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“Dunagiri Retreat - (beyond 5 star) - perfect for me” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dunagiri Retreat

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Dunagiri Retreat
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Dunagiri, Ranikhet 110030, India   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 23 Ranikhet B&B and Inns
Tallahassee, Florida, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Dunagiri Retreat - (beyond 5 star) - perfect for me”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

Ten days was too short a stay. I could have spent a month, and hope to do so another year. Where to begin describing how special Dunagiri Retreat is? I wanted silence and solitude for a spiritual retreat in the holy Himalayas. Here I found the perfect hermitage for my sadhana.

Location. Architecture. Original art. These three play together exquisitely. The five elements: earth, water, fire, air, akasha; ground and center harmoniously in the building, the room and the place. Although alone, I felt safe and undisturbed. Panditji, Giriji and the rest of the staff took care of me like a respected elder in their family. Overwhelmed with gratitude for their kindness, I don't begin to know how to thank them. Though I speak no Hindi, they understood and provided all that was needed.

Other guests came and went. There are enough outdoor places to rest, meditate, walk, play, be alone, or meet new friends. I spent much time in mantra, or resting in meditation gazing at the incredible views; snow mountains to the north, rolling Kumaon mountains to the east. I also took the walks to mountain tops, sages, temples and caves. The drivers who took me to the trails, and the guides who walked with me were great.

Never miss the dawn. Be out there to see the sunrise. Pandiji brings chai. The sky brightens, waves of mountains stretch before the eyes. Peace settles in the soul, and all makes sense again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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47 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Mumbai (Bombay), India
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

Dunagiri is an extremely green and serene place and provides excellent options for jungle walks and treks.The place also has a lot of historical and religious importance attached to it.Dunagiri Retreat with its cosy cottages and food that tastes just like home food, is the sole retreat in the area.I lived here for two days with my family and it was a completely different and a nourishing experience.Also one must know this place is not a typical commercial hotel/ resort.Only guests who can appreciate and care for natures beauty and are spiritually inclined should visit this place.They dont entertain any walk-ins.One must also understand that this retreat was build with the aim of generating employement and sustaining lives of people of the village.All the raw materials for construction and the man power have been sourced from the village itself.It is no less of a social organisation working for the welfare of the people.
Thank you very much Piyush and his crew for having us here and for the warm hospitality.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

We have visited a good number of hill stations around the Kumaon/ Garhwal region over the last few years..... Very few places visited thus far comes close to Dunagiri Retreat, for the sense of bliss that we experienced.

The place clearly looks a labour of love of Mr.Piyush. He has developed the place more as a large home than a commercial resort. Each design/ piece of furniture seems well thought through, keeping in mind the guests that he would have. He is the epitome of the Indian belief of Athithi Devobhava.... The same thought seems to be imbibed in his assistants as well. Panditji and his hospitality is something words can't express sufficiently. It needs to be experienced. Giriji assists him very ably and seems always ready with whatever guests want.

We spent a few days in November 2012, my wife and I will always cherish every moment we spent at the lovely place. We hope to return to the Retreat once more in the future.....

Mr.Piyush's initiative in holding morning sessions to help children study and learn Yoga is well appreciated and was a novel experience.

Our sincere thanks to Mr.Piyush and his team for taking such good care of us.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Dunagiri was the last stop of a pilgrimage, made by me and a group of friends from Australia, to a number of sites sacred to SRF/YSS devotees. I cannot thank Piyush and his wonderful crew enough for taking care of us so completely, so sweetly. Dunagiri is simply appointed. Minimalist yet very comfortable. We were two to a room in Trishul cottage and there was plenty of space. The service and cleanliness are excellent, and the service and friendship I experienced were humbling. When Piyush learnt that I can't eat wheat, he had Pandaji and others make roti and puri from buckwheat especially for me (buckwheat is a seed, not a grain). Out of this world! Piyush is a wonderful guide to the local area and was so helpful in our getting around locally. Dunagiri is an ancient and blessed place. I can't wait to go back and meditate there, and climb up to Pandu Kholi again. Or to spend more time with the students at the English language school that Piyush runs for local children. My friends and I each treasure the blessings of our time and Dunagiri. And we're planning our return trip.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

Visit to Dunagiri was a much awaited holiday for my family. After a long wait for nearly four months (booked as early as August 2012), we reached the retreat on December 31st.

We were a large family, by virtue of it literally owned the place. Piyush had already informed that he will not entertain any other guests during our stay. And how much we are grateful to him for that!

The retreat itself was so welcoming with its picturesque and tranquil surrounding. We were put up at the Dunagiri House, the main building and it consisted of four large rooms. The rooms were adequately furnished and were comfortable with no TV (hope it remains the same way), and had natural heaters that burned almost entire day to keep us warm from the cold winter chill outside.

The food was a revelation, had some initial concern since it was an all veg fare, but the tasty and hot food, was really good.

There is not much to do in Dunagiri yet there is ample opportunity to indulge oneself. Aimless morning walks, soaking in the Sun at the retreat courtyard, star gazing on a full moon night, local stories around a bonfire, the list never really ends.

Words are just not enough for Dunagiri, hence some pics posted too! A big thank you to Panditji, the caretaker and cook, who took out most care of us and of-course to Piyush, who promised us a quiet New Year and delivered on the same. That too with a lot of warmth...

