a sense of deja vu, as soon as we stepped into the darang tea estate we knew we were home, our journey that started out with an almost missed train, the missed train, all the ingredients of a "sholay" packed into an overnight journey from delhi, we stepped into the warmth and friendly atmosphere created by neeru and naveen bhandari. not just neeru and naveen but navin's mother and sister binita made an indelible impression on us,the cynical and worldly mumbaikars.
the circle was completed with the labradors - the irrepressible laila and brandy the pug who exploded into action for late evening snack of biscuits doled out by naveen.
the shopping at macleod gunj - the visit to kangra fort - the breathtaking landscape freshly washed by the monsoon rains.
the evening chat livened up with songs and ghazals the atmosphere enhanced the performance of our own singing duo seema & prabhakar,
the food was awesome, the homemade jams and the desert with farm fresh self picked fruits from the trees in the orchard being the "icing on the cake"
to top it all meeting naveen's extended family made for an unforgettable holiday, so much so that while leaving it felt more like we were not saying goodbye as guests but leaving as members of a family after a short visit - it was a bollywood experience we felt we were family meeting having been separated twenty years ago at th khumb mela,
it even prompted me to do a few pencil sketches after nearly thirty decades,
like the terminator - dear bhandaris - "we shall be back"
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Darang Tea Estate is a family owned Estate which is over 150 years old and one of the first plantations to be planted by an Indian. A self-contained estate in the beautiful pristine hills of Himachal Pradesh. It consists of cottages framed by 70 acres of estate-owned land. The Estate is just 45 minutes drive from Mcleodgang and 20 minutes fromPalampur. The cottages have a direct view of the snow covered himalayas. Our homestay is featured in on Conde Nast Traveller :-) ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Darang Tea Estate Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India