Homestay Review – The White Peaks, Gagar

DSC_0927I have always been fascinated by the hills. Utterly mesmeric, these million years old creations have a magnetic power over everyone.Combining that with the travel bug that I have always had I looked forward to a few days of complete tranquility at a beautiful homestay, The White Peaks situated in Gagar, Uttarakhand.

My maiden trip to this remote town was a memorable voyage of spellbinding beauty and peace (as the photos reveal!).

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The hills were therapeutic and in my head, the trip almost like a visit to a monastery as I experienced peace and blissful contentment like never before. Though I love my work and living in a fast-paced city, but there are times you feel out of breath and you need to get away from it all, take a few deep breaths before you are ready to be hauled back. The White Peaks is those “deep breaths” that one has rightfully earned.the-white-peaks_32616626975_o

At a distance of just over 40 kilometers from Kathgodam is this beautiful little haven of peace and beauty aptly named The White Peaks.My journey to this intriguing little Homestay in the hills began with a train ride which I undertook from Delhi to Kathgodam.

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I boarded the train from Delhi at 6 in the morning and reached Kathgodam before noon. A cab driver came to pick me up there and it took us around an hour and a half to get to The White Peaks. 

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White Peaks is surrounded by lush greenery and snow on all sides.The climb is a long way up but once you’re at your destination, the breathtaking view totally compensates for the exhaustion of the journey.

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On a clear day, you can see the entire Himalayan mountain range with snow covered peaks that are picture perfect. The owners of the villa -Aparupa Ray Ganguly and Abhijit Ganguly have full time jobs in the city and The White Peaks is their vacation home. However, since this place is always booked solid they don’t get much time at their villa. 

We are often so overwhelmed by the frenzied pace of life in the city that we forget to value the beauty of nature and all its precious gifts. The cottage is an ideal place to rediscover the little joys of life.

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There isn’t any internet which was welcome change for me. I could only use the internet in my phone.This meant that I cut down significantly on my surfing time and focussed instead on savoring a cup of tea, enjoying nature and cosying up next to the fireplace with a good read.It was a delightful little break away from monotony where I was finally able to do all the things I hadn’t done in a long time. I felt rejuvenated and literally like a new version of myself with each day.the-white-peaks_32575665396_o

After a recent makeover, the villa’s refurbished wooden floors, fireplace, balcony and grand verandah are artistically designed to create the perfect ambiance.  On offer are panoramic views of hills and Himalayan peaks, tranquility and soulful home cooking.

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And how can I forget Mohan? The caretaker of the villa is a bright young man who can whip up some rather scrumptious meals. The fresh produce from Aparupa’s farms is used to prepare some meals at the villa. On the first day, we had a saag which was just healthy and full of flavor. I was amazed at how content and totally delighted my senses felt after my first bite of the saag dish. Absolutely loved it. 

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Day two at the villa started with a visit to their farming estate. Apart from being a luxurious way to spend a holiday in a traditional home in the shadow of the hills, the real highlight is the owner’s warm hospitality and the ambrosial local cuisine made using the estate’s freshly grown organic vegetables. It is also a rather unique and interesting place with a multitude of spots to snap up that Instagram-worthy shot.

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I love how every part of the villa has been carefully thought out and meticulously planned. It has a huge collection of books, paintings, sketches and trinkets that add charm to this lovely property.The entire stay at White Peaks with its heartwarming endeavor to make every day memorable has left me with so many cherished memories and stories to tell.

As the great explorer Ibn Batuta once said – “Traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” A stay at the White Peaks and its warm hospitality do leave you speechless and the  immensely beautiful surroundings imprint a thousand tales to regale with.

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