Mountain Cottages To River Cruises: 5 Offbeat Stay Options For Your Next Family Holiday

Experience India’s picturesque towns, rural hamlets and Himalayan villages, sail along mighty rivers and drive through stunning landscapes

Rent a cottage in the mountains

Summer holiday season is around the corner. Looking for some interesting places to spend the days with the gang or fam? We have put together a list of summer vacation stays that ensure safe locations combined with unique experiences that nudge you to travel mindfully.

Chanoud Garh, Pali, Rajasthan

Situated near Chanoud village in the heart of rural Rajasthan, the 300-year-old fort-palace has been exquisitely restored into a heritage property highlighting the taste of true Rajput hospitality. A quiet getaway to explore this region, Chanoud Garh leads you back to an era of enduring local traditions. It blends modernity with regal splendour and has been painstakingly restored to perfection. The food is an integral part of the entire experience and so every meal is an occasion adorned by menus that have been in the family for generations. Experiences that promise to bring Chanoud Garh’s rich legacy to life include jeep safaris, heritage walks, engaging with the locals, hikes, unspoilt rural villages, and culinary workshops. Book here.

Nearest Airport: Jodhpur - 125 km

Chapslee, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

A short walk from Mall Road in Shimla, Chapslee is one of the oldest estates on Elysium Hill and among the first to have been converted into a heritage hotel as early as 1973. Beyond the colonial charm that curates the timeless elegance of the days of the Raj, the many guided activities offered by Chapslee showcase the best of Shimla. Think trails through pine forests, picnics in the jungles, and heritage walks and apple orchards. Book here.

Assam Bengal Navigation Cruise

Uniquely explore eastern India as you sail down India’s greatest rivers – the Ganges and Brahmaputra in a boutique ship. ABN was the first to put Indian long-distance river cruises on the 'World River-Cruising'. There is something pleasingly vintage about the cruise ships of ABN. The mighty Brahmaputra river was previously deemed too wild to navigate until Assam Bengal Navigation embarked on their first maiden voyage. They offer four-to-ten nights filled with adventure, wildlife, village walks, visits to tea gardens or craft villages, exploring country towns in hand-pulled rickshaws, picnics and barbecues on shifting river islands and dance performances. Cruising on the Ganges is all about exploring small hamlets and temple towns in a little-known but culturally rich part of Eastern India. Your three-to-seven night itinerary will include the powerful temple town of Kalna, the historically rich plassey, the abundance of heritage in Murshidabad, Mughal ruins of Gaur and relics of colonial rule by the French, Dutch and the British. Check here for the year's itinerary.

Vanghat, Corbett, Uttarakhand

A beacon of sustainable tourism in the modern time, Vanghat is one of the most remote wildlife lodges located on a secluded bank of the Western Ramganga River inside Corbett Tiger Reserve. The verdant landscape hosts nine spacious cottages that offer absolute privacy and comfort — each one dedicated to a different group of wildlife, named and painted accordingly to give them unique identities. The outdoor expanse and setting within the property mean that you can observe wildlife even from the property. Book here.

Windermere Retreats, Kerala

The curated properties of Windermere - The Estate & The River House are the epitome of calm and serene and nestled in spectacular but diverse locations of Kerala. Set on the banks of the River Periyar, at the base of the Western Ghats, is the charming Windermere River House offering excellent experiences and thoughtful services. The loudest sound you will hear is the splash of water or the call of a bird. Find yourself a lovely spot to go fishing or laze with a book as you watch the river flow by. With a backdrop of tea gardens, lush hills and cardamom fields, Windermere Estate is famous for its unique ambience and charm. The property acts as a base for a spectacular day-long trek to the second largest peak in western ghats, the Meespulliamala. Windermere Estate is ideal for those looking for an idyllic mountain refuge far from the hustle of the city. Book here.