Have you ever had a holiday just staring at the mountains, watching the mist float gently from one peak to the other, revealing streaks of sunlight caressing the contours of the conifers ? Have you ever had a holiday when you hear a mysterious call of a bird and you step out of your room looking for it, while it plays hide and seek with you ? Have you ever had a holiday when all you do is to eat to your hearts content and then burn all those calories by just walking aimlessly ? If not , then head to the Club Mahindra resort in Kandaghat.
There is a charm in the very name Kandaghat. A small little hill side town tucked away in the Himalayas, it is lost completely from the mayhem of tourists. Kandaghat is located on the Chandigarh -Shimla road and it nonchalantly springs up on you just before the capital town. It is easy to miss it. We almost did . But the gusty winds shook the tall conifers out of its reverie as they swayed in a fit of passion . Caught in the frenzy of nature’s dance, we slowed down as the mountain roads curved to lead us to the resort. At first look, I realized that this was an ideal retreat where one can just put up their legs and do nothing .
For me travel is all about exploring the destination, imbibing the local flavour, picking up conversations with people and of course, indulging in food. I rarely start my vacation shopping. But this is what we did . Our first halt was at a shop in Chandigarh where we decided to buy colourful hand embroidered phulkari duppatas. We haggled for a while and finally moved on towards our destination.
The flowers greeted us wherever we went. The mountains beckoned us. The weather was just right . Standing against the hills, it was the perfect backdrop for a selfie. A lot of tourists would like to venture out into the mountains, go on long hikes, visit local temples and drink in the beauty of landscape. All I wanted to do was to lie on the grass, pick up a book and read.
We walked into the herb garden and learnt the names of every local shrub and herb planted there . There were greens, spices, fruits and flowers. I almost lost my balance as I attempted to pluck the pears from the tree. The grapes were just popping up but the apple season had got over. And the birds called, teasing me as I followed them into the woods, only to find them merging with the greens. I stood there and gazed into the maze of trees. The dense foliage seemed to hide a secret from us, tourists. It was like they were guarding something from our gaze. And the birds seemed to know, as they vanished into the landscape.
We drove through the countryside and visited little villages with traditional homes. The kids flocked around us as we were invited into the homes of the villages for a warm cup of tea. Ive often heard that Pahadi people are the most hospitable and we were grateful for the warmth they showed us ,
We headed to Shimla but the rain Gods threw a wet blanket on our plans. We sought some warmth in the nearby resort at Mashobra where the sun deigned to show up. Famished, we devoured the lunch and attempted to walk down the Mall Road at Shimla again. This time, the sun decided to give us company. As we walked, it was a feast to the eyes and stomach. There is really nothing like street food .So we stopped at almost every little street corner, trying everything from samosa to .channa…
Back at the resort, it was a Himachali evening with music, dance and plenty of traditional food and wine. Sipping the local drink, I was high as I swayed to the beats and plunged into a mood of revelry and fun. The moon slowly disappeared into the clouds as we danced the night away to the lilting music .
I woke up to the sun peering down at my sheet, waking me up gently . The birds had an early start. The garden was in full bloom as all the marigolds grinned at the sun . In a few hours I had to leave the resort and head back to the airport. But the resort manager told us there was a surprise waiting for us. As I tucked in our breakfast, I watched the mist floating in and out of our view. I headed back to the garden where a small pit lay in front of us. And there I left a piece of me as I planted a small sapling in my name, adding my little bit to the Himalayan landscape. I spent a few private moments with nature before heading back to civilisation.
Travel may mean different things to different people, but it is slow travel that touches the soul and leaves you refreshed. Next time, do nothing on your holiday and let the destination seep into your bones.
Club Mahindra has two quaint resorts in Kandaghat and Mashobra, both located very close to Shimla and yet they are far from the madding crowd. Ideal holiday destinations for families, they are perfect to unwind . If you are not a Club Mahindra member, then consider being a part of their Vacation Ownership programmes.
For more stories on Himachal Pradesh, read