Dharamshala is that hill station, which never gets old. Delhi’s favourite mountain destination, Dharamshala has off late been accused of getting too crowded, all thanks to its distance from Delhi, which makes it an amazing road trip experience. Blessed with Tibetan culture, panoramic Himalayas, tea gardens and good food, this was in our bucket list for monsoon this year.
On an invite from Rakkh Resort, we reached this Himalayan hamlet that sits 20 km away from the hustle and bustle from the main town on a fine rainy morning. Monsoon in the hills is an absolute bliss. Rainwater masquerading as waterfall and gushing out here and there at incredible force and noise make your mountain trip in monsoon a memorable one.
To reach Rakkh, the eco-friendly resort in Dharamshala, we took a detour from the Chamunda Temple road and drive across the rough terrain. With sudden rains, the road might be slippery as well so one needs to be really careful while hauling up. But once you reach the resort, the furry welcome by in-house pets Talli and Tina, a Golden Retriever and a mixed breed will make you fall in love at first sight.
The welcome drink here is locally manufactured fruit syrup. With ducks engaged in fun, Rakkh will constantly remind you of the village culture of the hills. Yet the magnificent cottages will offer you all the modern amenities.
There are two types of cottages at Rakkh: Mountain and Hills. While the first one has a beautiful view from the open veranda, the second one gets bonfire pit, which comes handy in the evening. The cottages are tastefully designed using local artworks. Wood is the primary material used in the decor of the room. Built in midst of Himalayan forest land, it’s quite obvious that wood will get the priority here.
Talking about the cottages, what deserve special mention here are the teal colour combination of the wall, wooden headrest that looks raw yet pretty, the naked stone design of the veranda floor. And of course there is a traditional brass pot with warm water and sea salt for you to sleep well.
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO KNOW MORE ABOUT RAKKH:
We have mentioned earlier, everything has been sourced locally. Right from the manpower to daily necessities are from the villages located within 3-4 km radius of the resort. The restaurant Dhaam, has variety of juices in mason bottles sourced from a local juice factory in the village. Among the wide availability of menu, we tried the local Himachali cuisine. Though a small mountainous state in the lap of Himalaya , Himachal Pradesh has its own way with food. Though with a hint of neighbouring Punjab, Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, Himachali Madra (vegetable curry) and Patrod ( Arb i leaf pakoda) are some of the delicacies in the area. And at this Dharamshala hotel there is a strong emphasis on local Himachal food.
WATCH: Regional Recipes: Himachali Chickpeas Madra
Not just the Himachali sour dal, sweet rice, Madra and Chana Dal Himachali style, there is an unlimited supply of refreshing fresh juice, noodles, and high tea for your need – all included with the accommodation.
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Well, talking about activities at Rakh village, there are just tonnes of it. Explore the surrounding countryside on two wheels! Different trails have been specially designed to cater for differing levels, from beginners to more practiced mountain bikers.
These scenic bike rides take you through the surrounding villages of Rakh and Ghamrota, through local tea estates, past isolated Tibetan monasteries and at the end of the excursion our vehicle will be on hand to pick you up and return you to the resort. All excursions are accompanied by trained staff, and all the bikes and equipment reach international standards.
If you aren’t keen on these activities, you can hike up to the water fall down the gate. The water fall that becomes one of the unnamed rivers down in the valley hooked us to it with its utter magnificence. If you are courageous enough, try swimming in the tank made to store water from the fall. You would get kids of the villages as company. ALSO READ: Indulgence Exclusive: Here’s what Chef Kunal Kapur just cooked with designer Suneet Verma
You can visit the nearby Monastic Institute and get accustomed to the Tibetan culture. However this place should be visited just to experience the wilderness of the Himalayas. With wild horses hopping around, Tibetan flags fluttering, this is also the place to watch Himalayan birds like Monal, Qail and Black Lored Tit.
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