With scores of backpackers claiming their ‘India on a shoestring dream’, it is no wonder that hostels are common in the major tourist hubs of the country. Stick a pin for every great hostel and you’ll get a cluster around Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Goa and even Kerala. Here’s our pick of the best in the country that demand a night in their bunk. Not only do these make for a snug pad or the ideal place to meet fellow travellers, but also offer a peek into the culture of the place you’re visiting.

Jugaad Hostels

 Image Credit: Jugaad Hostels

A definitive pick in the capital, Delhi, Jugaad is one place where colonising the terrace with a cup of tea in hand and watching the sun set, will make for the best way to end a hectic day of travel. Jugaad’s bastion is South Delhi, unlike some of the traditional backpack districts. The reason? It’s closer to the airport and central to sightseeing spots of the city. It is well connected by the metro (tube) and tons of auto rickshaws (tuk-tuks). The uncluttered yet bright interiors are a draw card of the hostel. Sign up for the well-curated city and weekend trips of the hostel. They have a formal travel wing that does extensive research for insightful trips. www.jugaadhostels.com


Image Credit:  Zostel Hostels

Tapping on the millennial travel trends right on time, Zostel has the longest list of addresses in India and is the biggest branded hostel chain of the country. You can expect standard services and the same vibe across the hostels. Find them in Agra, Delhi, Bir, Goa, Mysore, Gokarna, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Khajuraho, Manali, Ooty, Rishikesh, Pushkar, Varanasi and even the far-flung Spiti. The drawcard for the hostel is a personalised Zostel passport, which helps you claim points with every night of stay that can be redeemed in other Zostel hostels. www.zostel.com


There are three reasons to fall in love with Bunkker in Goa; the fact that the rooms are fashioned out of containers, that it’s pet-friendly and just walking distance from one of the best beaches in the state, Vagator. Goa’s appetite for backpackers matches Bunkker’s chilled out vibe and facilities.


 The first backpackers’ hostel in Delhi has ditched its former capital address to hold the fort in the most treaded cities of Rajasthan. Along with Agra, find them in Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur. Local food and culture tours are well curated and give you an alternative ‘non-touristy’ perspective of the cities. In the interest of sustainable tourism, Moustache tries to curate experiences that make a positive impact on the local community. www. moustachehostel.com

Stops Hostels

Image Credit: Stops Hostels

One of the most social and explorative hostels of India, Stops Hostel has got three addresses; Varanasi, Jodhpur and Delhi. Owners, Pankaj and Pallavi are a husband-wife team that ensure that the wheels run smoothly. They personally curate fun, cultural experiences that are hard to find by yourself. Inclusivity is the highlight at Stops. Check out their ‘Most Creative Internship Ever’ programme that resulted in the co-creation of the Jodhpur Hostel. www.stopshostels.com

Old Quarter

One of the four pads across Goa and Kerala, The Hostel Crowd’s Old Quarter is a departure from the traditional boho vibe of hostels across Goa. It lies in the centre of Fontainhas, the Latin Quarter of the city. Its minimalistic décor and squeaky clean rooms and dorms are inviting after a hard day’s travel. The activities swing towards culture rather than beaches and partying. Since you’re in the heart of the state, in Panjim (and not near the beaches), you’re likely to get a more accurate sense of local life and not be heckled by vendors and clichés. The Hostel Crowd offers three more hostels in Goa; Jungle, Summer and Prison. If you’re heading to Fort Kochi in Kerala, then check into Maritime, another venture by the same group. www.thehostelcrowd.com/oldquarterhostel


Wake up to the sound of the river and may be a bark, as Blox in Varanasi is one of the few pet-friendly hostels in India. Located on the edge of Assi River in the holiest city of India, it’s boho vibe and comfy bunks are reason enough to book. It has easy access to the main sightseeing places of the city, but only if you could strip yourself from the view of the river and the bustle around it.

Other Popular Hostels in India

  1. Jugaadus Eco Hostel in Amritsar, Punjab
  2. Bunkyard in Udaipur, Rajasthan
  3. Social Rehab in Bengaluru, Karnataka
  4. International Travellers’ Hostel in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
  5. Vedanta Wake Up! in Varkala, Kerala
  6. Le Pension, Jaipur
  7. Youth Hostels Association of India, pan India
  8. By the Way, Cherrapunji
  9. Red Door Hostel, Goa
  10. Backpacker Panda Appetite, Mumbai
  11. Bedweiser Backpackers Hostel, Agra
  12. SnoozOtel, Bangalore
  13. The Mansion 1907, Mysore
  14. Electric Cats Bed & Breakfast, Bangalore
  15. Bunk Stay, Rishikesh

This post was contributed by Supriya Sehgal

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *