thirty years – there isn’t much they don’t know about the area. Take of advantage of this with morning walks with the Major- his knowledge of the local birdlife is astonishing – or watch Jyoti cook up a storm in the kitchen. Devra even has its own farm and dairy which your hosts would be delighted to show you around. In the evenings, settle down with the house dogs in the garden for a drink, and revel in the surprising peace of this under-the-radar gem.
Rural Rajasthani Homestays
Enjoy the splendour of the Golden triangle before experiencing Indian rural life at characterful, family-run properties. Read on for our recommendations.