India The LODGE At WAH Travel

Eco-Friendly Homestay: “The lodge at WAH”

March 13, 2019
Eco-Friendly Homestay: "The lodge at WAH"

The eco-friendly homestay

This year we took our yearly family holidays at an eco-friendly homestay at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, India, and it has won our hearts. The magnificent view of the Dhauladhar range from the estate was mesmerizing. The experience of being back to nature,  slow, and sustainable living was extraordinary.

Dhauladhar range

Dhauladhar Range

Making of  “The LODGE at WAH” eco-friendly

We were amazed to learn that “The LODGE at WAH” is build of the on-site excavated mud, keeping the eco-friendliness and sustainability at heart. The cottages have slate roof inspired by the “Gaddi,” local tribal homes.

The lodge has hit a home-run by using the services of the skilled local craftsmen and the artisans, and using the reclaimed wood from the courthouse demolished – cedar and pine-wood, re-purposed and recycled to build the eco-friendly lodge — the build material sourced from the local region of Kangra.

The LODGE At WAH - Main Cottage.

The LODGE At WAH – Main Cottage.

“The LODGE at WAH” homestay

We occupied three of the six cottage rooms, including the Court and the Oolong rooms in the main cottage and a Pine room in the subsequent cottage, at this stunning property.

Stairs descending from the Pine Room
Stairs descending from the Pine Room
Stairs descending from the Pine Room
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The lodge has beautiful landscape gardens maintained by the estate, overlooking the view of the Dhauladhar range.

 

Backyard of the Pine Cottage
Backyard of the Pine Cottage
Backyard of the Pine Cottage
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Backyard to the Pine Cottage

Backyard to the Pine Cottage

View from the foot of the Pine Cottage

View from the foot of the Pine Cottage

The Lodge garden and the Dhauladhar range

The Lodge garden and the Dhauladhar range in the backdrop

The lodge bird feeder

The bird feeder at the lodge

The Food at “The LODGE at WAH”

The preference of the produce is organic and local. They go an extra mile by growing their vegetables and herbs in the kitchen garden, adjacent to the main cottage and rest in their Green-house at the WAH Tea Estate.

The lodge has a family-style living and dining. Most of the food was homegrown and homemade, the loaves of bread, chutneys, jams, sauces, and soups.

The breakfast curated to our taste with a selection of pancakes, daal waffles, channa masala, sooji toast, Dalia upma, freshly squeezed juices, seasonal fruits, eggs, and home churned butter and cheese.

Oh, yes! And for dinner, traditional Kangra thali, and North-Indian style curries, daals, the wood-fired pizza with homemade mozzarella, vegetarian version of the Burmese Khow Suey.

Ofcourse they had to plan a surprise chocolate cake which was a cherry on the top for my sister-in-law’s birthday.

Our special request for pakoras, paneer, vegetables, and mushrooms BBQ was matched to a rainy evening with a chocolate cake as we couldn’t get our hands on a few of the bakeries that we had planned, due to Sunday.

Nonetheless, the desserts range varied from Gajerala, Jalebi, Phirni, Cakes, and Muffins.

I wish I had captured all the food pictures; I was not to blog as it was family time. Though the experience was too good to keep to self; besides I had promised Deepak uncle that I will blog.

The head of our family - mom and dad.
The head of our family - mom and dad.
The head of our family - mom and dad.
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Our journey to The LODGE at WAH

After the day-long tiring trip with flight and drive, we were greeted with the warmest smiles and were welcomed with open arms by the gracious staff at the Lodge. I don’t have everyone’s pictures, but I have managed to capture a couple of them which I have shared below. The staff at the LODGE at WAH went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and at home.

Our special thanks to:
  • Deepak Prakash Ji – The estate owner and the host
  • Pallav – The Manager at the Lodge at WAH
  • Ajay – The go-to guy for everything small or big
  • Baby – The Baker
  • The Chef
  • The Souchef

And of course, Upasana; she went above and beyond to guide and help us during the hour of need when we missed our flight from Delhi to Palampur (the story for some other time). She kept us updated time-to-time before our travel dates as it had been snowing and was cold in Himachal Pradesh. It helped as we were traveling from west to north and cold would have surprised us.

Tip 1#: The markets in the Mcleodganj has many shops and cafes closed on Sundays.

Our family and Deepak uncle.

The photo comprised of: Host (Deepak Prakash uncle), and the Guests (our family).

