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Have a plant-based vacation at these vegan-friendly food places in India

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Whether you’re headed to the beach to catch some waves or have a hankering for hiking in the mountains – there’s a bed and breakfast or hostel to cater to your plant-based needs, complete with eco-friendly sensibilities and organic vegetable gardens. We’re exploring a few vegan-friendly stays in India that should be on your must-stay list. By Eshita Srinivas

Between the advent of Meatless Mondays and the growing popularity of milk alternatives – plant-based lifestyles are here to stay. And the travel industry in India has got the memo. Several establishments across the country have most recently adopted sustainable practices – which in line with veganism – while incorporating organic vegan foods, cruelty-free complementary products, and conscious-living workshops into their expansive list of offerings. Best parts? They’re quite accessible and span several states and regions. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular and unique vegan-friendly stays in India. Because picking the bits of bacon and egg off your plate isn’t our idea of a fun vacation.

KaYa Cafe & Guesthouse: Stok, Ladakh

Nestled in the quaint town of Stok, away from the hustle of Leh – Kaya Cafe and Guesthouse is stunning to say the least. The minimalist homestay is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, with an expansive organic vegetable garden to keep it company. That, along with its remote location make it the perfect stay for leisurely evenings, long walks, and nights spent gazing at the dazzling night sky. While here, you’ll discover a traditional Ladakhi sitting room (chansa) and rooms that come with wooden flooring and large windows that look out into the stunning landscape. The cafe here has an eclectic seasonal menu, with options ranging from continental sandwiches to Gujarati handvo. You’ll even spot the owners foraging for ingredients right outside. Don’t miss out on this experience if you’re headed to Ladakh.

Bean Me Up: Vagator, Goa

Perhaps one of the most popular vegan spaces in Goa, Bean Me Up is a quaint spot that’s surrounded with verdant jackfruit and mango trees. One of the oldest of its kind in town, the space has minimalist rooms with breezy decor in options of rooms with or without air conditioner. Most rooms are covered with a canopy of lush trees as well. Right outside is a conscious food store, a live music space, and a thriving cafe with delicacies like Buddha bowls, falafel wraps, buckwheat pancakes, ramen, chocolate mousse, and raw cakes on the menu. Throw in yoga sessions and an eclectic set of guests from around the world and you’ve got the perfect destination for a spiritual getaway.

Wellness Inn Beach Resort: Ashvem, Goa

A laid back, quaint space that’s perfect for some much needed rest and rejuvenation, Wellness Inn Beach Resort hosts several yoga and meditation sessions. Cosy and located right by the beach, it’s frequented by foreign travellers and manages to retain its family-friendly quality while being serene. The space is verdant and lush with flowers, palm trees, and bamboo growths with the rooms featuring furniture with wood and bamboo. A solar water heater makes for an ecologically sound way of taking a hot shower and the rooms have thick walls, made with local stone. The rooms are standard with basic amenities and tastefully done interiors. And the in-house Joy Food restaurant serves up the most homely vegan and vegetarian fare – especially fusion. If a fuss-free vacation is on your mind, look no further than this spot.

Be Animal Hostel: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Reportedly India’s first vegan backpacker hostel, Be Animal is run by Lakshman Badami and Vanessa Zwick, who also run the popular dessert brand Pudducakes. Located in the residential, verdant neighbourhood of Koramangala, the space is underlined by sustainability – from the way its waste is handled to the furniture it houses. On offer are guided meditation sessions, regular flea markets, Thai yoga massage, board game nights, and the most delicious bites – all in line with the vegan lifestyle. The Sunday brunches here, in particular, are quite popular in the vegan community and are a feast for the eyes and taste buds. The all-day breakfasts, filter coffee, and chocolate pudducake come highly recommended. Visit for their meticulous attention to detail, stay for the food and vibes.

Shreyas Yoga Retreat: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Another popular spot in Bengaluru, this is known to be one of the finest wellness retreats in the country – incorporating age-old principles of Ayurveda into every aspect of their offerings. There are scores of healing programs here including naturopathy, chanting sessions, yoga, meditation, and other traditional therapies. The accommodation includes cottages that are poolside, tented, or large 3-bedroom spaces each luxurious with almost every amenity you could ask for – king beds, en suite bathrooms, plush bedding and more. The food here, meanwhile, is primarily vegetarian with plenty of room for customisation and innovation. That along with its sustainable approach to living makes it quite vegan friendly.

The Retreat: Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

If vintage aesthetics and homely atmosphere is what you seek on a vacation, this space will appeal to you. Bought from the former Colonel Bertram Owen Jones in 1951, the space has a long, fascinating history to it. We’re talking World Wars and Indian royalty. The estate opened to the public in 1951 as a holiday home to diplomats from across the globe and the hospitality of the owners – Fred Smetacek and Shaheda Ahad – shot it to the highest ranks of popularity overnight. This continues to underline the experience at this stay.

Three bedrooms are on offer, with annexes that can accommodate 2 additional adults or children. One bedroom has its own seating space. The food here is highly customisable, with Indian, colonial, or continental delicacies as well as morning and afternoon tea on the itinerary. With plenty of vegan options on the menu, you could choose from home-baked breads, fruit preserves, rolls, crepes, and pancakes – all made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Your visit to the mountains will never be the same.

Singtom Tea Estate Resort: Darjeeling, West Bengal

A part of Darjeeling’s oldest tea plantation, this resort was built in 1862. Located a few minutes from the city, the views here are stunning with some of the world’s most daunting peaks keeping it company. This is the only stay in India where you can walk all day through 1600 acres of a private estate, only to return to the lap of luxury later. The rooms here are spacious, complete with a fireplace, balcony, and seating area. The menu here is vegetarian and home-cooked, with easy customisable options for vegans. This includes idli, dosa, risotto, Himalayan pulao, dal, dum aloo, and more!

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.

Peepal Farm: Dhanotu, Himachal Pradesh

Set up with a goal to reduce one’s “suffering footprint (the suffering we cause during the course of our lives)”, Peepal Farm is one of India’s most committed animal rescue sanctuaries–home to dogs, cows, mules, donkeys and other four-legged friends, rescued from heartbreaking situations.

In its pursuit of compassionate living, Peepal Farm hosts travellers in earthy, rustic rooms and cottages, in a small village at the base of the Dhauladhar mountains (near Dharamsala). Besides easy access to stunning mountain hikes, guests can expect a taste of minimalist farm life, choose to volunteer with the rescues, and exchange knowledge and skills with the locals.

Much of their produce comes from their own no-till (an agriculture technique that doesn’t disturb the soil through tillage) organic farm, which is turned into delightful plant-based nut butters, granola, energy bars and more by a social enterprise run by women from neighbouring mountain villages. 

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