Homestay in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand.

Smetaceks Colonial Home stay, Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

by Monica Kochar.

Monica travelled solo to Bhimtal with India Untravelled, in January 2014. Staying at the Smetaceks' Colonial Homestay, she experienced a slice of the bygone era, and witnessed the Himalayas in all their majesty. This is her story.

I had been looking for a getaway in the mountains when I noticed the home stay showed on India Untravelled's website. Something about the house convinced me that this is it, and I went to the Smetaceks' home stay for a 4 day stay and could not have asked for anything better!

What stood out in this memorable stay was the warm hospitality of the family (Padmini, Robbie, Miky, Victor, Liza and Carrie). At every moment I felt they were totally attuned to my needs without being overly familiar. The food was delicious and served impeccably, and the family, where almost everyone cooks, is very creative with recipes. For a veggie and vegan like me, they rustled up delicious nutrella kababs and cake with orange juice in place of milk. I was touched.
Walk through forest in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand
A walk through the forest
The area around the estate is ideal for long and short walks. Far from the city, it is an idyllic space to stroll around and explore for solo and group travelers alike. The villagers are friendly and non intrusive. The best part of the walks is the way the Smetacek family’s dogs accompany you (unless you request not to, in which case they are tied up despite the pleading in their eyes!). They are terrific guardians and stick by you till you are safely brought home; a very affectionate set, I had fun exploring the forest with them. The walk to Garuda Tal with Victor’s excited directions through the forest was the highlight of the trip. There is a lakeside chapel there and all around it is heavenly and peaceful.
A walk with dogs in Bhimtal
Seeker and Tessi keeping a watch out
I also went for a village walk, and enjoyed interacting with a family and had lunch with them. Kavita and Tanuja’s information was enough to see that the village is well established and flourishing. Before this, I had yet to see a village with 2 colleges, schools and almost all children getting educated!
Simple delicious food at a village home; Bhimtal, Uttarakhand
Simple and delicious food at the village
I had a great time and I do intend to go back and experience different seasons in this beautiful place and interact more with Padmini and her affectionate family!


Author Bio: After 20 years of teaching maths, Monica, fed up of the 'timetabled life' decided to move on. She now trains teachers as a consultant and the flexible life gives her the ability take time off whenever she wishes to. She continues to dabble with maths with kids if she meets anyone afraid of the subject on her forays. She loves reading, writing, traveling and clicking!


If you would like to follow in Monica's footsteps and spend time at Smetaceks' Colonial Homestay, do get in touch with us at, and find out more details about the homestay here.


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  1. Wow! I am craving for an experience like this! Uttarakhand is my next destination.

  2. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa what a great post! Uttarakhand is my hometown (I am from Dehradun) and I loved the beauty that you shared in your blog!



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