Nestled on the east coast of the Indian peninsula, just south of the iconic city of Chennai, Pondicherry is a small French colonial settlement established in 1954. Since the country gained independence, the small town has preserved its French legacy, which is mainly present in the French Quarter of the city, as well as architectural styles found throughout the region.
However, this city is arguably best known for being home to the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Ashram is the primary publisher of the well-known works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, a spiritual guru, occultist, and yoga teacher of her time.
With its yellow colonial villas, chic boutique stores, gorgeous beaches, and close proximity to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, it’s no wonder this town is picking up the heat when it comes to tourism, with tourist numbers growing steadily every year.
If you’re interested in experiencing this unique Indian destination as a local, the best way to do so would be to stay in one of the best homestays in Pondicherry. Set in traditional homes and run by local families, this is the closest you will get to living an authentic life in Pondicherry, and it’s one of the most exciting ways to experience the area’s rich cultural heritage.
Shubham Boutique Homestay
- > $$$
- > 2 Guests
- > Traditional Tamil and quintessential French architecture
- > Access to an open terrace, two living rooms, an outdoor dining area, and a swimming pool
Double Room at Staynature
- > $
- > 2 Guests
- > Private terrace and balcony
- > Spacious room with desk space and comfortable bed
Bengal Room at Luxenlock Maison
- > $$$$
- > 2 Guests
- > Colonial-style home with hand-painted towels and crystal chandeliers
- > Surrounded by lush gardens
Staying in a Homestay in Pondicherry
The definition a homestay is a type of accommodation where a visitor or tourist lives with a local family. While the origins of the word date back to a time when travelers would stay with local families for little or no pay, other than to repay the favor by helping around the house, today’s concept is slightly different.
Homestays have developed into a kind of guest house, where local families open their doors to travelers for a fee, offering them a private room in their family home. The difference between a guest house/bed and breakfast is that staying in a homestay is much more affordable and offers different benefits.
The main advantage of staying in a homestay is meeting and interacting with local residents, offering an authentic experience in Pondicherry. This is exceptionally wholesome in India, where local families live family-centered lives, often filled with cultural and religious traditions.
If you’re interested in seeing how life is in India, a few nights in one of the best homestays in Pondicherry is bound to open your eyes to another way of life.
What to Look For in a Homestay in Pondicherry
Since you’ll be living in someone’s house, each homestay differs entirely from the next. You might be offered a private bedroom with an ensuite bathroom attached or share a bathroom with others in the house. Regardless, it is typical to share common spaces in a homestay, including the kitchen, living room, and dining room.
If you’re traveling with children, why not ask around to stay with a family with their own kids? This way, your children can experience cultural immersion, too (and have friends to play with). These homestays will also likely have facilities for kids, including games, toys, and safety gates.
Many of the top homestays tend to be just outside the city center, where life is quieter and rolls slower. Check out the location to make sure you’re nearby public transport. Alternatively, rent a car and ensure your homestay has parking space.
One of the best advantages of staying in a homestay is that you’ll have access to everyday house facilities and appliances, including a fully-equipped kitchen, living room, and dining area. Some exclusive homestays might even have a terrace or a garden, as well as views to admire from the home.
Most homestays can be found on both Booking.com and Airbnb. Filter your Airbnb search to a ‘private room’ and include a kitchen as an amenity, and you should be directed to a bunch of the best homestays in Pondicherry.
The Top 15 Homestays in Pondicherry
Let’s run through fifteen of the top homestays in the city, from those suitable for budget travelers to luxury-seekers and everything in between.
Overall Best Value Homestay in Pondicherry – Calanjali Room at The House of Blue Mangoes
- 2 Guests
- In the heart of Heritage Town, within walking distance from Aurobindo Ashram and Rock Beach
- Spacious bedroom with private ensuite, workspace, and access to a kitchen
The House of Blue Mangoes is set in a restored home that combines the best of French-Colonial and traditional Tamil Indian architectures. With interiors inspired by a book of the same name, the house is a charming building set in a quiet street in the center of Heritage Square.
In quintessential Tamil style, the house has a gorgeous open courtyard where guests can relax and read a book in the sun. Both beautiful and convenient, guests also enjoy access to a shared kitchen space equipped with all the necessities you might need while in town.
Best Budget Homestay in Pondicherry – Double Room at Staynature
- 2 Guests
- Private terrace and balcony
- Spacious room with desk space and comfortable bed
If saving cash is your main objective, Staynature is easily one of the best homestays in Pondicherry on a budget. By booking this room, you’ll gain access to a spacious private bedroom fitted with a double bed, personal workspace, and storage space, as well as a kettle and fridge in your room.
