As I pen down this post, Himachal Pradesh is experiencing torrential rains which have swept away bridges, buildings and roads in the entire state since the beginning of July 2023. There is massive flooding with the rivers crossing danger marks and wrecking havoc all over the landscape. Travel advisory for the state have been issued with alerts for more rains predicted in the coming days.
Taking advantage of a low work spell, I planned a short getaway to Dharamshala and Mcleodganj in the nearby state of Himachal Pradesh. I opted to drive down since its a five and a half hour drive from Jammu. But the rainy day and the road building activities throughout the journey made me regret doing so 🙁
Though driving in the rains is generally fun but not when one is being splashed by dirty water from all sides and having to brave huge potholes and under construction stretches of the highway. I was finally glad to arrive at the gorgeous home stay being managed by one of my friends, Sonalini in Khaniyara near Dharamshala.
We were ushered to this really charming room on the first floor with a huge balcony with a windswept view of snow covered peaks and a gushing brook splashing playfully on rocks and crevices. The first floor comprises of a kitchen, dining area, one bedroom with attached bath and one with a common toilet. The floor has open verandahs on almost all sides, making it an airy and light filled space.
The entire home stay has been planned with great care and detail and made for a very pleasing stay. The huge penthouse suite on the top floor with even more lovely views of the valley all around was the wow factor of this homestay. There is a lovely garden on the ground floor which is accessible to the guests and makes for a beautiful spot to enjoy a cup of tea, listening to the brook gurgle by. We were bowled over by the wi-fi connectivity here and it made our work from home stay absolutely perfect.
Daily breakfast was cooked to perfection by Sonalini and I ended up sampling the poha (flattened rice flakes), cheese sandwiches, masala omlette and upma ( semolina dish) along with loads of seasonal fresh fruits. The kitchen utility attached with the unit was replenished with plenty of tea and coffee options plus a host of soft beverages in the fridge. There are also a large number of small eateries around and some great food delivery services. Perfect for a long getaway plan.
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Attractions nearby Dharamshala
The river flowing parallel to the road makes for a calming sight and I enjoyed my daily morning walks a lot. There are plenty of gorgeous spots within easy driving distance from the homestay.
- Norbulingka Institute is about 10 mts by car and is a must-visit place to observe the preservation of Tibetan arts and culture
- Palampur tea gardens are about 2 hours drive away from Dharamshala and can be an incredible experience to take back
- The Dalai Lama temple in Mcleodganj should not be missed and is about a 45 mts drive from Khaniyara
- One can take the ropeway from Dharamshala to reach Mcledoganj in the most unique way
- Some delicious and lip smacking cuisine is available all around in this area and should not be missed
- Do try visit the Andretta Pottery village which is about a 30 minutes drive from Palampur
- Do visit The Fat Teapot near the homestay for some amazing cookies and cakes which is our hostess’s baby
I had an amazing time shopping for stuff during this trip and here is my list of things one should not miss picking up.
- Teas from the various local tea estate shops
- Loban and other kind of incense
- Hand knitted caps, mufflers and other items
- Hand painted postcards with Tibetan influences
- Uniquely crafted pottery items from Andretta
One can get in touch with Sonalini to make inquiries about a stay. Her number is +91.9818685686
Location: 5/5 stars
Hospitality: 5/5 stars
Accommodation: 5/5 stars
Food: 5/5 stars
Value for money: 5/5 stars
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