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Accommodations range from world-class deluxe properties to lodges in game reserves, palaces, campgrounds, adequate locally run hotels and way-below-basic guesthouses. Deluxe accommodations can be found in the larger cities, and first-class hotels do business in most cities with major tourist attractions. The adventurous might want to stay in Spartan accommodations (which may mean no water or electricity), but it's a good idea to inspect the rooms before accepting them. Homestays are available in certain cities, towns and in villages. A list of these can be obtained from local tourism offices.Read More ...

Travelers can also stay in one of the thousands of Hindu ashrams, or meditative communes, so long as their stay is more than several days. Accommodation is usually extremely basic, but ashrams offer a good chance for visitors to slow down to the Indian pace of life.

For most people, it's best simply to reserve first-class or better to ensure there won't be any unpleasant surprises (at the lower end, you may find mouse droppings on the pillows, dirty water in the pool and so forth). In smaller towns, very rustic guesthouses may be all that's available, though budget hotels by major chains are starting to spring up everywhere.

If you're traveling to rural areas, buy a colorful piece of cloth to toss over the bed before sleeping on it—some guesthouses don't change their sheets between guests (or might have insect-infested mattresses). Most game reserves offer simple government lodging, but a few feature restored maharajahs' palaces. If you're staying in a hotel with a pool, be sure to inquire about swimming hours. Often men and women are required to swim at separate times or in different areas, and the pool can be closed during the hottest hours of the day.

If you are traveling during peak season (October-March), be sure to reserve accommodations well ahead of time. Top hotels book up long in advance.

A hotel tax of 10% is effective on all hotel rooms priced over US$26/Rs1,200.< Show Less

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