Friday, 6 February 2015

100th post : Anniversary special- Soulitude by the Riverside

There are some experiences in life which cannot be described in words. I am sure each one of us has gone through this. A moment which could only be felt but expressed, a dish which could only be tasted than reviewed, a scenic beauty which could only be seen through the eyes than captured in a camera or the love that touched your soul than just showed. Well, last few days i have gone through all this! I couldn't find the right words (still can't) to pen it down for all of you. But I will try my best to bring out the soul of my experiences, so you can walk down the memoirs with me!

Well, there are a few vacations from where you don't want to come back home. Just as our last experience at Kasauli ( Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3 ) was one memorable holiday, our recent outing to Soulitude by the Riverside was one enriching too! Over initial discussion whether to go to their other property Soulitude in the Himalayas or the riverside one, people who know us well, would have guessed why we went to the latter. For those who don't, my hubby is a fish hobbyist and manages almost 12-odd fish tanks at home for almost over 7-8 years. So, whenever and wherever we see a water body, he wants to cross mountains to get a look at it to study the aquatic life. Here's a look of our Fish room :

After reading tons of positive reviews online and getting a recommendation from a friend who had been to their property before, we knew where we are going for our Anniversary! It had to be a special place for the occasion, and also since we were looking forward to this break since a long time. I have had a busy three months of my pet-sitting bookings due to holiday season and wanted to take some days off. Me and hubby both prefer rustic to luxury, and this place just seemed so for us. But when we reached, we were surprised to see "Rustic marrying luxury".

As mentioned before, we love train journeys, and hence so we took the early morning Shatabdi from Anand Vihar station to Kathgodam Railway station. Until yet, we didn't even know there existed a railway station by the name of Anand Vihar in Delhi. The train went past some nice open fields giving a treat to our eyes of greens, morning sunrise and fresh air. The 5-6 hour journey went past in a jiffy with all the snacks and drinks that Shatabdi offers. I want to mention here about the name of "Nimbu pani" (Lemon-water) that we were served - Dadu!! Dadu means 'Grandpa" and mostly Punjabi's use this term for elder men. 

The pick up car waited for us and the drive was all about twists and turns. We drove uphills through the ghats and the views of the mountains and valleys just seemed to get more and more enthralling. As mentioned in their website, the car drop is only till a particular point after which you need to trek for about 30-40 minutes to reach the place. Hence, it is clearly mentioned to book the place if one is keen on walking/trekking and is not suitable for old people/kids. Since there had been a landslide on the regular route, we went through the other route wherein we trekked downhill for about 30 minutes. Walking on the small path of stones/mud and surrounded by tall pine trees, the walk seemed an enjoyable one!

Once we reached the place, we were greeted with a welcome drink (Cucumber chaas) and guided to our colourful room. 

They have 2 cottages and one Village home consisting of 3 rooms. We had booked the room "Shaant" in the village home, as we were fascinated by the idea of sky-view from the room. The room had opened windows (also in the bathroom), so you actually sleep and bathe under the stars!!! Isn't that pretty cool?

Another most important aspect why we chose to stay here was there are no televisions in the room. There is a common living area in the village home where there is a small TV for those who can't do without it, but we were more inclined towards the book-shelf with some really interesting reads. The place filled us with energy, and though we had done an early morning journey and a small trek, we were keen on exploring around. A small walk with the most helpful and humble Dinesh showing the property around just seemed the right thing to do.

We got our hands dirty picking vegetables from the farm which they grow organically. You name a vegetable/fruit, and they have planted it there! We learnt a lot about seasonal plantings/sowing/plant care etc. from him and also shared some ideas with him about re-cycling kitchen waste which we didn't see them doing. 

For those keen on doing yoga, there is a yoga-hut at the edge of the resort overlooking a small waterfall gushing out of the rocks where one can sit for hours listening to the music of the flowing water. 

The place is surrounded by huge mountains from all sides, which just make you think how small "I" can be (or is). Its places like these, which make you realise the importance of nature, the beauty of it and how much we need to respect it than spoil it. We skipped lunch, and had some snacks. The warm pakoras (bhajiyas) were absolutely crispy and tasty. The sandwich was just okay with cheese, tomato and cucumber filling. The coffee was a little light to my taste, hence was requested to be made strong. A little chat with the Chef Kamal, who is a 22 year old boy (looks even younger), explaining our personal tastes was welcomed by him. As he was open to suggestions, we never had a chance to complain after that and the food just seemed getting better, making us lick our fingers (and plates) clean!!! :)

Dinner was served in the dining room which is decorated like a village room with Clay-pots, metal plates and dinnerware, khaat-like seating (made comfortable with cushions and hand restings), artifacts placed neat-fully around and the special mention to the embroidered frames on the wall made in the shape of a kite. Who wouldn't want to dine in such a colourful place and to top it all, they made it special for us by decorating our table with roses, flowers and candles. Romance sizzled in the air (with songs from the movie 'love aaj kal') with hot trays of sizzlers being placed on our table. 

The momos, the tikkis, the perfectly cooked noodles, steamed and stir fried veggies, french fries - Every item on the plate was just so perfectly done that we over-ate our diet! Oh, and i forgot to mention about the smooth and warm cabbage-cucumber soup that was served to us before! Served in a cup and saucer, the soup was absolutely hearty. The sizzler was followed by a rich, thick, creamy chocolate mousse which was relished by hubby too, who is not much of a chocolate-fan.

Since we were the only guest around during that time, we thoroughly enjoyed the "alone-ness". One very good thing about the staff is they "Never" bother you. The right meaning of the word "freedom" is what you can feel here. It makes it even more special. They are always there to help, to assist or guide when asked, but would never be a hindrance in whatever you want to do. It's good to be by yourself in a place like this- and they totally understand that!

The other rooms are beautifully done too, one of which has a huge rock (with water flowing down it) in the bathroom. One very important thing i observed here is a lot of time and effort has been given to detailing. Each artifact is carefully placed in the right space and hence stands out. The owner Manish Chandra, as told to us, loves collecting stuff and his wife has a huge interest in art and craft. One who would visit the place, would surely know and understand that.

As they say, "Eat breakfast like a king", we were pampered the next day with an artistically decorated breakfast table with juices, cereals, fruits, jams, made-to-order eggs and parathas served with homemade pickles. We loved the stuffed parathas of gobhi and aloo that we had along with fresh curd and chilli and potato pickle. The aloo pickle was to-die-for! I have taken the recipe and someday i will make and post it. After having some nice strong coffee, we left to trek in the forest along with Dinesh. 

This place is a heaven for trekkers. There is no end to how far you can go in the forest. But yes, it is very important to respect Mother Nature or else she bounces back on you. The views along the walk were breathtaking and some beautiful birds were singing music to us, to keep us entertained.

Dinesh gladly was explaining us about the tropical flora and fauna and gave us a lot of information about the local life. I will put pictures and write about some in a separate post. Hubby was keen on exploring waterlife, studying the local plants growing inside it and searching for the local fishes that are found there. And he was not disappointed. We came home with a box full of goodies for our fish-room!!! :)

Our journey continues in Part 2.....


  1. Beautiful memorable joy of travelling. Equally splendid are the shots.

  2. Amazing trip...the place looks good...Lovely shots!

    1. The place indeed is beautiful:), we had one awesome trip! Thank you :))

  3. Looks like an amazing place to visit.

  4. Congratulations dear...Loved your clicks and the trip:)

    1. Thanks a ton Padma, glad you think so :)


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