Saturday 30 April 2016

In the Lap of Nature – Himachal Heritage Village Palampur

Some days back the Travel Correspondents and Bloggers Group invited me to visit the Palampur area of Himachal so I accepted the invite immediately. It is another thing that due to office work I was unsure of going till the evening of the previous day.

Himachal Heritage Village with Dhauladhar Mountains in the background

I am currently located in Sanghol and from here it was showing 250 kms journey. I decided to go by my own car and left at five in the morning and landed in Palampur at 10. The place, Thala Kandi, where I was to stay was five kms from the town up the valley near Neugal Khad (rivulet). When I reached the Himachal Heritage Village I was amazed to see almost the whole of Himachal, architecture wise, located at one place with the Dhauladhar Mountains providing a beautiful backdrop. As of now there are five buildings and all of them have different architecture representing different regions/villages/towns of Himachal. Four of these are residential buildings for the guests. Una, Kangra, Barot and Khaniara style houses represent these areas while the dining area and office building is made in the Kinnaur style.

The bedroom at the Una House, Himachal Heritage Village

On the first day I stayed in the Una style house which is made completely of sun dried mud bricks and no cement has been used in its construction. The windows are beautifully carved and painted and the roof is made of bamboo whereas the floor is made of mud. Though the basic structure is made of mud but all modern amenities have been provided inside including glass enclosed shower area etc.

The chullah at Una house, also observe the old style switchboards

The first floor where I stayed also had a traditional chullah (earthen fireplace for cooking) for ambiance. The room made of traditional material was cosy and warm and I could sleep in only one blanket comfortably. The management has taken extra pains to ensure that the look of the building reminds one of the old days for example they had to secure the old style switchboards which are no longer used from Old Delhi.

Bonfire at Himachal Heritage Village

In the evening we all sat together with the bonfire giving us warmth and the stars for company as we watched the moon rise above the hills. One can sit for hours in such a beautiful setting!

The dining hall is built in Kinnauri style

After spending a wonderful evening under the stars we all went in the dining hall which has been made as per the architecture of the kinnaur region.

Traditional Kangra food being eaten in Himachli style 

The dinner was a local Himchali affair served on the floor in Pattal (plate made of leaves) and to be eaten with hands. The food was fantastic and truly prepared in the Hiamchali style. I especially liked their Khatta Maas. I am told that they serve the Himachali food at least once to all the guests.
HImachal Heritage Village, Palampur

The next day I had the full attention of the person behind the concept Mr Hem Dogra who narrated to me how they have brought the water from 500 meters away to form a pond as well as creating a waterfall. The project started in 2011 and took four years of painstaking work and skilled labour to make the houses in real traditional style. Nowadays most people even in the hills make concrete cement houses and it is difficult to find skilled labour to make such houses now.

Khaniara style house at the Himachal Heritage Village

The second day I shifted to the Khaniara house so that I can experience it as well. Unlike the Una style this is made completely of stone found in Khaniara near Dharamshala (and that is why the name).

My bedroom in the Khaniara house

Again like the Una house no cement has been used in this house as well. The floor however is made of wooden planks. The bathroom in Khaniara house is luxurious with even a cascading waterfall inside!

The bathroom in the Khaniara house

There are plenty of options to spend your time here. One can go on short or long hikes. There is a naturally formed serene pool, a short walk from this place, which gives the impression of a huge tub in the lap of nature. Palampur and its surrounding area is known for its tea gardens, temples, monasteries and paragliding. But about these things I will write in separate posts.

I had a wonderful, though short, stay at the Himachal Heritage Village. I would like to go and stay there for a longer period.

Also read:
McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Himachal
Why I love to go to McLeodganj
Skywatch Friday - Sunset at McLeodganj, Himachal
Places to visit in McLeodganj: Bhagsunag Waterfall
Places to visit in McLeodganj: The Church of St John-in-the-Wilderness