By Alaric Moras & Sarita Santoshini
Life in Delhi can be tough. And with the Himalayas just a short drive away and the many pristine hill towns, lakes and valleys to explore, the wait for a weekend can get really tiring. It is only fair that you spend the weekdays planning your next mountain escape. SaffronStays gives you 12 Cottages, Homestays and Guest Houses that lie a drive away from Delhi and make for the perfect weekend getaway to reflect, rejuvenate and recoup.
(Go ahead, bookmark it already!)
#1: A Beautiful Holiday Home overlooking Naukuchiatal Lake, Uttarakhand
If you’re one for scenic mountain lakes, then this is the perfect stay option for you. The Holiday home lies 15 minutes away from Bhimtal and a short hike away from the serene Naukuchiatal Lake. There are three well designed rooms which come with bay windows overlooking the lakes. There’s a living room to lounge in, a dining hall where you can tuck into delicious local meals, and outdoor seating space where you can soak up nature at leisure.
#2. Luxurious mansion in the hamlet of Bhowali in Nainital, Uttarakhand
This luxurious mansion is a labour of love and it’s evident in the architecture, the interiors and the gardens. Built mostly by local craftsmen, the property achieves a unique character that seamlessly meshes a traditional country style with modern comfort – drawing its inspiration from the past, living in the present, and looking into the future. In the hosts’ own words, “We created this place to be, to pause and to reflect, to meditate, to remember and to forget, and to bring back the balance in our lives that is all too lost. It is often described as a place with soul, and with a spiritual, meditative quality – we believe this quality comes from the ancient temple that exists under a large oak tree on the premises, dedicated to the Earth God.” Need we say more?
#3. Snow-kissed Cottage in the apple town of Kotgarh, Himachal Pradesh
Located in the midst of an apple orchard in Kotgarh, the cottage makes for a quiet and scenic getaway. The rooms are simple but offer breathtaking views of the mountains. The hosts readily organise bonfire nights and orchard tours for no additional charge and also ensure that you have a taste of the local cuisine during your stay. Guests can plan trips to the nearby Saint Mary’s Church and Sadhu Singh Caves or visit Shimla that lies just 75 km away from the cottage.
#4. A Beautiful Cottage in the Himalayan Hamlet of Nathuakhan, Uttarakhand
Securely located atop a small knoll, this little cottage provides a glorious view of the nearby hill ranges, with lush greenery and forest cover on all sides. Pass through a small garden bursting with flowers of all shapes and sizes to the quaint front portico with outdoor seating, perfect for evening tea. For lunch, enjoy traditional vegetarian meals that are home cooked and delicious, making this property your ideal home away from home. A kilometre’s walk from the homestay is the very quaint Nathuakhan Market, from where you get a spectacular view of the Himalayan range in its entirety. End the day with bonfire, barbecue and a few drinks before tucking yourself to sleep in the heated room.
#5. Homestay in the beautiful village of Majkhali in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand
Tucked away in the beautiful village of Majkhali in Ranikhet, surrounded by lush green forests, chirping birds and a spectacular view of the snowy Himalayan peaks, this homestay has it all. It provides a welcome break from the scorching summers of the plains, and since each floor of the cottage comes with two bedrooms, a lounge area and a kitchen, it is perfect for a groups of friends or a large family. If you’re a nature enthusiast or birder, the nearby pine and deodar forests will keep you enchanted for hours.
#6. Homestay near Valley of Flowers in Joshimath, Uttarakhand
If you plan on spending a few days in a beautiful Himalayan village in Uttarakhand then this is the place for you. A short distance from the famous Valley of Flowers, this homestay is nestled in the beautiful village of Marwari in Joshimath. Each room comes with a private balcony that offers a stunning view of the Himalayas and the sparkling Alaknanda river, far from the distractions of modern life. In addition to the queen sized bed and cosy coffee table with chairs for two, the rooms come with a plush divan. It makes for a perfect base to explore and experience life in the Garhwal region.
