On my recent vacation in Uttarakhand, I was invited for a stay at the Parvada Bungalows near Mukteshwar. This is my unbiased, honest and point to point review of the property in exchange for the free stay and food.
Situated atop a hill, the entire estate overlooks a gorge below which is studded with oak forest and stepped terraced fields. A variety of fruit trees dot the landscape which are showing the first bloom of spring in their gorgeous blossoms. A high chain of mountains peer down at Parvada Bungalows in the east and makes for the perfect backdrop for a sunrise which is best viewed from the dining deck. The entire property faces east, taking advantage of being warmed up by the rising sun.
Pear, fig, apple, peach, Deodar, pencil pine, walnut, rhododendron and oak trees grace the stepped landscape of the estate. I love how the entire construction has been aligned with the contours of the land, melding it seamlessly with the landscape.
Library / Victor Lounge
The three tiered communal building ( The Quinta ) houses a really cosy and well stocked Library on the lower ground floor, the dining hall and kitchen on the ground floor and a gorgeous multipurpose recreational room on the top. I was in total envy of the collection of books in the library which actually belong to the owners. There are plenty of comfortable lounging options as well as a game table, board games and other items to occupy a lazy mind.
The warm and homey dining room is the epicenter of the property and its where I ended up spending my maximum time. I loved the huge over sized couch that doubles up as a perfect snooze spot on a lazy rainy afternoon. Its got huge windows on two sides which affords amazing views of the valley and around.
This is a fantastically built space, completely clad in pine wood and has skylights in the ceiling besides the huge windows on three sides. It doubles up as an amazing yoga and meditation room and a yoga teacher from the nearby village comes up on request to take class. Believe you me, its a fabulous experience and you must opt for it.
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The Stay at Parvada
The interiors at Parvada are completely clad in the warmth of Pinewood with a very heritage look in the electrical fittings. The property boasts 7 double bedrooms at present and will be adding a few more in the coming years. The one villa and two cottages are named for the trees around them.
Wild Fig Villa
A two storey villa, this one has quite an interesting composition of bedrooms. Its split into North, South and central blocks. The North and South are mirror opposites and house a comfortable double bedroom on the lower level with a very generous walk in closet and a modern bathroom.
A narrow wooden staircase takes one up to the attic level which house another double bedroom with its en-suite bathroom. The central villa has a plush living room on its lower level and a rather large sized bedroom on the top level.
Completely clad in pinewood wainscoting, wood paneled ceiling and beams, the villa offers a very gracious and charming accommodation for a perfect holiday.
- Huge umbrellas are stocked in the rooms, along with extra blankets.
- Small portable heater and hot gel packs are provided on request in the rooms.
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Oak & Pine cottages
These are two independent cottages on the property, adjacent to each other with large well proportioned rooms and toilets. They are a little away from the main property and have a neat gazebo with its fireplace to complete the feel. Both the cottages are named for the trees around them and add to the charm.
A special word must be said for the tastefully done up interiors of the property. The entire place is studded with carefully chosen art, artefacts, planters and other bric-a-bracs that lend a true warmth of a well kept home to the estate. I also loved the assorted musical melange that I was treated to, courtesy the host’s taste and collection. It was a perfect home away from home for me and I can’t wait for my next trip.
Another special word for the hardworking and talented local staff that has been imparted impeccable training in aspects of everything hospitality. In fact its this well trained staff with a very pleasing attitude that makes for the backbone of the excellent hospitality at Parvada Bungalows. For this reason alone, I would recommend this place highly for solo travelers, honeymooners and family crowd.
Kudos also to the wheelchair access spaces integrated very thoughtfully into some parts of the property. This is a boon to the handicapped travelers and makes for a high point ata stay in Parvada.
Finally a word for the extremely thoughtful and kind host / co-owner – Mr Sanjay Sondhi. His warmth and looking after was just par excellence and beyond my expectations. When you visit Parvada, do take some time out to have a small chat with him to brighten up your day.
The Gourmet Affair at Parvada
I am in love with the cook Prakash here who is a whiz at whipping up local and global cuisine at the drop of a hat. Everything is fresh, hot and tastes just amazing. The Parvada kitchen has found a veritable palette in the local food which has been devised into delicious preparations at the hands of the local chef who has found the perfect balance of flavors to appease “citified palates“.
