The lodge lies in the middle of a tea estate established by the British back in 1857. It has seen decades of continuous cultivation, even surviving an earthquake in 1905. The estate was later taken over by the son of a Nawab in Pakistan. In 1953, it came in the hands of the family who owns it now. As the family grew, plantations were divided amongst the younger generations.
At first, the lodge was constructed as a home for the family. It was only later when they realised and started appreciating the true beauty of the estate and the everlasting smell of the pine-scented air that they wanted to share their experience with other travellers that this Unhotel was born. And truly, the experience of staying here is unparalleled.
The Tea Escape has eight ensuite rooms spread across three cottages which have been named after different types of tea like Oolong, Pekoe and Camellia. Built only with natural material including mud, wood, slate and stone, the cottages in the lodge have been constructed by skilled local craftsmen. Even the walls inside have been kept as chemical-free as possible using no paint, just mud, plaster and other materials. Each cottage has its unique characteristics be it reading nooks, mud flooring, garden views and more.
The best part is that the tea estate factory is just a short walk away.
The Tea Escape prides itself on using only organic, local produce most of which is harvested in the kitchen garden. All meals are simple yet flavourful. Be sure to taste some mouthwatering Indian curries and dals prepared the traditional Kangra way using earth pots and firewood accompanied with chutneys, pickles and jams – all homemade! They also serve Italian and continental food. For those out for the day, the staff will be happy to pack a scrumptious picnic basket.
All the meals are included in the stay. Here, the guests are also free to learn (or teach) some recipes. This lodge even has its own community farming program under which tea pluckers are gifted seeds and plots by the estate. The lodge can use this produce for its own kitchen, while the majority of it is harvested by the pluckers for their personal use.
There are a ton of activities to do at Palampur. Those who love adventure can go paragliding, trekking to Triund, Bir valley and Barot, camping and angling, safaris to nearby viewpoints, cycling through the estate and picnics to view beautiful sunsets.
Dharamshala and McLeod Gunj are a day trip away. Visit the beautiful Norbulingka institute, see the residence and the main monastery of the Dalai Lama, and spend some time shopping at McLeod Gunj.
Guests can also learn pottery at Andretta – the famous pottery village just 15 minutes away from the lodge. Take a class and be surprised with how therapeutic this activity can be.
For those who just want to stay in, the lodge has a wide range of board games from Ludo to Taboo. Video game lovers can have a go at the PlayStation and Wii here. You can also play a game of badminton or cricket in the fields.
This hilly escape has all the elements of adventure, of an old British tea estate and a comfy mountain retreat. Best for getting away from the ever-growing cloud of air pollution in the city and rejuvenating onself.
For city dwellers who still enjoy to hear the humming of the birds and the sounds of the forest. Those who like to be around nature without sacrificing the wrapping of luxury. The seekers of adventure, fine living and Good Tea!
Not for the Himachal Pradesh equals treks to Kasol crowd. The deal seekers. Or people in a hurry, who are pocket conscious, who prefer a standard hotel experience. Definitely not for those who cannot do without the regular hotel amenties.
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