This time it was the resort more than the place that formed the centre of attraction of our four-day trip over an extended weekend. The Grand View Resort, Nahan, actually located in Jamta was our first scheduled destination and formed the main attraction. Two families comprising four adults and 2 kids aged 4 and 9 and a white Honda City, formed the team around whom the travel story revolves. The first two days were planned in Grand View. We had chosen our destination keeping in mind the Indian monsoons. It was August 17, 2012 and peak monsoons prevailed in the Northern hills. We had always preached fellow ghumakkars to avoid the Himalayas during monsoon as the roads become extremely treacherous with frequent landslides and flash floods. And self-driving was not at all recommended. But the heat of the plains coupled with the budget constraint of a flight travel and of course time constraint due to ongoing schools and offices, but overall the lure of Grand View made this imminent tour inescapable. The Grand View package was booked a month in advance at INR 8,800 per couple on twin sharing basis for two nights and two days, inclusive of bed tea, breakfast and dinner. It was one of the very few hotels in the Himalayas with a swimming pool.
Early morning on the 17th of August, Friday we started our trip. The elders skipped their offices and the children missed their schools. The very enthusiastic parents along with even more enthusiastic kids started off at 5.30 in the morning with a plan to reach Jamta by afternoon and were determined not to let the day go waste. The resort management had considerately provided us a detailed route to follow from Delhi, the best and the shortest. We followed the route via Sohna and Panipat, then took a right just after reaching Karnal immediately after the Haveli restaurant and followed the straight road to Nahan. The entire route can be chalked as under.
G. Noida -> Delhi -> Karnal -> Shahbad -> Saha -> Shezadpur -> Kala Amb -> Nahan -> Jamta
Haveli was our chosen destination to have our elaborate breakfast. We had reached Haveli around 9.30 and our already growling stomachs looked forward to a chatpata Indian breakfast. They did not take much time in serving our orders. We stuffed ourselves with steaming hot masala dosa, sandwich dhoklas, grilled sandwiches, cold drinks and hot steaming cups of teas. Food was tasty and to our expectations. Haveli had a nice courtyard with several gift shops. We spent some time clicking and posing with the various folk statues and village scene that was depicted in the Haveli courtyard.
In about 1.5 hours, we winded up and resumed our quest for Nahan Grand View. Grand View option was actually in the cards since last year when we had made a brief passing halt while on our Renukaji trip and had set our hearts to come back and spend a couple of days at Grand View. Unfortunately, the resort could not provide us accommodation then claiming a ‘house full’ when we had approached them while on our return journey from Renukaji. As we entered the resort, the first view of the manicured lawns and the visitors lazing on the garden chairs basking in the mild monsoon sun set our hearts at peace immediately. Hungry mortal souls as we were, very soon we shifted our focus to lunch before deciding to further explore the resort. It was around 1.30 p.m. and we were well in time for our lunch.
The resort employees politely greeted us at the reception and offered us our welcome drinks. We collected our keys and hurriedly proceeded to have a look at our temporary abodes and intended to quickly dump our luggage and freshen up and hit the grassy lawn with the plenty of sunshine and gorgeous view. The rooms were airy, spacious, and clean but were not among the premium rooms of the resort either overlooking the pool or the green, grassy lawn beyond which stretches the faded blue mountains, smoky and mysterious half hidden behind the wispy white bellowing monsoon clouds. If you desire to get the best, book well in advance, especially when it is a long weekend.
We took our shower and hurriedly got ready and gathered in the lawn. The afternoon was moist and warm. The sun was playing hide and seek behind the white fluffy bunches of floating clouds. We enjoyed at leisure planning out the rest of the day and the day after. Delicious wafts of aroma floated down from the kitchen making us feel real hungry and we decided to have our lunch. We felt we were hungry enough to taste and devour at least 10 different recipes on offer. The lunch was extremely elaborate with a mix of Indian and Chinese, veg and non-veg. We ate till we could eat no more and after finishing our lunch strolled by on the pool side trying to absorb what we had consumed till we were too sleepy to keep our eyes open. A nap of a couple of hours was what we needed most in that hour. Scurrying back into our temporary nests we had a nice cool undisturbed sleep till around 5 p.m.
When we reclaimed our positions on the gardens chairs in the evening, the resort seemed to be a bustling potpourri of crowded and enthusiastic tourists of all ages and communities. We decided to explore the resort and discovered that they had a massage and sauna and jacuzzi parlour, the visit to which we postponed till the next day. Next we showed up in the TT room and played some. Then we decided to go for some billiards. All four of us were first timers and we had to be taught before we could begin. The liquid blue swimming pool was inviting enough but it was already 6 and unfortunately the pool had closed down. By the time we came back to the resort garden, we could find the various groups comfortably settled in rounded garden tables with beer, cards, whisky, chatpata snacks, mellowed conversations, sporadic laughters and occasional giggles.