#7. Luxury rooms with private balconies in Kotgarh, Himachal Pradesh
A great stay option in the apple town of Kotgarh is this cottage that offers a luxury retreat to travellers. Located in a quiet corner overlooking the mountains and the valley, the spacious rooms come with private balconies and outdoor decks where you can enjoy your meals. Here, you can enjoy long strolls and picnics in the orchard in the day and indulge in barbecues and bonfires at night. The tariff includes guided walks through the forests of Saroga and to Tani Jubbar Lake.
#8. A Lavish Cottage in a hilly oak forest near Nainital, Uttarakhand
A few minutes’ walk through a large oak forest, with treetops seeming to reach the sky, will bring you to this lavish hillside cottage; a mere 45 minutes’ drive from Nainital. With its stunning interiors, this homestay is a haven for those of you looking to soak up nature – laze, read, write, practice yoga, indulge in photography or go for long scenic walks through the forest. There are two cosy bedrooms and a common living area which features an antique fireplace, perfect for those chilly winter evenings when the landscape beyond the closed drapes is covered in a thin coat of snow.
#9. Heritage Haveli in Shivalik Hills near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Located in the Shivalik Hills near Sirsa river, this beautiful Haveli was built by Raja Joginder Singh of Nalagarh and has now been converted into a homestay by his grandson. There are two spacious suites, complete with a fireplace and seating space, a large garden area and a living room available for guests. Other than the delicious local meals, you can enjoy the famous kiwis and mangoes from the farm. There’s plenty to do here – opt for a Jeep Safari or go for walks in the forest nearby, pay a visit to Rajendra Gardens or the many temples in the area, and take a day trip to Shimla if you like.
#10. A charming room for two in Bipasha Valley near Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Located in Bipasha Valley near Manali, this charming cottage lies nestled by apple trees and offers a scenic escape from the chaos of city life. The bedroom comes with a number of windows and a small personal balcony overlooking the hill station of Manali. There is a small garden outside where you can spend time enjoying the view, writing or sipping a cup of hot tea. The friendly hosts also whip up a delicious meal using fresh organic produce from their garden. During your stay, you can go for short treks around the cottage, on a trail leading to the Some River and another to a beautiful waterfall.
#11. Homestay in a quaint Village near Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Escape the crowd in Manali by choosing to stay in this lovely homestay in a quaint Village that lies surrounded by green fields, apple orchards, forests and wild vegetation. Enjoy the great view from the comforts of one of the three rooms or place yourself in the garden area or terrace with a hot cup of tea and book. There’s a living room, fireplace and a kitchen that serves out delicious local meals (the Lindi curry is highly recommended) inclusive of the tariff. The property is pet friendly as well so take your pet along to enjoy the hospitality and vistas.
#12. Rustic cottage in the heart of Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Now, this property isn’t in the hills but it’s offbeat and one we would highly recommend. Situated on the banks of the Ramganga River in Corbett National Park, and accessible on foot, it is a stay option for true forest lovers and those that seek the wild in its original, pristine form – away from the crowds, the vehicles and heightened human activity. The cottages here are beautiful and have been constructed with locally sourced clay, savannah thatch and wood inspired by traditional Vangujjar tribal style. While here, soak up the wilderness from your verandas, enjoy some delicious meals, explore the forest on foot, enjoy birdwatching, butterfly spotting, or look for signs of the big ones.
Which of these retreats would you like to getaway to during the coming weekends? Share with us in your comments.
About the authors:
Born and raised in Assam, Sarita Santoshini has been travelling around India and penning down her experiences over the past year. She currently works as the Content Editor for SaffronStays. You can read more of her travelogues on her blog- http://crumbsfromyourtale.wordpress.com.
Alaric Moras spends most of his time reading, writing and interning with industries that read and write. He aims to become a clinical psychologist, providing therapy and catching Freudian slips during the day, writing and reading through the night. He likes all manner of animals, the smell of books, and the oxford comma.