Walking India – New way to discover unexplored areas of India
Throughout India’s varied hill country there is an abundance of delightfully secluded places at which to base yourself for a few days of quiet contemplation or walking in the hills, away from the ‘madding crowds’ of the city. With an excellent climate almost all year round, these small hotels offer travellers a chance to take day walks out into the hills, guided by a friendly member of staff who is an expert on the magnificent range of flora, fauna and wildlife to be found in India. For those who love the great outdoors, nature and big skies, our suggested hotels make an ideal base from which to explore India’s incredible natural scenery, without involving overly strenuous effort.
THE WINDERMERE ESTATE
Beautiful walk through in the Palni Hills of India
The Windermere Estate sits high in the Palni Hills of India, in the middle of the magnificent Western Ghats, in Kerala. This lovely little place comprises rooms and cottages perched on a hilltop, surrounded by cardamom plantations. The 360 degree views are truly awe-inspiring and you often find yourself looking down on the clouds below you, before they get burnt off by the sun to reveal the huge valley below and the distant ring of hills. Friendly staff will take travellers on long walks in the hills or on an exciting walk through the maze of tunnels through their private cardamom estate. Delicious, local cuisine and thirst quenching mint tea awaits travellers on their return from a vigorous and informative walk.
Munnar is accessed by air or road from Kochi or Madurai, and by a 2 – 3 hour drive by road from Thekkady, Kanam, Palakkad or ‘the Backwaters”.
THE KALMATIA SANGAM HIMALAYA RESORT
Cottages in the hillside
Kalmatia Sangam Himalaya Resort lies in the heart of the Kumaon hills, close to the temple town of Almora. At 2000m, this delightful little place to spend a vacation, comprises a collection of individually different but very prettily decorated colonial hillside cottages. It is managed by descendants of the original owners, who take an active part in the running of the property. Travellers who want to explore further, a field two day walks with an overnight stay in a tent or longer walks can also be arranged by your very affable hosts.
Almora is accessed by road from Corbett, Nainital, Binsar, Kausani, Ranikhet or by train to Kathgodam from Delhi, followed by a 3 hour road journey.
Tranquil, isolated retreat in India surrounded by stunning scenery
Palace Kawardha is situated in the state of Chhatisgarh. This tranquil, isolated retreat is surrounded by stunning scenery, the Maikal Hills and tribal lands. Constructed of Italian marble and stone and surrounded by well maintained gardens, it was built in the 1930’s by Maharaja Dharamraj Singh. The Royal Indian family still maintains their residence. Whilst here travellers can venture out on day walks to learn about the cultures of the local tribe, the Baigas. Overnight treks, taking travellers deeper into this fascinating area can also be arranged along with visits to Kawardha town which has someinteresting temples.
Kawardha is accessed by air to Raipur followed by a 3 hour road journey, or by road from Bilaspur, Kanha National Park or Kanker.
TRANQUIL PLANTATION HIDEAWAY
Delightfully unexploited area to travel in holidays
Tranquil Plantation Hideaway on the Kuppamudi Coffee Estate is situated at Sultan Battery, high in the coffee growing area of the Western Ghats of India. It remains a delightfully unexploited area of northern Kerala. This secluded plantation is run by the estate’s Resident Director and his wife who are highly amusing and friendly hosts. The 70 year old plantation bungalow has been beautifully restored and each of the 8 comfortable rooms have been individually decorated. Take leisurely walks high into the hills of India on various different walking routes which are outlined on an ingenious map left in your bedroom. Half way through a walk you may be rewarded with a feast of a picnic awaiting you in some hidden spot and throughout the walk you will have sublime views. Return in the evening for a swim in the pool and a mouth-wateringly delicious dinner.
Tranquil is accessed by road from Tellicherry, Wynad, Ooty, Coorg, Nagarhole and Calicut.
THE GLENBURN TEA ESTATE
A wonderfully cosy & peaceful place
Glenburn Tea Estate lies just an hour from Darjeeling, high in the Himalayas of West Bengal, India. This heavenly little plantation retreat is situated above the banks of the River Rungeet, and is overlooked by the mighty Kanchenjunga. Home to generations of tea planters, it was originally established in 1860 and remains today a working tea estate. Owned and run by the Prakash family, it is a wonderfully cosy and peaceful place to stay. Wildlife abounds and there is plenty to do by way of a private tour of the tea estate for walking, trekking, fishing, picnicking and birdwatching.
Glenburn is accessed by air to Bagdogra, followed by a 3 hour drive. It is also reached by road from Gangtok, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
GRAND DRAGON HOTEL
First truly eco-friendly hotel in Ladakh, India
Grand Dragon is the first truly eco-friendly hotel in the spectacular mountain kingdom of Ladakh in India. The hotel blends traditional architecture with comfortable accommodations to create a unique experience in northern India. The Deluxe and Royal Suites are aesthetically decorated and furnished, and feature modern conveniences of internet and wi-fi access for travellers. South facing rooms have panoramic views of the snow-covered Stok mountain ranges. The north facing views are of Leh Palace and the Khardung La Pass. Boasting a ‘green philosophy, Green Dragon has 95 solar panels to for water and central heating. The Ladakhi style décor in the restaurant is the setting for multi-international cuisine, and the Coffee Shop is open 24 hours.
Ladakh (Leh) is accessed by air only on commercial flights from Delhi or the Greaves fully-commissioned Greaves private plane from other locations in India. Flight time is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Eco-friendly lodge located near the Satpura National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India
Forsyth Lodge is a stylish environmentally friendly lodge that is engaged with the park management and local community of the Satpura National Park in Madhya Pradesh. This relatively new park, created in 1999, with more emphasis on birding and jungle walk activities explores the park by foot, canoe or kayak, by elephant or by jeep. Wildlife treks are guided and led by local villagers providing an authentic experience. The Tawa Dam is an excellent backdrop for the magnificent bird life found in the park, including such species as Black eagle, Rofous bellied eagle, Shain falcons and various species of harriers and range of smaller birds. Forsyth Lodge’s 12 eco-friendly cottages are set in 44 acres of wildlife filled jungle at the edge of the national park.
Forsyth is accessed by a 1-1/2 hour drive from Itarsi or Pipariya train stations, 2 hours drive from Packmarhi and 3-1/2 hour drive from Bhopal.