Mystical monsoon visit to Nahan, Paonta Sahib, and Dakpatthar – Part I

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.

Masala dosas for the children

Masala dosas for the children

Photography at Haveli

Photography at Haveli

Haveli Gardens

Haveli Gardens

Children having too much fun

Children having too much fun

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.

At the lawn and the white clouds beyond

At the lawn and the white clouds beyond

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.

First day lunch at Grand View

First day lunch at Grand View

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.

Golmaal 3 in the evening

Golmaal 3 in the evening

Elaborate dinner

Elaborate dinner

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.

The smoky mountains with the Grand View at the backdrop

The smoky mountains with the Grand View at the backdrop

Grand View with 4 star facilities

Grand View with 4 star facilities

A beautiful waterfall on our way to Renukaji

A beautiful waterfall on our way to Renukaji

Renukaji Lake with pretty pink lotus blossoms

Renukaji Lake with pretty pink lotus blossoms

The pet fishes squirming and wriggling

The pet fishes squirming and wriggling

Fish feeding frenzy

Fish feeding frenzy

The big slimy fish eyeing the morsel

The big slimy fish eyeing the morsel

The huge lazy turtle lured out of water with a piece of inviting rusk

The huge lazy turtle lured out of water with a piece of inviting rusk

Some trinket shopping by the lake side

Some trinket shopping by the lake side

A big white mushroom on the wet brown tree trunk

A big white mushroom on the wet brown tree trunk

Ball game in the cool blue pool

Ball game in the cool blue pool

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.

Mingling with other groups, picked up a sweet baby from among several running around

Mingling with other groups, picked up a sweet baby from among several running around

Evening game of musical chair

Evening game of musical chair

Spoon and lemon race for the kids

Spoon and lemon race for the kids

Spoon and lemon race for the ladies too

Spoon and lemon race for the ladies too

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.

Next day morning we got ready amidst a heavy downpour

Next day morning we got ready amidst a heavy downpour

The manicured resort gardens among the rain and haze

The manicured resort gardens among the rain and haze

A glimpse from the resort

A glimpse from the resort

Cloud shroud just before leaving this magical monsoon palace

Cloud shroud just before leaving this magical monsoon palace

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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17 Comments

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome back, Bidisha. Enjoyed your vivid narration of your stay in the lovely resort. The pics were lovely and your description of the food made me hungry even though I have just had my dinner.

    Please excuse me for expressing a contrarian opinion but I didn’t quite see the point in watching movies which one could easily have watched at a multiplex back home, that too, in the garden. The movies could well have been shown indoors instead of in the open shattering the blissful silence of the night. One goes to places like Nahan to enjoy the peace and quiet of a secluded place and enjoy a spiritual communion with nature.

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks DL for you valuable inputs. But I can’t deny that the people out there thoroughly enjoyed the movie in the company of so many other co-ghumakkars and laughed and giggled all through. It was not the film but the ambiance that added to the fun :).

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Very good description and nice photos. For Goalmal 3, I just remember my childhood when we enjoyed movies outdoor in a club sitting on ground. But now last year I saw a movie in hall after seven years, and on TV can see for few minutes then Channel changed. Taste changed according to age.
    Thanks a lot for share wonderful journey.

  • Wondeful description of the resort, Bidisha. Yes, travelling hills during monsoon is dangerous to some extent, but it also has it’s own share of joy.

    Though I completely agree with DL regarding the evening show (and please don’t mind), but it also reminds me one of my school days…once my school had arranged to show a Bengali cinema ‘Atithi’ (written by Rabindra Nath Tagore) in a big screen in the lawn. I still remember the same – it had a huge impact to those young souls…

    Look forward to your next part, regards,

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Never have been to Nahan & Renuka Lake but visiting Ponta Sahib & Dak Pathar since our child hood time. as I belong to Dehradun.

    If you are going towards Dak Pathar on the way you can visit Asan Barraige where Garhwal Tourism conduct water sports , one can enjoy boating also

    • Bidisha says:

      Do try and visit Nahan at the next best opportunity. I am sure you people will really like the peace and solitude.

      I guess we missed Asan Barrage.

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Bidisha,

    A very well described post on visit to Nahan. Grand View looks alluring. Pics including the food pics and Renukaji lake activities are very interesting.

    Thoroughly enjoyed your elaborate description of the environs, it is as good as it gets.

    Nahan/ Renukaji are yet be part of our Himalayan itineraries. After reading this post, the place appears to be a doable weekend stuff.

    Map indicates an eastward turn from Ambala. Where is this T point situated ? And route to Renukaji, is it same route via Nahan ? How long did you take from Ambala T-point to Nahan ?

    Thanks again,

    Auro.

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Aurojit.

      The right turn would come just after crossing Haveli, Karnal. We have tried 3 different routes to Nahan actually. One was through Ambala. It would take approx 3 hours from the turn through Shahbad till Nahan.

      It is very much a relaxing weekend (self-drive) getaway.

  • Good post Bidisha. Thought of spending few days in a resort also came to my mind many times but could not be executed till now. Every time it is overridden by a complete visit to any hill station, city etc. Let’s see…

  • Biswajit Ganguly says:

    Dear Bidisha,
    I thought the next post will be of Kerala sojourn, which is due in November this year. I am eagerly waiting for your post for that wonderland. Nahan, Renukaji are no more unknown places for any of the Ghumakkars after going through your most memorable, compact and covering all aspect post. On top of it the selection of photographs is remarkable because in their absence we would have missed the real charm of the place you have otherwise described so well. Every incidence, activity whether description of food, garden, visit to Renukaji, pool game, evening strolls, playing games no more seen in our hectic city life and watching light funny movies on the lawns (not seen for long long time) gives completeness to the write up. One cannot expect a better, joyful and memorable sketch of these two beautiful places.
    Thanks once again Bidisha for taking us all to a new horizon of travel experience.

    • Bidisha says:

      Thanks Biswajit for your profuse praises. Your words will definitely be an inspiration for me to travel more and write better.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    What a detailed narrative Bidisha. I would imagine that you did enjoy writing this, at a leisurely pace, reliving each moment one more time. :-)

    I visited this place few years back, for a few hours. We were staying at Paonta at a friend’s place and stole sometime during the day and it was lovely having the bubbly during a winter afternoon. :-). Paonta Sahib is another closeby place.

    @ Auro – There are probably 10 routes to go to this place. For some reason, for every trip to Paonta which we made (5-8), we ended up taking a new route. The cut after Liberty Chowk, Karnal is one of the prominent ones and good enough roads.

  • Debosmita says:

    Nice table of content with detailed information along with pictures. It gives glimpse of most of the places to visit in Nahan, which is a small town in Himachal Pradesh. Since it has a pleasant climate throughout the year and is an ideal vacation spot.

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