The darkness thickened all around and the moist air became cooler. We spend some lovely moments playing Uno cards while gorging on some French fries and pakoras with tea and coffee. It was around 7.30 when the resort management made some arrangements and a big white screen was readied. Pretty soon the music system and the laptop and the projectors were fixed and Golmaal 3 started being screened to everyone’s delight. The children had already befriended some other kids and were having their own share of fun and games. When the movie started, everyone settled and started watching the movie with extreme concentration. The movie show added spice to the already scented evening of the guests flavoured with the heaviness of the clouds of the silent night that could be felt all around but could not be seen. Even before the movie was over, the buffet dinner was ready and waiters politely invited the (absorbed) guests to approach the dining hall and attack their share. Dinner was a lavish 7 to 10 course meal, delicious and not too spicy. After finishing off our dinner, we called it a day and retired to have our quota of sleep to get rejuvenated for the next few remaining days of the trip.
Day 2 started early at around 7.30 in the morning. The clouds had created a surreal atmosphere all around and the grass was damp and fresh from the night’s rain. We had our breakfast and decided to step up and go for some sight-seeing. Renukaji Lake was around 35 kms from Grand View. It undeniably has its own attraction enough to please a ghumakkar’s roaming heart with its hundreds of hungry squirming moss covered fishes and the giant equally mossy turtle, the serene lake, the solitary HPTDC Hotel, the Parashuram and Renukajee Temples, the majestic lion in netted confines, the coal-black bears in a cemented peat, the water birds, very few stray tourists and the peacefulness and serenity of the nature without any commercialization (to know more about Renukaji please visit the link http://www.ghumakkar.com/2012/04/11/ghumakkar-inspired-trip-to-renukaji/).
We enjoyed the day feeding the fishes, having cold drinks, mountain-flavoured maggis and Himachali bottled juices. Even the Lays wafers tasted more spicy and delicious sitting by the lakeside in harmony with nature. We moved off from Renukaji back to the resort at around 4 in the evening. We had promised the kiddos to let them have fun in the swimming pool that day. So we kept our promise and at around 5 we were all in the pool waters. One among us decided not to take the plunge. Two of the remaining had their teeth chattering in minutes and pulled out of the cool waters and dried themselves up and sat by the inclined chairs by the pool side clicking photos and munching snacks. The rest three of us enjoyed in the waters with each exhibiting what all he or she can do in 4 feet of shallow blue waters. It was a wet and fun time. After that, we decided to settle for a water game of balls and really started enjoying. It was after an hour of exhausting water games that we reluctantly emerged out and receded into out rooms to get ready for the evening.
At 6.30 when we joined the even more crowded front lawn of Grand View, we realized it would be an interesting evening. The resort manager was approaching each group seated in scattered clusters to brief them up on a number of events that were lined up to make the evening even more exciting. The show started with a musical chair round, which I won and made me enthusiastic enough to participate in all the rest of the events. There were spoon and lemon race for men, women and children, simple 100 meter sprint for children, the romantic paper dance for couples and was rounded up with a round of tambola. Prizes were distributed and the activities gave a chance to the guests to mingle across their own groups. It was then time for the evening movie and the same giant screen and projector showed Ferrari ki Sawari. Young and old settled with their movie or their drinks or their cards or all three in the same patternless clusters. The clouds thickened outside and the air smelled of rains. The darkness got smudged with the settling white misty clouds. The blinking and the twinkling lights of the mountains yonder became hazier. Some even faded as the clouds gathered and pulled a smoky white sheet on the face of earth.
Even while the movie was going on, at around 9 we decided to dine. We had our elaborate delicious multiple course dinner completed with salad, papad and a sweet dish and contentedly sat for a while taking in as much of the nature and its aura as possible as it was our last night in the resort.
Next day morning, Day 3, started off with a wild pouring rains. Intermittently, when the Rain God seemed to have become a bit weary and softened the intensity of the downpour to smaller and scantier drops, we took a round of the rain-washed outskirts of the resort. But a look up above in the sky at the over-burdened cloud mounds, we knew it might start raining heavily any minute and so did not venture far and also had thoughtfully equipped ourselves with umbrellas. Everything looked so fresh and green early in the morning. The leaves were dripping wet and glistening with droplets of rain water hanging from their edges. The rains seemed to have breathed a fresh lease of life to the flora and fauna. The soothing green along with the magical translucent white of the clouds kissing the rain-washed and soaked earth had cast its spell on us. We captured the beauty and saved in our heart and mind’s eyes. Eventually, the call of the other destinations yet to be cherished forced us to retrace our steps to our rooms to pack our stuff and have our breakfast before we checked out of Grand View.
The stay was immensely relaxing and the monsoon beauty was mesmerizing. The happy smiling faces of the resort keepers, the waiters, the cordial reception and the khatirdaari of the resort manager were all making it difficult for us to say the final goodbye. But the thought of all the other attractions waiting in line, the constant hunger to set eyes and foot on places yet uncharted in the personal map led us on further in our journey and helped us wave the final goodbye to Grand View, Nahan.
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