There’s no faster way to connect with a new culture than by staying with a local family. If you find you don’t have friends or family who live in Delhi, the next best thing is a homestay.
I recently visited Delhi for the first time and after lots of time researching hotels, I came across a great article from travel blogger and India expert Mariellen Ward from BreathDreamGo.com about homestays in Delhi and instantly became intrigued. I began researching homestays and quickly realized this would be a great option for me, as a female solo traveler heading to Delhi for the first time.
Visiting India for the first time can be overwhelming. It’s a big country, and I wanted to start my experience in India with an authentic travel experience. What is more authentic than booking a room at a homestay with a local families house? I also quickly found this is the best way to discover a destination.
If you want a unique local experience, a homestay is the way to go!
What is a Homestay?
A homestay is part of someone’s home that has been converted into a hotel. It’s similar to a bed and breakfast (B&B), but with a homestay you are staying with the family who owns the home. Whereas, at a bed and breakfast, it may be the home owner or might be a employee running the hotel. Also at a B&B it the person who owns the home doesn’t always live in the hotel. I stayed at Prakash Kutir, owned by Gupta family during my time in Delhi.
Top 8 Reasons to Choose a Homestay in Delhi instead of a Hotel
- Living with locals
For first-time travelers to India or any foreign country or destination you haven’v visited, a homestay will feel less intimidating than a large impersonal hotel. The family members will most likely have more time to chat with you than the front desk person at a hostel or hotel. Homes are often not in the ‘touristy’ areas, so you get insight into how people really live in that particular town.
- Authentic Home-cooked Meals
One of the best parts about staying in a homestay is the delicious home-cooked food. It allows you to understand local cuisine and even learn what goes into the preparation. You might even leave with a handful of recipes.
- Kitchen access
Many homestays allow access to the kitchen or have a kitchen for guests. This is a great way to save money and not need to each at restaurants for every meal.
- Local Expert at your finger tips
You can’t put a price on having a local share their insider information about the best restaurants and places to visit. Not only can they share this, but also transportation advice, best times of day to visit places and so much more. During my stay at Prakash Kutir, the family not only share
Improve your language skills
If you plan to visit for an extended period, a homestay is a great way to learn or practice another language. What better way to do this than staying in a local’s house when you travel? Or if you’re a student attending a language school in another country, stay in a homestay, and you’ll get to speak the language every day with your host family.
Learn local cultures and customs
When I stayed at Prakash Kutir B&B the family was getting ready for a wedding. I got to learn about the customs for marriage in India and each day they shared the beautiful gifts they were purchasing for their soon to be daughter-in-law as well as gorgeous bangles they had purchased for the mother. This is just one small example of how you can learn about local culture.
- Homestays generates income for locals
Not only are you helping the owners of the homestay, but you are much more likely to visit neighborhood restaurants and shops.
- Lifelong bond with your hosts
I can’t wait to return to Delhi and bring my husband and son. I truly feel like I’d be heading back to visit friends.
What Type of Traveler Should Choose a Homestay in Delhi
- First-Time Visitors to Delhi
- Solo Female Travelers to Delhi
They’re the safest options for solo women travelers.
- Students Attending a Language School
You’ll get to speak the language every day with your host family.
- If you are Moving to Delhi
Stay in a homestay for the first month or two and you’ll have met some local people who will quickly help you to feel more comfortable and secure in your new destination.
- Short-term Job Placement
There were several people staying at Prakash Kutir B&B who were on short-term job assignment in Delhi. How wonderful to have a home rather than a hotel at the end of the day (not to mention home cooked meals).
Prakash Kutir in Delhi
Prakash Kutir translates to “A Home of Light” and honors the ancient Hindu tradition of ushering in the Sun Lord as you wake up.
Ajay and Savita have ancestral lines that date back more than 200+ years in Delhi, India. So, it’s fair to say you might have a hard time finding a family that is more locally knowledgeable. The Gupta’s turned their family home into a bed and breakfast homestay by building two additional floors above their bungalow in anticipation of the 2010 Commonwealth Games ( XIX Commonwealth Games).
Today, Prakash Kutir is considered one of the best homestays in Delhi and is accredited with the Delhi Tourism Board. Not all homestays in Delhi have a proper license and this is very important when choosing a homestay or B&B.
What to Look for With a Delhi Homestay
A proper license with the Tourism Board
Good reviews on TripAdvisor
Up to date website with contact information
You’ll find on the Prakash Kutir website they call themselves a bed and breakfast as well as a homestay. For me, Prakash Kutir is exactly what I imagined for a homestay. The Kurtir family lives on the main level of the house and they built two additional floors that offer seven rooms with private attached bathrooms.
You can book an individual room or an apartment. The apartment is a furnished three-bedroom space with dining room, lobby and fully equipped kitchen. The apartment includes linens, kitchenware, bath essentials as well as high speed wifi and LCD TV with cable connection. There are four private rooms that are all very spacious and decorated with handcrafted wood furniture and all have en suite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, TVs and balconies.
Breakfast is included and it’s a deliciously prepared vegetarian Indian dish. What I loved most, was the variety. Each morning I enjoyed a different Indian dish. If you are lucky– and I was– you might enjoy a wonderful home-cooked dinner with the family.
There are many areas in the home that are communal areas such as a shared kitchen, lounge area and a wonderful outdoor balcony.
Prakash Kutir was everything I was hoping for with my first homestay and my first trip to Delhi. I can’t wait to return and explore more of Incredible India!
Prakash Kutir on Facebook
Prakash Kutir on Twitter
What to Pack for a Trip to Delhi
- Get the Eyewitness Travel Delhi: Places to Visit in Delhi
- Bring a good quality mirrorless camera for getting those beautiful photos of Delhi’s historical treasures. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .
- Tummy issues can happen, so it’s best to bring DiaResQ, Travelan and Imodium.
- You’ll need an adapter. I bought the Ceptics USA to India Travel Adapter Plug from Amazon. I picked up a 3-pack for $9.99.
Read More About India
A huge thank you to Gupta family for hosting me during my stay at Prakash Kutir for their generous hospitality. As always, all opinions are our own.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Thinking about visiting Delhi or trying a homestay? Ask your questions in the comments below!
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.