I was finally travelling again…My taxi was stuck in the lane opposite to the railway station and this time I was determined to take the taxi inside the station . I thought I had time,but after being stuck there for a while and my car moving only 100 meters ahead and little away from the station to make the U turn. I suddenly realised i was running late….through the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi, I found my self running with a luggage bag,dodging the people, crashing into some, running towards the railway station. My train was on the move by the time I reached my coach and boarded it. I knew that I would not miss the train. I was going to Uttrakhand….Ramnagar….. AAHANA to be precise..
AAHANA(the first rays of the sun)…….. Aahana is a resort located in the midst of thick forest of Jim Corbett National Park and has been continuously awarded as one of the best hotel in its category in India for last couple of years. It is just a drive or a train ride away from Delhi. It is located in the periphery of Bijrani forest and is about 7km away from Ramnagar, which is a small laid back town and is also the gateway to India’s oldest and the most famous National Park, The Jim Corbett National Park.
“Sustainability is at the core of what we do” as quoted by the director of Aahana Ms Ayu Tripathi is something that has brought much recognition to the resort among the hoteliers and the travellers. Their unique ways to make sagacious use of the sources available and the goal to preserve as much as possible is something that has inspired many.
The first foundation for it was laid around 8 years back by a famous business man, Mr Kamal Tripathi, hailing from the neighbouring hill station, Nainital. Well he is a man with a vision. According to the villagers the land where Aahana is built was actually a barren land. It was after he bought the land and worked on it,the topography of the land is said to have changed magically. Now there are more than 300 different varieties of trees (total of 4000 trees)and its home to 100 plus varieties of birds. The property is covered with groaning green in it all its sides. Aahana is an imperative for fine architectural work, and its spacious and aerial foyers, restaurant and the rooms talk for themselves.
During my stay there it felt like as though we were part of a huge craft,or lets just called it a “humongous” ship. Beautifully crafted with wisely chosen floating vessels with unprecedented complexity and cost. Here the shipwrights were men who were very experienced, with equally great qualifications.
This ship was sailing towards the never ending forest which were alive with the sweetness and the songs of the wild.
Like a ship, Aahana has a small life of its own.It is a destination for itself.If you are a “wee hours” kinda person you wake up to the melodious chirping of the wide variety of birds and if you are lucky enough the king of the jungle might be seen outside your window. (Trust me that would be intense) If you have registered yourself for yoga classes the courtesies call from the reception will wake you up for yoga. And if you aren’t the morning person the last call for breakfast will surely wake you up. And trust me you wouldn’t want to miss that food.
The restaurant at Aahana is called the ‘Dhikala’. It is aerial and spacious and has been delightfully contrived. The beautiful open air swimming pool in a leafy suburb with the notable jungle that serves like a background is clearly visible from Dhikala. The multi-cuisine restaurant has a variety of authentic menu items including both international and local cuisines.
The villa where my friends a I was staying was called Ramganga. The rooms were equally brilliant,spacious yet cosy. With the view of lushes of greens from almost all the French windows and there is nothing like waking up to the sound of the jungle and so much greenery. (Green spaces are suppose to enable us to think more clearly and cope more effectively with life’s stress.) The balcony which faced the bijrani forest was my favourite and we spent most of our evenings just lazing there.
There are plethora of actives one can engage thy self with inside Aahana depending on the mood or nature of thy self. There are sports facilities like badminton,swimming,basketball, carom,table tennis, snooker room and an additional playing area designated for the kids. Well if you are towards the delicate or flabby side you could enjoy bird watching or keep your self engaged inside the library.
Aahana is also popular for it’s Naturopathy Centre which is amongst the first of its kind, in such a luxurious ambience. Aahana Naturopathy Centre provide you a complete health package; a mixture of, Ayurveda, Nature Cure , Yoga , Western Spa therapies and array of other therapies for relaxation. The therapies are provided under the guidance of Wellness experts in a hygienic, eco friendly and luxurious environment.
The organic farm along the side of the walking trial was something very impressive. Most of the vegetables served at Dhikala and most of the herbs used in the Naturopathy Centre were home grown. Somewhere close to the organic farming was the cattle shed (Gaushala). It was one of the neatest cow shed I have seen. I milked my first cow there.
The evenings at Aahana were my favourite.. Everything would be under the great canopy of the orangish evening sky and the way the light shone upon the forest and the property was surreal. The West side of the property was silhouetted against the feeble light of the sun. The birds chirping,the callings from the cattle and some animals nearby and faraway all returning home,the lilting sound of the flute being played in some corner of the property resonating the air and the sudden burst of babel within the property.They all fused in together perfectly making the evenings even more beautiful.
As the day grew darker the staffs prepared tables and chair outside near the pool for the dinner. Dinners were either served inside Dhikala or you could savour them outside on the deck. I preferred outside under the starry night,with the moonlit surroundings, bonfire and some nice live music to soothe and mellow everything.
With passage of time, a day turned into two and two into four. I had reached my shore and my stay was over. The ship (AAHANA) is still sailing towards the never ending forest catering to all those who have boarded the ship.