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Banjara Camp & Retreat - Sangla Valley Camp
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Reviewed July 16, 2012

Battling a 12-hour journey through breathtaking twists and turns with a 'bonus' 2-hour stretch on the battered and dusty NH-22 (courtesy the Jaypee Hydel Project), a sneak peak from the height finally lit us up.

Couched cozily in a 360 degree himalayan nest of mountains is the string of camps bordered by apple orchards and a plethora of flora and fauna, bordering itself an icy, rumbling river Baspa - welcome to the Banjara Camp and Retreat at Sangla, a magnificent locale just 31 kms before the last Indian village en-route Tibet.

Widespread though the property is, its USP is still the stillness of its surroundings. The rustic charm of wilderness pervades through product and service, gazed down upon by the towering Mt. Kinner Kailash and washed clean by the roar of the glacier melted Baspa.

The property with its concept of openness - camps with curtains for doors, bonfire and open barbecue, idling hammocks to sway'n'soothe your nerves - all to recreate the ambiance to help miss our concrete jungle cities.

Then there is Sonu-the versatile manager. He talks into your needs through casual gossip but takes care of every bit, from your packed lunches to itinerary planning - I like to call him geo-Sonu for his sheer knowledge of this little-known geography of tourism.

If you're in the camps, don't shy from insects, we had our share of fright by a monstrous spider inside our otherwise cozy heated bed. Of course, the housekeeping boy was just a shriek away, who merrily captured his prized possession live and carried it out inside his pocket.

One of my few grudges though - the camp ought to stop advertising their non-existent 'activities' - biking, river-crossing, angling....otherwise great all in all but not more than 1 full day!

Room Tip: The basic tents are truly 'basic', opt for the Dlx ones instead...those that are closer to the river.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank KK-India
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2012

I traveled to Sangal with wife and daughter of 3 years and stayed at Banjara Camps. The camp site is approximately 5 Kms outside Sangla towards Chitkul and then 2 Kms of downhill road. The road from Karcham to Sangla is really bad and dusty but once you reach the camp site, the swiss style view takes away the pain of travel to this location. The camps are in valley surronded by lush green trees and river flowing around. We stayed in a tent with all modern facilities. The toilets have hot and clod running water throught. In the camp area there are multiple options for adventure activities and river flows adjecent to the camps. The flow of river is very fast and water was chilling even in June. Room/tent rent includes all meals, morning and evening tea. Kitchen staff makes excellent dishes. In the evening a bonfire is arranged and one can order barbeque (not included in the rent). Tea/coffee makers are available in the common area and each tent also has a electric socket to charge battery of camera/mobile phones. Though this seems to be costly option but it is value for money and worth every penney. Team at Banjara also arranges trekking at additional cost.

Room Tip: Opt for tents rather than rooms as they provide the best experience.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank AdityaGarg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2012

The whole property is managed very well. Consult with Shatlendu (Sonu), who manages the place, on what you plan to do and the things are taken care the very next day. Right from informing your driver to packing your lunch and having it ready in the car, all is done without bothering you. All your care is about waking up, having a hearty breakfast ... and hit the road. During our trek, we were pleasantly surprised to find scrumptious lunch packed for us. It was amazing to be in the midst of snow capped mountains next to a stream of crystal water to sit for a picnic. The snowing peaks was a heavenly treat to the eyes with the image of fine sugar being iced onto the mountain peaks. The cherry on top to the whole setting was the locally bottled apple juice that was packed along with the lunch. The fresh chilled air, the flowing Baspa surrounded by chirping birds a midst the mountains, and the taste of fresh apple juice lingering in the mouth was a treat to the senses.
It was all about the location and more so for the consideration for the finer details, the simple yet well done lounge with locally done paintings and the pictures highlighting the region, to the unlimited snacks on offer, to the pickled apples and jams, to the children's play area, to the wood heater, to the unlimited supply of indoor games, magazines, a detailed book on the trek routes from the region, to the apple trees, to the eco-friendly soaps at the camp, and the list goes on......that made our stay at Banjara camps and retreat an unforgettable experience.

The only difficult part to the experience was the long journey along the Sutlej-Baspa, regularly dotted with MW's of hydroelectric projects and quarries and its trail of damaged ecology all along the way giving a bitter-sweet image of a growing Indian economy.

Room Tip: Choose your stay depending on the climate, when its cold out side choose the retreat (rooms), otherwise hit the outdoors with the camps (tents).
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank ranjukj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

We came to Banjara camps from Soja where we were also staying at Banjara camps . There the hospitality was great and we found the staff to be very friendly. We reached sangla and stayed at Baikunt hotel which was not nice . Then we came to Banjara camps in Sangla where there were a lot of activities and the rooms were spacious and homely . But then when our children were playing basketball and cricket with the hotel's property owner's kids , my son asked one of the kids if he could ride their bicycle which was standing right there and the child allowed him to ride it , soon after , the property owner's wife , that was also the kids mom scolded my son and said " you are not supposed to ride this cycle , go and keep it there!" very rudely. I found this ridiculous .
The hospitality compared to Soja is pathetic but food and rooms are decent.

Room Tip: The tents are not as good as the suites . The tents are very cold so I would not suggest them
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Akbrtt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2012

We drove into Banjara Camp after sundown in early April, grabbed a warm meal and crashed for the night, with little thought given to what the following day would look like. The morning brought alive a valley that was least expected - tall peaks on either side of this well-groomed lodge nesting inside an Apple Orchard, with stream gurgling nearby and crisp air welcoming all. It reminded us a lot of Zion National Park in the US, now with snow capped peaks and crisper air.
We were here 4nts, and had a wonderful stay.
Activities - did 3 walks -
1. Rakcham (through valleys, forrests and glaciers, downhill 1-way was easier with kids)
2. drive to Chitkul and walk to the border post, walking along the river was fun
3. walk through Batseri village to a nearby glacier
- we would have liked to walk to Sangla Meadows, but with kids it would be strenous so we skipped this.
The service, home-made meals, well appointed rooms, all make for a wonderful stay.
2 nts it rained in the evenings, so the next morning we saw snow on many of the lower peaks which were brown the previous day - quite mesmerising how nature changes the sights around you.

Tips -
* while Apr is a good time for snow/glacier, July/Aug would be best for flowers and greenery.
* the drive to Sangla is winding & long, good to take a break at Narkhanda or Thanedar (midway from Chandigarh). Take plenty of stops and soak in the villages along the way.
* Layered clothing is best for the cold, rather than 1 thick jacket.
*

Room Tip: 1st floor rooms better than gnd flr ones. The veiw from the room balconies is great. Loft rooms are nice, but the stairs to the loft are very steep.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank huzefac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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