Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

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India is home to numerous small, family-owned and independent hotels. In fact, it is not a leap of imagination to say that the range of hotels and homestays is wider and more varied than almost anywhere else in the world. From jungle lodges, ancestral homes, landed manors and beautiful merchant houses, here are five of our favourite, unique getaways.

Olavipe – Poochakkal, Kerala

Family home of the Parayil Tharakans, a well-known Syrian Christian family of Kerala, Olavipe is a beautiful century-old traditional Keralan style mansion situated near the banks of the backwaters amidst lush tropical greenery. Life here is slow-paced and during a stay learn some traditional Keralan recipes from the family cook, explore the village or take a country boat through the picturesque canals. Olavipe is a morning’s drive from Kochi and close to the beach resorts of the south Indian coast / www.olavipe.com

Olavipe in Poochakkal in Kerala

Thengal Manor – Jorhat, Assam

Built in 1929, the historic colonial mansion of Thengal Manor is located in the pretty Assamese town of Jorhat in North East India. With its period furniture and décor, Thengal Manor has a special, old-world, ambiance. Jorhat is one of Assam’s major tea centres and is also an excellent base for exploring nearby Majuli Island home to unique Vaishnavite Hindu monasteries and Mishing tribal villages. Jorhat is close to wonderful Kaziranga National Park and Dibrugarh – gateway to Arunachal Pradesh / www.heritagetourismindia.com

Thengal Manor in Jorhat, Assam

Forsyth’s Lodge – Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

This lodge, a few minutes from the Tewa Reservoir and close to the entrance of Satpura National Park, is the perfect base to explore and experience one of India’s finest reserves. Owned by passionate wildlife enthusiasts, the twelve spacious cottages are made to a local design, have private verandas and colourful furnishings and are scattered around the central lodge and swimming pool. Uniquely, Satpura is the only tiger reserve that will permit walking safaris and there is also excellent birding / www.forsythlodge.com

Forsyth’s Lodge in Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

The Bangala – Karaikkudi, Tamil Nadu

A charming 1916 Chettinad Bungalow set amidst orchards and palms, The Bangala has been sensitively restored with period colonial furniture to make a delightful heritage guesthouse with plenty of character and atmosphere. Karaikkudi was home to some of South India’s wealthiest merchant families who made their fortune overseas in Ceylon, Burma and Indo-China during the 19th century and there are many grand mansions to explore. Karaikkudi is a morning’s drive from Madurai / www.thebangala.com

The Bangala in Karaikkudi, Tamil Nadu

Judge’s Court – Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh

The small 17th century heritage hotel of Judge’s Court sits in the heart of the small picturesque village of Pragpur and the mountainous foothills of Himachal Pradesh. Pragpur, with its old cobbled streets and pretty houses, has the distinction of being declared India’s first heritage village and is one of the best remaining examples of the architecture of this region. Close to the spectacular Kangra Valley, the walking here is excellent with Dharamsala and Shimla also easily reached by road / www.judgescourt.com

Judge’s Court in Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh

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