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

Dunagiri found me one cold and dreary afternoon in Manchester. I had been thinking about taking some of my students to India, having visited a beautiful venue in West Bengal for several years, but looking for a change, I thought we would go to the South and perhaps visit my beloved Tamil Nadu.I started thinking about possibilities ..and that was all..because that same day a vision of peace and absolute authenticity appeared to me....where?..of all places on my facebook wall!!
I immediately investigated and knew that this was where I must go with my students. As a long time Indiaphile and yoga teacher I am always keen to make sure that my yoga adventures give my students an authentic view of the part of India we are visiting, and I also like to know that we are giving something back.
I couldn't have imagined what an absolute dream this would be! From my first contact with Piyush( an angel on earth!!) everything went smoothly, our transactions were clear and uncomplicated, he even helped me get some bolsters made as I teach therapeutic yoga, and provided blankets for me too.I didn't have to worry about anything and all arrangements were made for travel to and from Dunagiri.
From the first moment we arrived at this blessed place we were welcomed with such sincere love and respect..from the tilak and flowers to our lovely welcome gifts...it was like coming home.And I felt like I had known Piyush and Dunagiri forever...the extraordinary sacred serenity of this place wraps its spell around you as soon as you arrive and you feel like you never want to leave!!
The Dunagiri family is beautiful..Manoj.Gopal, Panditji,Kailashgiri and Vairinder, open hearted, smiling and untainted they carry a purity in their hearts which is palpable all around in the wildness of the Kumaon region.We were indeed treated as God..nothing was too much trouble and I was constantly chided( in a most respectful way!!) by Manoj for lifting tables and chairs!!!
The group of 9 were quite diverse and we had a couple of people ill here and there and our friend Bernd struggled at times with the treks...but everyone was taken care of impeccably.
We shared many amazing experiences..from meeting Dhanvantarigiri Baba at the temple, to seeing a leopard during early morning yoga practice, meditating in Babajis cave and carrying his energy home, to sharing milk with Meenaji and her gorgeous family and having our hearts cracked right open by her kindness.
We had sunset meditation on the ridge and sunrise meditation at Dunagiri, we walked amongst beautiful flowers and carpets of butterflies and shared our outdoor yoga shala with eagles and dogs!! We had the joyous experience of seeing and hearing the local children learning English every morning and their teacher shared her lovely mehendi with us. We nourished our bodies and souls with the most delicious array of sattvic foods and enjoyed bucket baths in the wonderfully designed bathrooms, on cool nights our bhukari stoves were lit and there was always a hot water bottle for my poorly back!!
We were lucky enough to have Prashanti deliver a lecture about Navaratri which enriched experience and understanding of the celebration going on all around and I was very fortunate to be able to share yoga with the Dunagiri family and other guests.The depth and quality of all our experiences here is hard to put into words...and I feel there is so much more I could write about but will save that for my blog!!
Dunagiri really feels like heaven on earth if there could be such a thing and this part of India is so wonderful and spacious.. the silence speaks of eternity and the saints who have gone before and still are there.....we must help to protect it and to ensure that its inhabitants find ways to survive there so that the divinity and purity can continue to bring solace and inspiration to all who are embraced by these kindly mountains.By staying at Dunagiri and supporting Piyush and his "family" you are helping this to become a reality....if only there were more people like Piyush....lets hope the inspiration of Dunagiri is the beginning of a great shift for India and the world..I for one have benefitted from the peace and am spreading the news!!!!
Shanti shanti shantih.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Dunagiri retreat is where one can just be with them selves & the nature. Its a beautiful place surrounded by snow peaked mountains, and a breath taking view. one of the best places you can go to if you want to run away from the chaotic and stressful life of cities. The place brings you really close to the nature...calm, serene and peaceful.. One can enjoy just being with themselves, reading a book, listening to music, enjoy the lovely sunrises and sunsets in the middle of the mountains... or go for some treks around to spot some not so popular but extremely beautiful views of the Himalayas !

The owner of the retreat ; Piyush ji looks into smallest of the things personally, which makes your stay really comfortable. He is the best person to approach for any local treks you want to do. His staff at the retreat beats any staff in a 5 star hotels we come across. They make you feel at home, they come running for any request along with a BIG smile - at any point of the day. whether its 12 mid night during freezing winters of 2 -3 degree C.

P.S. The food is finger licking good - totally organic !!

Overall a super awesome experience !! \m/

Totally recommended for each and everyone.

Room Tip: We stayed in the room called "TRISHUL" - had a lovely view from the room. - specially the...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dunagiri Retreat

Address: Dunagiri, Ranikhet 110030, India
Location: India > Uttarakhand > Ranikhet
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 23 B&Bs / Inns in Ranikhet
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Nature Retreat in a lush hill forest setting overlooking a dramatic rural landscape. At Dunagiri, you are completely in harmony with nature - distances seem infinite and heaven close. Silence speaks in a thousand tongues here - all calm, joyous and serene. Very few places are left on our planet where we can enjoy tourism experiences in such pristine, tranquil and calm environment amidst ancient forests. A spot of stunning natural splendor, being one with nature is easy to do at Dunagiri Nature Retreat. Its greatness lies not merely in its fascinating history and captivating beauty, it is rather the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of this place that strikes the mind and brings peace to the soul. Known by various names such as Drongiri, Dronagiri and Doonagiri - a visit to Dunagiri is a holiday like no other; it is a journey into the innermost recesses of the soul, a re-discovery of the essence of being. Go for nature walks, treks in hills and wilderness, visit Cave of Mahavatar Babaji of Kriya Yoga mentioned in An Autobiography of a Yogi. ... more   less 

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