We may have all heard our grandparents and our great-grandparents talk about the troubled times before independence. This year, come face-to-face with the heroes of the Indian Army who also run homestays with Rightstay. Exchange stories and get a sneak peek into the best days of their lives, to truly feel the essence of India. These are five such homestays you can head to right away:

1. God’s Own Cottage, Nainital

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Overlooking the valley of Shyam Khet and the road to Ramgarh with the majestic snow clad mountains as the backdrop, God’s Own Cottage is a peaceful and charming property, providing respite from the chaos of the city life. What is striking about this cottage is the elegant decor and the tastefully done up premises whether it’s the quirky memorabilia, the fine wood finish furniture or the stoned pathways, the attention to detail is immaculate. The property also has a striking lush lawn with a beautiful patio swing and breathtaking view of the mountains.

The homestay is run by Retired Army Officer – Lt. Gen. Ravi Rai Chand along with his wife and two grown up children. This homestay business is started out of their fondness for meeting people. Lt. Ravi Chand also has an avid interest in golf, travelling, gardening and cooking.

2. Colonel Sharma’s Homestay, Agra

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Colonel Sharma’s Homestay is a beautiful house adorned with a perfectly manicured lawn and with the warmest and most hospitable hosts. Their house is filled with interesting decor and artefacts. The rooms are complete with all the modern amenities ensuring your comfort at the end of an eventful day.

The homestay belongs to Col Manhar Sharma who retired from the army after a long tenure of almost 33 years, and wife Dr Rita Sharma who retired from the long and active teaching career and now working as a freelance clinical psychologist. Being travelled globally across India, US, Canada, Europe and UK, they have a lot to tell and share.

3. Colonel’s Homestead, Jaipur

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Welcoming you to the world of style and comfort, Colonel’s Homestead is conveniently located in Vaishali Nagar, a lush area where the CM of Rajasthan had resided for two years. The beautifully furnished home features spacious rooms with luxurious amenities and state-of-the-art facilities. The modern décor and delectable meals provide an unforgettable experience. There’s also an in-house kitchen available for self-cooking.

This homestay is run by Col Rajesh Sinha along with wife Vijaya Kumari. Being gregarious by nature, the couple loves to meet new people from all over the world and hence decided to turn their home into a homestay!

4. Colonel Kalra’s Homestay

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Colonel Kalra’s homestay is in a posh colony named Hanuman Nagar in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It was featured on a famous French magazine for interiors and exteriors (Marie Clair Maison, no 389, May June 2004) depicting modern Indian home through pictures and an article on it. Upon entering the main gate one gets a view of a well-maintained lush green garden on the left and a dark maroon vintage model (1979) parked on the right.

Col Amrit Kalra, the owner of the homestay invites you to experience Rajasthani culture and traditions. Their warmth, honesty and hospitality make the stay a memorable one.

5. Nawang Kapila’s Heritage House, Dalhousie

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When in Dalhousie, this heritage home offers the perfect place that would make you feel comfortable instantly and make you feel at home. The charming house with well-maintained rooms and gorgeous surroundings is like a dream come true. They know the importance you have for a pretty view, how we city people are deprived of it and how much we admire it hence they provide a terrace in every room. A place where you can sit or stand or lie down and enjoy it with a hot beverage.

Following the family traditions and love for adventure, Col Kapila became an officer at the age of 21 in the elite Army. By offering their loving home to the guests, the couple gets to know different cultures and traditions of the country.