My drowsy eyes were wide open as the freezing wind caressed my hair. Fresh Apricot and Peach blossoms announced the arrival of the Spring season. The winding road with enchanting views of hills and scattered villages made me feel at home.
The Kumaon region in Uttarakhand holds a special place in my travel journeys as I had started my globetrotter life in this part of India. Therefore, it was nothing less than a homecoming for me.
Time slipped swiftly before I realized that I had already reached my destination. The beautiful 10 minutes walk through the Oak Forest with dotted Rhododendron trees led to my Himalayan abode named Vayu Retreat, a dream-like homestay in Uttarakhand.
Barfee (mountain dog) and her brigade welcomed me right at the gate. The family of eight dogs, or co-owners, as Aparupa Ganguly rightfully said, showered their unconditional love at first sight.
The very first impression of Vayu Retreat was overwhelming. In other words, the freshness around, alluring views of the hills, the silence, and the comfort of being in a home were unprecedented.
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INDULGE IN THE LUXURY OF TRANQUILITY AT VAYU RETREAT
Nestled on the edge of a valley with an unhindered view of the gorgeous hills of Kumaon, Vayu Retreat lets you absorb serenity at peace. The funnel-shaped valley allows air to traverse unobstructed. In addition, the blissful feeling of waking up to the freshness in the air was something I would call a pure luxury. The silence around the property is another highlight for me as it connects you with nature in no time.
Vayu Retreat is not just another homestay in the mountain, it is home to passionate and proud owners, Aparupa & Abhijit Ganguly.
Each corner of the beautiful Himalayan abode reflects its distinctive touch. Whether it is their handpicked artifacts, exquisite aesthetic sense, carefully curated home-cooked food, minimalistic décor in the rooms, or their comprehensive approach to running Vayu Retreat responsibly, everything just speaks exceedingly about their high sense of belongingness and sensitive personalities.
The best part of holidaying at Vayu Retreat is that you do not feel like a guest, unlike other homestays. They make you feel at home instantly. Aparupa, being the perfectionist, makes sure that you are treated extremely well and having the best time at Vayu. Apart from that, the staff at Vayu Retreat is quite hospitable. They leave no stone unturned when it comes to providing top-notch service.
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I had a delightful time watching the captivating sunset from the gazebo while sipping my evening cup of tea.
Imagine watching the sky turning orange in a slow time-lapse with the sound of twittering birds returning to their nests.
The cold breeze travels through your body making you warp the shawl quickly. It was nothing less than magical for me.
MUST HAVE EXPERIENCES
If you want to just relax during your holiday, Vayu Retreat is the perfect place for it. Whether you want to read a book, sit languidly admiring the spectacular views through the window, spend quality time with a bunch of super adorable mountain dogs or just do nothing, the retreat lets you unwind the way you want.
However, if you are a “Pahadi” by heart like me who just loves going for long aimless walks or prefers to strike conversations with random villagers or someone who never minds sitting on the edge of a cliff for no reason, you can do all that easily while holidaying at Vayu Retreat.
MORNING AT THE DECK
Perched at an elevation of almost twenty feet from the ground, The Deck was my most preferred place to have morning tea. The solitude offered to the soul is priceless. The panoramic view of the valleys around scattered Kumaon houses in the hills and fluffy cotton balls like hanging clouds give you the picture-perfect frame to admire.
Sitting under the shade of the “Kaafal” tree, letting the breeze wrap you around, one can spend hours indulging in the luxury of silence.
Taking a walk towards the riverside at the end of the valley is highly recommended. More than anything, meandering your way through the paddy fields, apricot blossoms, and seeing the happy faces of villagers make you appreciate mountain life like anything. The scenic beauty of these remote places is unmatched.
You should ideally start the walk early morning to avoid harsh light. The sound of water was therapeutic to the ears. I loved the peach blossom farm on the other side of the river where we had fresh lime water, especially prepared by the staff of Vayu Retreat.
MEETING THE LOCALS
If anything excites me the most, it is to meet locals on my travels. I find it quite fascinating when I get to meet the local people of that area and indulge in meaningful conversations. On our way back from the riverside, we were stopped by Mrs. Pusha Ji for a cup of tea. It just melts my heart the way they open their door and heart to a stranger.
The warmth in her behavior and outpouring of love just made my day. She made tea for us and insisted that we have lunch as well. The experience of meeting her at her traditional Kumaoni house, spending time talking with her, and looking at her ever-smiling face just made me realize how simplicity and love can conquer everything in life.
HOW TO REACH VAYU RETREAT
Vayu Retreat is located around 350 km from Delhi. It takes approximately 8 hours by road. You can also opt for Kathgodam Shatabdi (from NDLS) express train, which reaches Kathgodam at 11:30 am. From Kathgodam station, it takes 2 hrs by car to reach the retreat.
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