Back in 2015, when I decided to turn vegan and eliminate all animal products from my diet and lifestyle as far as I could help it, I wondered how my travels in India would pan out. Even though many people are vegetarian, dairy products such as milk, butter, ghee, paneer etc often find their way into the food and drinks. As someone who tends to gravitate towards local homestays and small guesthouses, I wondered if my hosts would be open enough to customize their food. How would I say no to the umpteen cups of chai offered by friendly locals wherever I went?
Surprisingly, in the years since, I’ve not just indulged in incredible seasonal food across India (and umpteen cups of black tea), but also built lasting friendships rooted in the common love for good food and sustainable living.
Here’s a round-up of some incredible vegan-friendly accommodations across India that also offer unique experiences:
Indhrivanam: Thekkady, Kerala
Indhrivanam is the home of Morten and Sarah, who moved their lives from Denmark and England many years ago, to a 1.6-acre forest on a quiet hill in Thekkady. The “sense of forest”, as the name signifies in Malayalam, pervades the homestay experience. The eco-luxury guest cottage is built with hand-chipped rock, a traditional terracotta roof and silver oak doors. It overlooks the dense tree cover home to rosewood and jackfruit trees, slender lorises, hornbills, palm civets and monitor lizards. Precious rainwater is harvested, while the toilets are dry-composting.
But the real highlight at Indhrivanam is the food–entirely vegan, health-conscious, made with locally sourced ingredients and fed with love. I was treated to homemade kombucha, vegan cakes and scruffins (scones meet muffins), fermented cashew cheese, nut butters, home-baked bread, delicately spiced curries and local millets, peppered with intriguing conversations around sustainable living and unconventional choices. Website.