The choices and availability of accommodation in India is plentiful and divers. With so many visitors per year, largely backpackers, there was no difficulty finding budget accommodation. We started out in North India and trailed down to the south, so it was great to compare the different types of accommodations in this enormous country.
Visiting both North and South India, we noticed a few differences in the facilities of guesthouses and hotels. In the north, especially in Rajasthan, a beautiful option was staying in a (converted) Haveli. Havelis are old private mansions elaborately decorated with one or more courtyards and rich in Indian architectural heritage. After a couple of guesthouses, we noticed one very welcoming feature of our accommodations which was the rooftop. Rooftops became our favorite place to sit back and watch the everyday life on the streets. Arriving in India and roaming the streets can be a bit of a shock to your senses and from the rooftop, you can be a spectator without having to dodge cows, cars and people and your ears are grateful for the lowered level of honking horns. Some of the places we stayed at did not have a sit down place to eat, instead, room service was always offered. We visited the north in January which was the cold season, however, heating was often not available, but you can ask for extra blankets. Hot water was also not always available but in some cases, hot water was provided by the bucket.
Taj view from our rooftop
Breakfast on our Jodhpur rooftop
Our main highlight in the south were the beaches and we enjoyed our huts, many right on the beach. We also noticed that there were more home stays and rooftops were replaced by lush gardens. In Kerala, we spent a couple of days on our houseboat, a popular and relaxing way to visit the backwaters. The two nights on the houseboat including 3 meals, tea break and snacks costs € 95 per night for 2 couples, our visiting friends and us. Without the houseboat nights, on average, we spent € 10.60 per room per night.
What made our travels easier in India was to make sure to have a guesthouse or hotel reserved and an address on hand when arriving at the town’s bus or train station. As there is usually a pre-paid rickshaw or taxi stand at most stations, if well prepared, you can be on your way before getting flocked around by the many touts.
These were the places we called home:
New Delhi – Hotel Srivinayak
Agra – Hotel Kamal
Jaipur – Hotel Rishi
Jaipur – Ratna Niwas
Pushkar – Hotel Everest
Jodhpur – Kesar Heritage Hotel
Goa – Brandon Guesthouse
Gokarna – Nirvana Cafe
Kochi (Cochin) – Ayman Home stay
Aleppey – Sona Heritage Home
Kerala – Our houseboat
Varkala – Jicky’s
Pondicherry – Kailash Guesthouse
Mamallapuram – Daphne Guesthouse