This incredibly pretty — and astonishingly neat — village in Meghalaya is a treat. A walkabout gives you house after enchanting house, raised on stilts and draped with flowering vines. The treetop guesthouse could inspire a children’s storybook: a narrow bamboo bridge takes you across to two cosy bedrooms, and the house is surrounded by dense thickets. Here also is your chance to see the famous living root bridges. Mawlynnong is 90km from Shillong. Tariff: Rs 3,000. Contact: 0364-2502420, email@example.com
The dry lands of Kutch have always fascinated travellers for its dramatic landscape but the community-run rural resort Shaam-e-Sarhad takes you quite into the heart of things. Stay in tents, or if you’re keen on the authentic, in bhungas — circular mud huts with sloping roofs, typical of the Banni region. Hodka is 63km from Bhuj. Contact: 02832-654124, www.hodka.in
Stride about citrus orchards, plucking a tangy fruit or two, whistling a dog to heel... That’s what you’d have at Citrus County. This farm has suites and luxury tents with every comfort. Tour the city, visit the dairy farm or simply stay in and lap up the robust Punjabi hospitality. Hoshiarpur is 2hrs by road from Amritsar. Contact: 9815077880, www.citruscountyfarmstay.com
If you ever wanted to don the pagdi of a Rajasthani Thakur and play pretend, here’s where you should do it — at this honest-to-goodness Rajasthani haveli called Chandra Mahal. There’s Mughal architecture, a story attached to its name and peacocks strutting on its ledges. Take a camel cart into the village, buy a few local carts and have a close, intimate look at rural Rajasthan. Peharsar is 31km from Bharatpur and 200km from Delhi. Contact: 05643-264336, www.chandramahalhaveli.com
A whole village inhabited by artists, this is the centre of dwindling art forms of pattachitra painting and chitra pothi. Creative sensibilities pour out here — there are mural paintings on every wall, a miscellany of geometric designs as well as mythological figures. A community-run lodge called Gram Kutir provides accommodation for visiting artists and tourists. Raghurajpur is 16km from Puri.
Contact: Sudhir Sahi, 09810042602, www.exploreruralindia.org