What I loved best was the homely feel to every meal with the way the food was served and the table laid out. I was pampered to death with the copious amounts of fresh pahadi tea that the cook brewed every two hours for us. I loved the blue mugs at Parvada and regret not taking a picture of them. You must indulge in this tea when you do holiday there.
Special word for the Quiche/tart which I cannot praise high enough; actually don’t have the words to express its culinary genius. It was just out of the world!!!
- I was treated to a uber spread of local dishes on the first day and I just couldn’t stop eating. The rotis made out of the local flour Mandua (ragi) were the perfect accompaniment to the five star food.
- A rainy day was the perfect excuse for pakorey with Bhaang (hemp seeds) chutney – I swear you have to taste this concoction to believe it.
- Fresh hot soup with freshly baked dinner rolls were just unbelievably lip smacking and soul satisfying.
- Something unique and very detoxifying was a khichdi made out of local rice and curd with some local spices.
- Sweets department was out of the world with the ragi halwa, elaichi pannacotta, jhangoorey ki kheer……..
I was too busy eating to photograph every item and most of the food pics are courtesy the management.
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Location: 5/5 stars
Hospitality: 5/5 stars
Accommodation: 5/5 stars
Food: 5/5 stars (wish I had more to give here)
Value for money: 5/5 stars
Things to do:
Well if you can stay out of the dining room aromas, then head to the adjoining sun deck that will let you gaze uninterrupted at the view. The kitchen staff shall keep you well supplied with brews and snacks of your choice the whole day long.
The library is another super space to let one read in very cozy confines with a splendid view of the valley around. Best part is that its the best sun warmed spot in the entire estate.
If you have itchy feet like me, head for a leisurely stroll down the hill. You will keep hearing the sound of running water and will eventually hit it in a couple of kilometers. You can also request a local guide to take you for a walk in the Parvada village and acquaint you with the locals.
Request for a yoga teacher and go through the paces in the splendid sun lit yoga room on the top of the property.
Best Time to visit Parvada Bungalows:
I had visited in the month of March and the landscape was just getting up to the spring mode, with blossoms making an appearance on the fruit trees. It was still raining and pretty cold on all accounts – perfect weather as far as I was concerned. I loved to watch the clouds making the slow roll down the hills to suddenly swamp the whole are in a misty veil.
In spring time the fruit blossoms and the Rhododendron vie for your attention even as the weather is still tad bit cool for the plain dwellers. Highly recommend a visit during this period.
Kumaon is a pretty happy place to be in during the summer months when the weather is breezy and cool with greenery all around. The bird chatter is at the highest and one can sight some gorgeous avian species in this region. Fans are not required at all in summers.
Autumn & winters is when is gets really dry and cold, with plenty of snow to make the stay exciting for the adventurous souls. Star gazing is at its best during the dry autumn nights when the skies are crystal clear.
All in all, I would recommend a stay here all the year around; provided the management is happy to have visitors in peak winters.
- Power cuts happen in the hills all the time and can last up to days. Paravda has backup on most 5 amp points.
- Low cell phone connectivity can be a damper for those who love to be connected all the time.
- Bonfire is available on request and can be enjoyed all year around as the nights get chilly.
How to get to Parvada
By Train: Shatabdi from Delhi to Kathgodam and then about 2 hours by taxi to Parvada (Taxi pickup from Kathgodam station is available on request)
By Car: Parvada is at a distance of 350 kms from Delhi and takes about 7-8 hours by road
Parvada Bungalows Contact Info:
Website: Parvada Bungalows
Phone: + 91 7428408999
Nearby Dine out options:
Sustainable Tourism efforts by Parvada:
Paravada team has been involved in supplementing Aarohi- a local NGO/community based organisation in training and support to the locals to run home stays. These can be found under the Peora Home stays and is a very encouraging effort for the local community.
A trained Interior designer who loves to travel, photograph and write, I have done some boutique stays in limited budgets and some in extravagant ones too. I specialize in using locally sourced/ made products which would provide support to the local community.
I am also an advocate of using sustainable practices in housekeeping, laundry,etc which lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The water used for such chores is clean enough to be fed into the garden directly.
You could get in touch with me for:
- Interior de services for your property
- Training and implementing of green practices at your property
- Doing an honest Travel reviews for a unique stay anywhere in the world. If you liked this review and would like for me to visit your property, please drop in a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org