Pahadi House, a homestay venture in the Garhwal Himalayas is a retreat to the mind, body and soul… especially for those seeking time away from the mundane routine. Read on to know more about Pahadi House
Society, you are a crazy breed
I hope you are not lonely, without me!
I sing those lines to myself, time and again, in the busy hours of my work life. They remind me of the lifelessness that I feel in the endless working schedule that I have created for myself. Some days the infinite material pleasure feels like a pain because in all that I manage to achieve for myself, I lose a bit of myself.
I lose a piece of myself, in keeping myself at par with the society. Indeed, it is a crazy breed!
It takes a massive amount of sweat these days; it eats up so much of your time that you forget to breathe at a calm pace. You forget to eat your meal on time, you miss the laugh you shared with your friends, you can’t care for the music you loved once upon a time, and you only wish you could finish reading that book, which you bought so fondly. You so want to see the orange flare of the sun in the evening sky, but you are blinded by the blinds of your 6th floor working space. There is hardly any time to take your dog out for a walk; even he has stopped demanding it. The kitchen has not seen you in days, the food that you eat gets taken care of by some random woman who knows how to cook. You don’t remember the last time you had put on that old radio station, put some beauty face pack and meanwhile cleaned the mess of the room that you had created. The mess now remains the mess. And the beauty pack? Really no time!
Life altogether seems like a mess. You can’t walk, you can’t run. Your body becomes so stiff. Your mind gets clogged and you don’t know what has become of you.
It feels like you are always on the go,
But you don’t know, where to go!
And when all of this happens specifically to me, I start thinking of the escape routes. Routes that can pull me out of this crazy society for a while. Escape to some place where I don’t lose a bit of myself, instead I gain my energies back. Routes that lead within.
I pull myself together once again, clear my clogged mind once again and thank my stars for they at least have me kept closer to the hills, if not let me be a native of that land. They are my favorite escape routes; my soul keepers, my second home.
This time, it did not take much effort. All I needed was a few days off work, some good music and my closed-knit folks. This visit to the hills was long overdue, but the more time I took, the more joyous it became.
I was invited to these lovely homestays in the Himalayas, about a year ago. It just took me a little while to grab onto this opportunity, but I guess there could not have been a more appropriate time to visit this part of Dev-Bhoomi, when all I was looking for was some solitude and yet a home away from home.
A “Do Not Disturb” land, where the silence remains unperturbed by the miniscule mankind that dwells here.
Pahadi House, Kanatal, is one such tiny paradise on the top of the hill. Situated on the Chamba – Mussorie road, at an altitude of about 8500 ft in the Shivalik Himalayan Range, it is an unspoiled respite from the city madness.
One of those trips which does not demand a lot of planning, demands either the right company or your “travel-solo” instincts to make it a memorable kind of trip.
I along with a handful of my friends started my journey from Delhi before the day-break. My melodious collection of Coldplay, Eddie and a few others accompanied me. I deliberately did not carry any book, to relax my eyes, though I missed it once I reached the cottage.
The gentle curvaceous bends of the hills, greeted us with a little chill. Through the greens, we hovered our Honda City very smoothly. We crossed the two main cities on our way – Narendra Nagar & Chamba. Pahadi House, Kanatal is another 6 kilometres away from Chamba.
This was my second time to Kanatal in this year, though my very first time at the Pahadi House Homestays there. If you are looking forward to catch enough view of the snow clad Himalayas without scaling great heights, then Kanatal is your destination.
Pahadi house particularly, is a runner’s paradise, a yogi’s meditation zone, a reader’s spot, a music lover’s utopia and a lazy man’s comfort zone. If you are looking for serenity and peace, your search ends here. A simple vegetarian food and the two sweet care takers, Manoj and Bikram definitely ensure a pleasant stay. From being chefs to being tour guides, they are a complete package.
I at the very first sight, fell in love with my cottage. I opened the wooden door, it creaked only a bit though I had to bend a little to enter inside this hut. While the muddy walls reflected the olden trends, the rosy aroma brought with it a contemporary mood.
Once you hit the bed, you will be attracted towards the velvety blankets. But the sun outside is also too tempting. So the moodas can be pulled outside, in the verandah or you may just leap into the wilderness around you. Apart from the wild grass, there is also an organic farm, a larger version of kitchen garden. Vegetation blooms in these farms and you may get the flavor of home-grown cabbages, tomatoes, pumpkins and chilies.