The Chef

The Chef

Ajay - Everything guy

Ajay – Everything guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WAH Tea Estate Tour

Deepak uncle graciously gave us the WAH Tea Estate tour, walking us through the tea plantation while spilling all the beans and answering all the questions. It was a surprise to learn about the origin of the WAH tea estate established by the Britishers when India was under British rule, and the tea seedlings were brought in from China – Camelia Sinensis Assamica.

Camelia Sinensis Assamica

Camelia Sinensis Assamica at homestay The LODGE at WAH

It was then taken over by Sir Sikander Hayat-Khan, the son of the Nawab of Wah in Pakistan hence the name WAH after the birthplace of Nawab and the “WAH” means “Wow.”

The estate was then taken over by the “Chaiwala” family and its been with their family since generations.

They have varied green and black tea options – my ultimate favorite from their estate is “Rose tea.”

Tea plantation and the farmers.

Tea gardens and farmers.

Getting to know the WAH tea Estate history.

We are getting to know the WAH tea Estate history at homestay The LODGE at WAH

On the WAH tea estate tour

The WAH tea estate tour.

Tea seeds and flowers

Tea seeds and flowers.

It was not the harvesting time of the year for the WAH Tea estate.

Tea seeds

Tea Seeds

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The View

The View

Chamomile tea flowers

Chamomile tea flowers

The Dhauladhar ranges

The Dhauladhar range

The bonfire for the WAH Tea Estate Picnic spot

The bonfire at the WAH Tea Estate Picnic spot.

The bonfire for the WAH Tea Estate Picnic spot

Picnic and the Bonfire spot at the WAH Tea Estate.

The rock split by the lightenings - when a place has history you know.

The rock split by the lightning – when a place has the history, you know.

The Dhauladhar ranges - and yours truly

The Dhauladhar range – and yours truly

The Dhauladhar ranges

The Dhauladhar range

The Tea basket.

The Tea basket.

Experiencing the WAH Tea:

Since we stayed at The LODGE at WAH, we got to enjoy all their tea varieties. And rest assured you couldn’t resist grabbing some to reminiscence over the experience.

They indeed shared some of the goodies of the estate with us as our departing gifts along with the care packages and the bounty of organic peas – “pahadi mattar.

Kangra Green tea, Black, and Lemongrass tea

Kangra Green tea, Black, and Lemongrass tea

Organic Peas

Organic Peas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Care-package for the journey back: Tea-sandwiches for breakfast.

Care-package for the journey back: Tea-sandwiches for breakfast.

Care-package for the journey back: Banana muffins breakfast.

Care-package for the journey back: Banana muffins breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter in India: Jan 2019: Weather wise we got the experience of the January winter in Northern India with the rain, snow, and sunshine. Normally the temperatures will drop to – 3 to – 6 C over the night.

To sum it up:

The Lodge at Wah is a perfect get-away for the girls weekend away, or a family stay. They go above and beyond to make the homestay comfortable, filled with delicious food and various experiences they offer.

Oh, how I wish to fly to that stunning view right about now when I am sitting in mids of wavering temperatures in Canada.

Our itinerary had a few key places to explore:

  • Mcleodganj
  • Bir and Billing
  • Norbulingka Institute
  • Dharamshala
  • Baijnath Temple
  • Andretta Pottery
  • Bhagsunag Water Fall Hike
  • Dharamkot

And more sites covering Shiv temples, Tibetian monastery, and Art gallery as we didn’t have a set schedule since we wanted to explore on our pace. Though Deepak uncle, Upasana, and Pallav helped to shape that.

The food we got to explore and what we missed from our itinerary:
    • The LODGE at WAH – Kangra region and North Indian cuisine. * Must try*, * Comes highly recommended *
    • Shiv Cafe post-Bhagsunag Water Fall Hike to Shiv Cafe (Maggie and tea)
    • Avva’s Cafe – * Must try*, * Comes highly recommended *
    • Morgan’s Place* Must try*, * Comes highly recommended *
    • Illiterati books and cafe  – *Must try*, *Comes highly recommended *
    • Tibet Kitchen
    • Woser Bakery & Woser Cafe – Closed on Sunday. – * Comes highly recommended *
    • Jimmy’s Bakery & Cafe – Couldn’t try. – * Comes highly recommended *
    • Moonpeak Espresso – Was closed on that Sunday for renovation. – * Comes highly recommended *

Useful details:

I invite you to browse through the Travel section for Amsterdam, Istanbul, and Paris.

I will love to hear your experience if you have stayed with The Lodge at WAH or any other sustainable and eco-friendly homestay.
xo,

Nidhi

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