Evening Aarti at a Local Temple in Kund
Recharge at the Himalayan Eco Lodge in Kund
I’m a firm believer that a periodic dip in energy and inspirational levels are a by-product living in the city. It is the congested streets, digital profusion and being tethered to desks at office that make the need for hitting the outdoors, absolutely essential. Leaving my full-time job to be a travel and communication specialist, has given me a permanent ‘passport’ to stay out of the cubicle. But when I meet several friends and family members who are desperate to look beyond the periodicity of hours, I feel terrible. I recommend that whenever they need a recharge, even a weekend’s travel can do wonders on the mood.
I was back home in Delhi in between destinations and was already dreading the routine. Even the weather Gods had been whimsical for March; the blistering heat seemed to have arrived too soon. Just then, I was invited for a trip to the lower Himalayas by Great Indian Outdoors. The trip couldn’t have been more timely.
I thought of my friends in office and it made me respond more swiftly to the invitation. I was told that I would be in a small village called Kund, wedged between the lower Himalayan range with a mix of adventure and comfort both. Just what I needed. Also, it was only afive hour drive from Rishikesh. This hidden gem overlooking the Mandakini River was surrounded by mountains and dense forests in the Rudraprayag region.
When I arrived, the description fit perfectly. Kund Himalayan Eco Lodge, is the ideal destination for outdoor lovers, without having to give up their comfort. The lodge is a perfect place for discerning visitors to unwind amid serenity combined with luxury, while being totally engulfed in a million shades of green.What more couldI ask for?
Himalayan Eco lodge at Kund has tastefully decorated rooms in its ten charming cottages and well-appointed tents. I chose a room for myself over the tents. The interiors are well matched with exquisite furniture comprising of large beds, chairs and even a study table. The sit-out is just the place to savour your morning tea and admire the sunrise on the snow clad peaks shining in the distance. The sound of the Mandakini River close by keeps you company at all times.
Cottages at Kund
The hills around the lodge ascend symmetrically over quaint and tiny stone dwellings dotting the slopes. They almost look like colourful Lego blocks. My days were spent outside, while early mornings and late evenings were reserved to park myself in the verandah and spend some time without the lure of phone, TV and tablet. Since my main objective was to detox from the city, this was perfect.
It was the interest in birdwatching that got me on my feet in the early hours of the morning and then again later in the evenings. The lodge, a birding hotspot in itself, assures a number of sightings; I was able to set eyes onthrushes, magpies, babblers, flycatchers and more. It was difficult to identify when they were flying overhead but when feeding on the abundant flowering trees found in this area, the sighting was incredible. A local guide accompanied me to help identify and delight with information about their habits.
The property lies in the stunning setting of the majestic and holy Kedar peakoverlooking the valley . It is the perfect starting point for a multi-activity family adventures. In fact, it’s a great location for an induction to the outdoors; first time hikers will find it ideal. It’s suitable for young kids as well, since once is in the hands of expert local guides and those who know the region like the back of their hands.
Apart from being the base point for a visit to the Mini Switzerland called Chopta and onwards to Tungnath and Chandrashila, Kund has a plethora of ancient Hindu temples in the vicinity. These religious landmarks are steeped in mythology and history and stand as a living testimony to the rich culture of this region of Uttrakhand. Tungnath has great significance as the highest Shiva temple of the country and Chandrashila offers a splendid view of the Himalayas. This is a one day trek that can be done off Kund. Other ancient temples also dot the region. I personally paid a visit to the lovely KaliMath temple, Vishwanath temple and enjoyed the evening aarti where the Shiva statue from Kedarnath rests for the 6 months when the Char Dham trek is closed.
I would come back each day to the simple and fresh homely meals that were served in the common dining area, again with the panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas. Sitting in the dining pavillion, and seein the faces of other travellers triggered only one thought – they all looked so happy. With the melodious chirping of birds all around, I was not only going to take back fond memories but a completely rejuvenated body and soul as well.
Kund is the kind of holiday that makes sense for weekend vacationers who would like to spend quality time in an off the beaten path destination. The real essence of any offbeat vacation trip is centred around exploring new vistas and interacting with the locals, while leaving the traditional guide books and maps at home.To that, it delivers to the T.
Love at first sight in Kund
Adventure oriented families would love this mix of comfort and a tryst with the outdoors. There is a range of outdoor activities in the vicinity include trekking, kayaking, rock climbing and cycling. Temple and village visits can be arranged to experience the lifestyle of the locals.
So if the city life is achingly repetitive and you’re thinking of a long weekend, Kund should figure high on the list – it makes for a perfect place to unwind and hit the outdoors at the same time. Or even if it’s just a relaxation trip, you can sit in the verandah of your room and let the views lead your eyes to snow-topped mountains and plenty of avian friends in the vicinity.