We whiled a lot of our time in the garden. The cottages are equipped with everything that is necessary. With the ambience that it provides, you may really start to think of it as your own. The evening was just too pleasant to take a walk in the Kadukhal Village. A walk down the settlement, leads to a beautiful forest, however we restricted our walk to the starting point of the village, due to the sun going to the west.
At Pahadi House, a bright sun during the day and a starry sky during the night will stay as your absolute partners. A bonfire under the stars will make it a perfect setting for the evening. The scholarly wisdom starts to flow soon; you might not even wait for the bottles to uncap.
From the history of wars to the political drama of today, everything gets served on the plate. From debating on the amalgamated colors of the human colonies to the very reason of our existence, we touched base with everything.
And this went on for hours, until we decided to take a walk till the backyard of the kitchen. It is a pure delight to be staring at the dwindling city lights. Look up; you will see the snow covered Shivalik ranges. Look down; you will see the back waters of Tehri Dam. The road to Tehri district is a long one, and the glimpse of the water makes us believe so. We ended the evening pretty early, succumbing to the tiredness from our long drive. But the coming morning was as fresh as the dew. We witnessed the hues of morning sky, through the window, while still keeping warm in our blankets.
Only when the sun was atop us, we decided to move out. The air felt cold yet free. I took the mountain freshness deep inside my lungs and found myself smiling, looking at clear morning. Delhi these days misses the bright blue color of the sky, and the clarity of the sunlight. There was not a sign of smog anywhere; the atmosphere was as natural as it could be.
Tea was served while we basked under the glorious sun. It was a perfect day to practice yoga and inhale the typical fragrance, exclusive to the Himalayas. The front facade of my cottage was a perfect spot for this – my view included a cabbage farm, some concrete households overlooking a cliff, and the road to Surkanda Devi temple. One of the main attractions in this area, it is actually an easy trek of about 3 kilometers that leads to a temple. This road further leads to the next hamlet, Dhanaulti, plush green during the summers and snowy white during the winters. I pondered for some time on taking this road to explore the trek to temple, but I finally settled with the thought of stretching myself to the yoga-asanas, some more sun and some more music.
The day appeared to be much longer than the usual, a much needed feeling, and I wanted to feel every moment of that day. Pahadi House is an impeccable place for relaxing the anxious mind. The ambience is such that there is nothing to hurry about.
The mind wanders for long distances. It touches the Shivalik peaks; it also goes back to the superfast city that I live in. There is substantial contemplation between the desire of my heart and the realism that I follow. There is enough room for thought and enough thoughts to occupy the mind. Outside this soothing and calm territory of the Himalayas, lies a chaotic life. With every long breath that I take here, I realize the scanty orderliness that I am brimmed with. I make some bold decisions in my head; I feel the urge for it. But it is just a few simple facts of life that stand as big obstacles before I could actually execute those decisions.
Thoughts kept me busy, and yet relaxed all day long. I was only thinking; I was not doing anything. I did not want to be doing anything. I wish I could keep the thoughts away too, but they were harmless. Until I did anything about them, they caused me no harm. And so I would not know, what was the harm I may face.
As the day went by, we decided to take a little stroll around the place. Walk through the village seemed like a good idea. The only thing I missed here was the company of a dog; a big brown furry dog. This time, we went far ahead and reached the starting point of the forest. Cabbage is grown in abundance in this land, followed by tomatoes, potatoes and kidney beans. At the entrance, there is a magnificent tunnel formed naturally by the trees; they all bend towards each other and keep hugging. We stared at them for such a long time, that we never could enter into it.
Besides, we also knew that it was almost time for the bonfire at Pahadi House. Between the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon, we reached the main road soon. The city lights formed certain letters on the mountains, but they did not make a word. Without much thought, we immersed into the sight for quite some time. Then the chill took us back to our cottages.
Warmed with tea and bonfire, we sulked for some time on the thought of returning to the plains on the following day. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our last bonfire at Pahadi House, with an affirmative mind to return to this paradise.
On the way back, I met the owner of Pahadi House and asked if we could have a longer duration stay in the lovely cottage; the idea is to get our own food and some books to read. It is an ideal place for soaking yourself into the world of words. To my pleasure, he has agreed for it and all I need to do now is to pack a bigger bag and return to these woods soon.
Check out the visitors’ reviews on –