of the Hills
Chand stays at two antique bungalows in Ramgarh, Kumaon Hills
as she connects with nature
quite prepares you for Ramgarh. I had heard about its orchards,
about peaches the size of tennis balls, plums, apricots and
pears, about the beauty of the Kumaon Hills amidst which Ramgarh
is quaintly tucked, but nothing quite prepared me for the
Time stands still here and the silence is overpowering. No
bright lights, not a vehicle in sight, no television, no phones
(even the mobile phones dont work here), not even a
murmur. The only thing in abundance is tranquillity and, of
course, nature in all its green finery.
It took me a day to get used to the silence. There are the
withdrawal symptoms of being away from the fret and fury of
the city but the fresh air takes care of it.
the early morning, I walked through the conifers as a gentle
breeze soothed me. Poetry is born in such surroundings. Is
it then surprising that the poetess Mahadevi Varma lived here
(her house is now a library museum) and Rabindranath Tagore
wrote parts of his Nobel Prize-winning Geetanjali amidst these
serene environs. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh set up a meditation retreat
19th century inspection bungalows - Writers Bungalow
and Old Bungalow, which have been given a new lease of life
by Neemrana Hotels, serves as abode to those who want to relish
the glorious mountain ranges, the green belt and the orchards
of Ramgarh. As I moved around the property, I realised how
much effort had gone in to restore them. Anchored in aesthetics,
they reflect that old world charm of the countryside which
the Neemrana duo, Francis and Aman Nath, set out to recreate.
Aman, While restoring the structure, we took care to
retain all the characteristics of the original. No wonder
Bhoot Bungalow, as Writers Bungalow was
called by neighbouring villagers before being rechristened,
still shows signs of the original wear and tear. The bay windows,
the verandah, the antique furniture, have all been retained.
No additional construction, no marble flooring and no frills
and fancies. The bathrooms are also in tune just good
enough to be functional yet not lacking in the necessary amenities.
No Internet or fax connection here.
of the bungalows are anchored in aesthetics
suite of the Old Bungalow - the Kumaon, the Kashmir and the
English - also has its own character. The Kumaon is painted
in a shade of rich orange and rust, the English is cool green
and the Kashmir is cream and pink. The verandah has an old
style wooden takhat with mattress and plenty of cushions plus
a couple of deck chairs. The arrangement is so comfortable
that you do not feel like budging out.
mighty hills present an awesome panorama from these bungalows
- the rising sun, the hills, the greens, the orchards, the
flowers, the birds, the whispering wind and if you are lucky,
an exquisite rainbow in the sky.
Bungalow is at a little height, about five minutes walk from
the Old Bungalow. Both the Bird and The Butterfly Suite of
the former have little Flower Rooms in blue and yellow. Study
tables and antique beds add to the rustic charm of the interiors.
As I sat watching the sunset from the bay window of the Butterfly
Suite, it struck me that often its necessary to keep
the mind blank. I let my mind drift with the cool air of the
The Writers Bungalow has two suites: the Bird
Suite with a Yellow Room and the Butterfly Suite with
a Blue Room.
The Old Bungalow has three suites: the Kumaon, the Kashmir
and the English Suite with the Green Room and Mustard
Room. Rooms can be booked separately.
Neemrana Hotels A58, Nizamuddin East, New
Delhi, Tel: 4356145
Ramgarh in Kumaon is 235 km from Delhi. You can go by
road via Moradabad, Rampur, Haldwani, to Kathgodam and
then to Bhimtal and Ramgarh. Or the train goes up to Kathgodam
from where Ramgarh is about 50 km.