House | 2 bedrooms | sleeps 4
The house consists of a large double bedroom comfortably furnished with specially commissioned furniture,rugs and curtains, a large shower room with bidet,and ample cupboards; a large living room (17 x 10m) with fireplace and a dining area, and kitchen off (6 x 4 m). An open sheltered area at the front leads to the surrounding stone terrace at either of which meals can be taken. There is a second bedroom with double bed and shower room behind the main house,above which Krishna, who will look after you,and his family live.
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Jolly Grant (Dehra Dun)( Garhwal) or Pantnagar(K 200 km, Nearest railway: Haridwar or Kathgodam 200 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, DVD player, Staffed property|
|General||CD player, Telephone|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron|
|Utilities||Cooker, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 2 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Double beds (2), Dining seats for 6, Lounge seats for 11|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden|
|Further details indoors|
The master bedroom is comfortably furnished with a desk,low table and chairs with large double bed with duvets or yak wool blankets,the curtains are wild silk from Orissa woven by the ikat method with a hand knotted rug made to reflect the design of the curtains. The sitting room has comfortable cane furniture with silk covering and ample cushions,and two large hand woven rugs,the walls on either side of the fireplace are lined with bookshelves,which also carry the CD player and loudspeakers.
The dining area has a six sided teak table and 6 chairs designed and specially made. The floor is marble and there are large windows along the whole of the front of the house giving unparalleled views across the valley to Trishul. The curtains are hand painted and of old Jain designs. There is a projector and a small number of DVDs. Laundry can be done for you by Munnar who lives nearby and works in the garden.
|Further details outdoors|
The view from bedroom and the sitting room is across to Trishul with a sloping hill covered with pine trees on the left and on the right looking across a pastoral valley.In front of the house an orchard is being developed and vegetables grown. Being at 6000ft the evenings are cool or cold,but during the day, if the sun shines and there is no wind you can have breakfast and lunch on the terrace or in the enclosed area outside the sitting room.
Food is cooked by Krisna who will sometimes use the Tandoor oven which is outside. The himalayas is good for birds, Langurs visit the garden,and leopards are occasionally seen nearby. The house is well situated for explorations of the nearby countryside - there are walks and treks through the surrounding forests or drives to visit nearby town,some with old temples (Baijnath, Bageshwar). The house lies in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world,and is an ideal half way house between Garwhal and Kumaon - In Garwhal you have the rugged mountains and holy sites like Badrinath and Kedarnath which you can approach along the course of the Ganges staring at Rishikesh,or Haridwar with its extraordinary temples; in Kumaon with its beautiful terraced landscape as well as mountains you can visit Corbett National Park. Many of the places you will want to visit are too far for a day trip,and in Garwhal a motoring holiday with one or two nigh stops would be better; Kumaon is an easier area to travel in. It is worth reading a guide book on the area to understand what is available.
People who are not familiar with India,and particularly the Himalayas should be aware that things, usually small, can and do go wrong,and will not always run to plan.This is not a place to visit if you want a safe luxurious holiday. However people familiar with India know that maddening though it can be the rewards for the traveller enormously outweigh the irritations or inconveniences. While this house offers as much comfort as you are likely to find in the himalayas the electricity is erratic (though improving) and at times light is supplied by generator which will also work the CD player and projector,but it may be necessary to have your bath using a bucket of hot water.
The food is not for gourmets - though there is good simple cooking using what is available in a remote and relatively poor area - however Krishna can manage a souffle as well as Indian or Nepali food,and bakes the bread and makes the marmalade,and you can discuss with him your likes and dislikes. Good vegetables are available,chicken (best done on the tandoor);and also river fish (inclined to be bony) and mutton (goat - inclined to be tough). The tariff includes meals but if you require any special items -such as cheese,or alcoholic drinks you should bring these with you from Delhi. For those on a first visit we suggest reading John Keay's Into India,and also one or two of the guide books, before committing yourself.
Many people worry about health in India, but a few precautions should prevent any problem - the main one being that you should only drink mineral or boiled water ( the house boils all the water and filters it)and take care in eating food outside (street food looks and smells delicious - make sure it is hot and freshly cooked) .
A car is more or less essential - although you can make the journey from Delhi it makes sense to come to Haridwar or Dehra Dun, or to Kathgodam and hire a car there as local drivers are accustomed to mountain roads and many Delhi drivers do not like them. The cost depends on the vehicle and the route taken,but is considerably lower than in Europe. If you are unfamiliar with India we are happy to offer suggestions and help before you go,and you will find Krishna helpful and intelligent.
The Himalayan North India region
Being a mountainous area the weather is changeable - however the rainy season is mid or late June until early September,and the cold season December and January - but even during that period the sun often shines and it is warm enough to sit outside.
Being set in the midst of some extremely wild countryside, much of the area has been in habited by mountain people living in small and isolated communities, but some of the holiest temples in India are in the region - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri,as well as Tungnath, Haridwar, Rishikesh. In Kumaon which is more pastoral there are various towns with interesting industries such as weaving ( including wool and pashmina) and a larger agricultural community.
Gwaldam is a small village perched on a ridge,the house being 4 km outside the town. The village itself it is not of particular interest apart from a few shops,but the setting is particularly fine and Taal House itself offers one of the best and closest views of any himalayan mountain. It is an ideal base for all types of walking - from a casual stroll to serious trekking,or mountaineering. You can walk to Badhangari with its Kali shrine,Agyari Mahader and the hilltop shrine of Gwaldam Nag,and for more serious trekking Bedni Bugyal and Pindari Glacier start from here. There is an experienced guide in Gwaldam,Jawahar Singh Bisht ( 01363 - 274371) who is available for these or other treks such as Roop Kund,and we recommend that you contact him for the more serious treks. The house can be taken for a few days before a trek,and taken again on the return. There are no restaurants in the district apart from small cafes which we would not recommend. There are old temples at Baijnath and Bageshwar,suitable for a day trip,and others slightly further afield ;Kausani has a spectacular panoramic view of the himalayas and Kot Bhramari temple is close by.. Woollen goods are available in many shops, not all of it very sophisticated,but shawls and blankets are of good quality.
Outlook Traveller getaways Uttarakhand is a useful publication for Gwaldam and for Garhwal and Kumaon in general.
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