You’ll also be able to make use of the shared garden and terrace, dining area, and free parking spot. The location of this property could not be better, set less than six miles from Sri Aurobindo and the Gahdhi Memorial in Pondicherry.
Best Homestay for Couples in Pondicherry – Shubham Boutique Homestay
- 2 Guests
- Traditional Tamil and quintessential French architecture
- Access to an open terrace, two living rooms, an outdoor dining area, and a swimming pool
Built with a vision to preserve the area’s rich architectural history, with a blend of traditional Tamil interiors and quintessential French architecture, this boutique homestay offers the perfect setting for a romantic visit.
The room will welcome you with light and fresh air and is scattered with an eclectic selection of paintings and antique furnishings. Guests can also take advantage of the open terrace, two gorgeous living rooms, an outdoor living area, and a swimming pool.
Best Homestay for a Group of Friends in Pondicherry – Quadruple Room at Villa Souhayl Homestay
- 4 Guests
- Airconditioning and a balcony with city views
- Across the road from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in White Town
If you’re traveling with a group of friends willing to share a room, Villa Souhayl Homestay offers quadruple rooms with plenty of space for four guests. As one of the best homestays in Pondicherry for groups, the room has two double beds, a basic kitchenette, and a spacious living room where you can gather with your friends.
Best of all, this super affordable homestay will keep your costs low, all while being just a short drive into the heart of White Town and Heritage Town.
Over-the-Top Luxury Homestay in Pondicherry – Bengal Room at Luxenlock Maison
- 2 Guests
- Colonial-style home with hand-painted towels and crystal chandeliers
- Surrounded by lush gardens
Staying in a homestay doesn’t mean you have to skimp on luxury, and this stunning room at Luxenlock Maison is here to prove that. Set in a historic 120-year-old private villa garden in the heart of the French Quarter, the homestay has an architectural heritage like no other.
Surrounded by lush foliage, the homestay offers four suites to rent. Each room is decorated following a unique theme, filled with traditional art, antique furniture, and contemporary fittings. Guests can also use the large living room, airconditioned salon, kitchen, or covered verandah, which doubles as a dining area.
Best Homestay for Families Visiting Pondicherry – Family Room at BrightMoon Homestay
- 5 Guests
- Terrace with city views
- One mile from Serenity Beach and 3.3 miles from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
For families willing to share a room, BrightMoon Homestay is a unique accommodation in Pondicherry that offers four beds in one room. This family-friendly room has air-conditioning, a safety deposit box, and a private ensuite bathroom. It also features a small dining area and kitchenette.
One of the core offerings of this property is the basic breakfast provided every morning. It’s also ideally located for parents with young kids, just outside the hustle of the city on the pristine Serenity Beachfront.
Best Homestay in Pondicherry for Backpackers – 8-Bed Mixed Dorm at Chez Prabha Homestay
- 1 Guest
- Airconditioned rooms, towels, and linen provided
- Dining and seating area in each room
Save your travel budget and book a bunk bed in the Chez Prabha Homestay, a hostel property set in the beating heart of Heritage Town. The homestay features air-conditioned rooms just a short stroll from Promenade Beach and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
For a super low rate per night, guests can take advantage of free parking in the city, tea, and coffee machines, and a simple breakfast provided each morning. Some rooms even feature a balcony and/or patio overlooking the city.
Homestay in Pondicherry with the Best Views – Bay View Room at White Town Rock Beach
- 2 Guests
- Views of the beach from your bedroom window
- Refurbished property on the beach in White Town
Set your sights on this gorgeous sea view! Located right in the heart of White Town, just steps away from Rock Beach, you can watch the sunrise from bed or from the communal terrace.
Not only is this property one of the best homestays in Pondicherry for its unrivaled sea views, but it’s also rated for its close proximity to the Aurobindo Ashram, Gandhi Statue, seashore at Rock Beach, as well as a bunch of restaurants and public transport connections.
Top Off-The-Beaten-Track Homestay in Pondicherry – Casa Ahau Eco Homestay
- 2 Guests
- Nature-inspired bungalow with tons of natural light, spa, and wellness center on site
- In the Auroville Community, just north of Pondicherry
Just north of Pondicherry lies the inclusive Auroville community, a universal village where people from all countries are encouraged to live together in peace and progressive harmony. Take your Ashram experience one step further and spend some time in a remote eco-homestay in this exciting town.
Casa Ahau is a small eco homestay surrounded by lush trees on the beach. A bit removed from the center of the community, guests can enjoy a private self-catering suite while listening to the sound of the crashing waves outside.
