It’s never the wrong time for a Himalayan getaway. Especially during peak winter seasons, when the mountains truly come alive. Icy winds, clean and crisp are a relief when compared to the fume filled, toxic and stagnant air that has enveloped our megacities. And not to forget the little joys of witnessing a snowfall that casts a white sheet over the pine, oak and rhododendron forests. But when the sun shines upon this and you soak in the warmth, at that moment, you feel yourself calming down, your body more relaxed and full, with a cup of hot tea, a good book and the liberty of whiling time away by just endlessly gazing into the frosted peaks. Even the treks and hikes in winters are twice as beautiful in the chill, when the views are crystal clear and your body needs that exercise!
At Unhotel, it is these experiences we value and cherish, not those that consist of rushing from one viewpoint to another, with no time to take a breather. Our adage goes something like ‘We must slow down to accelerate’, and we package these moments, wrapped with hand-picked boutique stays. Neither of our Unhotels are inaccessible or uncomfortable.
Here are some Winter break ideas in Kumaon that we recommend :
- Forest bathing at Sanctuary in the Hills
Trek uphill, or hop on a pony to take you through terrace farms and dense forests, straight out of Grimm Brothers’ fairytale, Somewhere along the journey will come your destination, a stone bungalow with an extended glass annex and a greenhouse. Rustic but plush, remote but cosy and warm, this refuge in the Himalayan forests is for the dreamers. A solar heated pool if you dare, or just the fireplace with your wine. Days can be spent in the library, catching up on reading or watching one of the many DVDs from the collectibles. And for the adventurers, there are many treks and activities. You can bring your pets along, so don’t worry about leaving your furry friends behind in the city.
- A Farmstay out of a Claude Monet painting
Our Unhotel in Satoli is a visual delight. A glass enclosed ceiling below which lies a rustic, wooden villa with beautifully done up interiors. Is enough to keep you homeridden for days. It effortlessly blends into the scenic setting – consisting of snow capped mountain peaks, lush green cover and the orchard in which its situated. Read as many books, play as many games, eat as many fruits fresh out the orchard, and infuse as many chamomile, thyme and other herbs from the farm in your hot piping tea – we have everything stocked for you. There are many walks to nearby streams and waterfalls, and shops run by local ngos and rural women for a haggle-free shopping option.
- Voluntouring in the Mountains
Our friends at Aarohi, an NGO in Mukteshwar, are always looking for helping hands – enthusiastic, compassionate and friendly. While you sink in the comfort of your queen sized bed, have a hot cup of coffee in the balcony that opens your views to the vistas and go on endless adventures in the forest tracks, at the same time you can assist local women with their work, teach their children and even help them market and sell their handcrafts. Make a difference while you enjoy your vacation. It is not only a rewarding experience but also an opportunity to open your mind and learn from Pahadi communities about the eco-friendly ways in which they strive to preserve their forests.
- Adventures with Mountain Retreat
Don’t we all dream of building a cottage in the mountains? Well, you can surely live out your dream, even if temporarily, in our Unhotel- the Mountain Retreat that lies in the lap of kumaon. A set of five cottages amidst orchards have eight rooms and one suite, each comfortable with a private sit out and attached garden. And around the locality are a range of treks, hikes and activities for an adrenaline rush. There are various level walks – from easy to difficult ones, and they usually bear sweet fruit as they end in remote waterfalls, fresh flowing streams, shrines and secluded viewing points Rock climbing, rappelling and a host of indoor games are also available.
- A Manor from the Raj Era
Back in the days of the Raj, a British army officer’s wife fell in love with this village near Nainital and decided to stay back. In time she built this house on a hillside. Now, this manor is an instant favourite amongst those who find their way to it. Away from the cluttered and chaotic Nainital yet in the heart of mountains, this charming cottage is known for its stunning interiors and themed rooms. Laze on the sun deck, cosy up with a book in the library, play a game of ping pong or just admire the vistas with a hot cuppa. You can also take day trips to and near Nainital, if you miss the buzz and bustle.
For more Uncommon Vacation ideas, in Kumaon and other parts of India, drop us a mail at [email protected] or WhatsApp 9650033353. We look forward to sending you on these mindful travel experiences!0