The Magical Havens! – By Mridu Luthra
It’s that time of the year again when you need a break from the scorching heat. Plan a short visit to these serene places and give a new lease of life to your boring routine
Hills give you a chance to spend a quality time. Sleep in, or rise early for an exciting morning, to enjoy the marvels of nature. Take a long walk under the stars as the moon lights the way and breathe in the fresh retreat air. The quaint cottages, the winding paths through the hills spruced up by pretty flowers and the gorgeous view of the Himalayas from the room as you have your morning cuppa are enough reasons to rush to the hills.
Darang Tea Estate
Where: Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This warm place set the right backdrop for your vacation between the slopes of tea gardens. The Darang Tea Estate bungalow, restored by the family of its original owner, is a treat for those holidaying here. You will wake up to the view of the Dhauladhar range, the endless twittering of birds and the gurgling of a mountain stream. Take a walk around, dipping your feet in the cool waters of the khud or posing in the tea gardens. Don’t forget to be back home for meals, the fresh produce sourced from the organic farm and the tea from the estate makes every meal even more delicious! Darang Tea Estate is very well-connected from McLeodgunj and Dharamsala.
If you’re the one who is still fascinated with the colonial style then head to Fredy’s Bungalow. A short uphill drive, along two-kilometers of kuccha road from Bhimtal Lake, leads you to Fredy’s Bungalow. The imposing colonial-style homestead nestles among cypress and deodar trees, on a peaceful wooded hillside, overlooking the Bhimtal valley and the mountain slopes beyond. Located in the midst of acres of dense oak forest, this is a peaceful haven where only the sounds of nature break the silence: the wake-up song of the resident whistling thrush, the sharp call of a barking deer in the distance; the hoot of a spotted owl signalling dusk. This part of the Kumaon Lake Region, home to a large variety of flora, fauna and aquatic life, has always attracted bird-watchers, butterfly-collectors and nature lovers as well as writers in search of solitude and city-dwellers seeking to renew their spirits.
Where: Shyamkhet Village, Bhowali-Ramgarh Road, Nainital District
The sleepy little hamlet of Shyamkhet is about 35 kms from Kathgodam, the nearest railway station, and takes an hour by car from Bhimtal. As you take the winding road that leads to the property, the house comes into full view, and you’ll find yourself heaving a contented sigh of happiness. The beautiful villa is wedged in between the pine forests and the mountains. The pain and love that went into it are visible in every room-the cosy study with its glass front that lets you look up to the mountains every now and then, to the country kitchen with its dining space, and the surrounding gardens full of seasonal blooms. The pretty holiday home belongs to the Delhi-based couple Shalini and Uttam Dave. Be pampered silly by the staff at Himalaica: you can choose to laze away the entire day in the conservatory, with a book and a cup of coffee, or you can stretch your legs, walk through the pine forest behind the house with the three immensely cute in-house dogs.
Where: Jhaltola, Uttarakhand
The Misty Mountains Retreat is an offbeat destination retreat in the Kumaon Himalayas run by a local couple Ambika and Madhur. It’s located in a sleepy Himalayan village Jhaltola right between the Chaukori and Patal Bhuvaneshwar. The retreat is seated deep in a thick oak forest cover of 1000 acres and the retreat jeep helps you cover the last 3 kms dirt track to reach there. There is nothing but beautiful nature, gardens full of flower blooms, lots of untouched greenery and stunning Himalayan views here. The place also has adventure activities like rappelling, valley crossing and night jungle treks for the adventure junkies. It is an ideal destination for a family vacation with something for everyone. It’s a place to be at peace, be with nature, be with your loved ones and be yourself.
Where: Gushaini, Tirthan Valley, District Kullu
Nestled amidst a gurgling Tirthan river and blessed with the charm of orchards, the Home stay is located in Tirthan Valley in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. The rustic little Homestay, accessible through a manual ropeway above the Tirthan River, is a family run setup. Surrounded by apple and cherry orchards on three sides and the Tirthan river teeming with trout, a tributary of Beas on the fourth, the setting is typical of the idyllic Himalayan lifestyle of the yore, and takes one back into time and civilisation. There are several options for adventure freaks such as half/ full day hikes, overnight to multi days treks in the Great Himalayan National Park or in the surrounding area, mountain biking and birding in the pristine surroundings of this western Himalayan country.
Post by Mridu Luthra