We all need time away from our extremely routine, over-urbanised lives. In our efforts to escape the monotony and the ever-increasing pollution, we often end up running for the hills, quite literally. But what we often don't realise is the impact our little trips have on the local environment.
That's why the Lodge At Wah is a breath of fresh air. Rather than exploiting its surroundings, this exquisite boutique resort in Palampur exists as an extension of it.
Conceptualised by Deepak Prakash, a fourth generation descendant of the Wah Tea Estate nearby, the lodge greets you amidst the pine-scented air of the Kangra Valley. Spread over 526 acres and in proximity to the snow-covered Dhauladhar range, the property is just an hour away from Dharamshala.
About the property
The lodge was first constructed as a home for the owners of the tea factory. It was only later that they decided to open up the property for everyone who loved to be amidst nature. Now, the Wah Tea Estate factory is a short walk away.
Built only with natural material, such as mud, wood, slate and stone, the cottages in the lodge have been constructed by skilled craftsmen from the region. Many trees have been planted to make up for the wood that was cut to build the lodges. Even the walls inside have been kept as chemical-free as possible by using no paint, just mud plaster and natural substances.
The Lodge at Wah has three cottages, Camellia, Oolong, Pekoe (all varieties of tea). There are eight rooms in total and every room is decorated in a similar style, although each has a distinct character.
Camellia has four rooms and costs Rs 17,870 per night.
Oolong and Pekoe, both have two rooms each and cost Rs 8,967 per night.
This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort.
The food on your plate at the Lodge at Wah comes from the kitchen garden outside. So be reassured that your meals are fresh and organic. With your meals, you get homemade pickles, jams, chutneys and juices throughout the year. The menu is seasonal and includes Italian and Continental fare, sprinkled with fresh herbs from the garden, while the Indian curries are prepared using earthen pots and firewood.
Feel free to tell them in advance about a special request, or even head into the kitchen to learn a new recipe.
Best time to visit
At the Lodge at Wah, they believe that every season is a good time to be here. April to June, summer time, is when the weather is pleasant and the rainfall is at its lowest. This means you can enjoy the outdoor activities and also experience the busiest time of tea production at the estate. Monsoon season from July to September is when the estate is at its greenest. November to February is when a stay at the lodge will mean barbecues, hot cups of tea and stunning scenes of snowfall and snow-clad mountains.
How to get here
Located in Himachal Pradesh's Palampur, it isn't difficult to get to the Lodge at Wah.
By air: Take a flight from Delhi to Dharamshala and take a one-hour ride in a taxi from there to the lodge.
By rail: The railway station closest to the resort is in Pathankot, Punjab. From there, it will take you approximately three hours by road.
What to do here and in Palampur
Take a tour of the Wah Tea Estate
Walk to the incredible tea estate to learn about how tea is grown and processed. Ask to be taken to the factory, where you can see the entire process of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting of tea leaves. After the factory, take a tea tasting session amidst the tea plantations and pick those that you like best. You can also learn how to pluck tea leaves at the plantation.
Get your heart thumping at one of the best paragliding sites in the world
Billing is an hour away from Palampur and is the best place in India to paraglide. Tour operators in Bir (30 mins from Palampur) will drive you to the take-off site in Billing. For Rs 2500, you can enjoy the paragliding experience while filming it on a GoPro camera.
Have some "me-time" at a pottery classes nearby
Drive over to Andrea's Pottery, around 15-minutes away, and take pottery lessons. You can choose classes that go on for 20 minutes, or last a day.
Go on a trek through a 100-acre pine forest
Ask the staff at the lodge to organise a trek for you through the pine forest. Since this will be just for you, you can pick the length and difficulty for yourself. Get a picnic packed, so you can spend as much time as you need in the midst of nature without feeling hungry.
Pack a picnic and head to the brightest green spot you can find
Ask the staff at the lodge to pack you an exciting picnic of sandwiches, fruits, a drink and dessert and take you to the prettiest spot in the tea estate, which has a spectacular view of the mountains with tea bushes.
There's a lot more to do around Palampur in Dharamshala, Bir and Barot. But if you don't want to venture too far from the resort, then you can either enjoy indoor activities such as board games and video games, or head out for some birdwatching, star gazing, cycling and bonfires.
Click here to book the property!
All pictures belong to the Lodge At Wah.
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