Best Homestay for a Celebration in Pondicherry – Standard Double at Spanish Villa
- 2 Guests
- Personalized decorations for a celebration
- Private bathroom and balcony
If you’re on the hunt for accommodation to celebrate a special occasion, the Spanish Villa in Pondicherry will be glad to take on the job. The staff will gladly set up a dinner with balloons, string lights, and banners for your special day.
The accommodation is simple yet adequate, with spacious and comfortable rooms for solo travelers, couples, and even triple occupancy rooms. Rooms come equipped with a private bathroom featuring a shower and complimentary toiletries. As the best homestay in Pondicherry for celebrations, the hosts will be happy to provide a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport, too!
Best Homestay in Pondicherry for Long-Term Travelers – Sunshine Room at Dorian House
- 2 Guests
- Private bathroom and access to a kitchenette and living space
- Just north of Pondicherry in Auroville
If I had to describe this homestay in one sentence, it would be ‘abundant natural light and traditional charm.’ Set in an authentic Tamil house just a short mile away from Auroville, just north of Pondicherry, Dorian House is a homestay run by local artists.
Guests can socialize with the owners and other guests in the living space and make use of the kitchenette. However, your private sunny room will be all yours to enjoy, with a bathroom all to yourself.
The Most Beautiful Homestay in Pondicherry – Deluxe Double Room at Villa Marinaa
- 4 Guests
- Daily breakfast serving continental, Asian, and vegetarian options
- Airport shuttle, spa and wellness center, and free parking provided
Located a short mile from Promenade Beach in the buzzing city center of Pondicherry, Villa Marinaa offers much more than your average homestay. Use the free shuttle service to get from A to B, relax in the lush garden, or order in room-service for a quiet night in.
This spot is beautifully designed with traditional Tamil and Franco-inspired interiors close to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It also features a pool, spa, and wellness center, which isn’t common in the area. Not to mention, guests can enjoy a hearty breakfast prepared daily.
Best Homestay in Pondicherry for Solo Travelers – Cozy Room 2 at Villa Kadel
- 1 Guest
- Sunny bedroom with a dedicated workspace
- In a peaceful neighborhood on the coastline just north of Heritage Town
Looking for the best homestay in Pondicherry for solo travelers? Look no further. Managed by a local, Villa Kadel is a simple holiday unit located in the center of Pondicherry town. The room features a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a compact living and dining space, and a balcony with a small garden attached.
Common areas, including a spacious balcony terrace overlooking the distant Bay of Bengal and private scooter parking on the ground floor, can also be accessed.
Best Homestay in Pondicherry for Honeymooners – The Bodhi Room at Kariappa House
- 2 Guests
- Traditional Tamil house a few minutes walk from the beach in the French precinct of Pondicherry
- Swimming pool and washer/dryer facilities on site
Even honeymooners will be able to find a gorgeous homestay with luxury amenities in Pondicherry. Located in a villa/homestay on a sprawling family estate in the fishing hamlet just north of Heritage Town, Kariappa House offers a swimming pool, on-site parking, washer/dryer facilities, and an elevator.
The rooms are beautifully designed, drawing inspiration from the Tamil traditional interiors and French-colonial style. With someone available on the property 24 hours a day, luggage dropoff, and a tasty breakfast prepared each morning, you’ll feel like you’re in a bed and breakfast instead of a homestay!
Most Unique Homestay in Pondicherry – Ocean View Homestay
- 2 Guests
- Decorative Arabian-inspired homestay with bright colors and lighting
- In the Solai Nagar region, just a few blocks from the beach
For something a little bit different, this Ocean View Homestay offers guests the opportunity to stay in an eccentrically designed room featuring Arabian-inspired decorations and interiors.
Although one of the more unique accommodations in Pondicherry, the property still has the usual amenities of a homestay, including a dedicated workspace, free parking on the premises, and a private bathroom. One of the main draws to this homestay is its coastal location on Serenity Beach and direct beach access.
Don’t Forget Your Pondicherry Travel Insurance
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
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SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Final Thoughts on Homestays in Pondicherry
Surrounded by lush tropical forest to the one side and the pristine Indian Ocean to the other, it is no wonder Pondicherry is gaining traction as one of India’s prime travel destinations. However, its peaceful atmosphere, laid-back population, and close proximity to the zen spiritual ashrams of Aurobindo attract the most visitors.
If you’re interested in experiencing this still-little-known coastal Indian city as a local, you should consider staying in one of the best homestays in Pondicherry. Not only will you be able to socialize and interact with a welcoming local family, but you will also be able to enjoy access to the amenities of an entire home, kitchen, living area, and garden.
Save what you want on accommodation, but don’t try to do the same for insurance. If you’re traveling from abroad, purchase insurance before departing on your adventure at one of the best homestays in Pondicherry.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!