You might have travelled to countries all over the world, some even obscure and unheard of, but have you witnessed all of India’s marvels? To make the exploration easy, we map the country’s most fashionable spring getaways and gorgeous A-list resorts. By Latha Srinivasan
A beautiful homestay on a 44-acre farm run by Thendup Tashi and his wife Pema, has as its magnificent backdrop of the snow-peaked Kanchenjunga and the skyline of the Singelila Range. Originally, the farmhouse was built in 1833 and restored in 1966. Located at an altitude of 1,500 metres, Yangsum Hertiage Farm is at the foothills of the Himalayas and you’ll feel like you are in paradise here. Tashi says, “Guests come to Yangsum to escape from the polluted city life and rejuvenate; to be with nature in a peaceful environment, and to just gaze at the majestic Kanchenjunga. Many guests also want to experience farm life, a family-run homestay, and discover Sikkim. Yangsum is special because it’s off the beaten track.” highlight While the accommodation is rustic, it is not by any means simple. The four spacious bedrooms on the farm are luxurious, packed with all the required amenities—but what makes this stay unforgettable are the breathtaking views of the Himalayas through the window and balcony. The Tibetan-style architecture of the wooden farmhouse, a farm that grows everything from cherries to avocados, oranges, pears, apricots, and mangoes, are ever inviting. The wonderful hosts make you fall in love with Yangsum and Sikkim. Indulge in soulful treks through the mountains as you listen to soothing Buddhist chants echoing from the monasteries around you. Drive down to the 17th century town of Rabdentse, the former capital of Sikkim, and walk through the mist and forests up to the beautiful hilltop citadel to the ruins of a palace that gives you a resplendent view of this paradise. On the farm, you can explore the organic estate where the trees bear fresh juicy pears, peaches, and plums for you to pluck and feast on while you walk around.
TIP: The best season to visit Yangsum is from April to mid- June or mid-September to November.
HOW TO REACH: Rinchenpong is about 40 kilometres from Gangtok, which is linked to the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri by helicopter. Alternatively, you can drive down directly from Bagdogra Airport to the farm in approximately five hours.
There are just four suites in the uber-private Mountbatten Lodge in the Aravallis. The Lodge is named after Lord Mountbatten because he’s said to have camped here. Owner Reggie Singh’s endeavour has been to recreate the past, the colonial times, and days of The Raj. He has strived hard to make the lodge a private paradise for guests but also to help the local community in the process. “I give my guests an experience of the ‘real thing’—nothing recreated or cosmetic. You will notice this on our menus, the safari, services and also the ambiance. Most of the staff here also belong to my clan—The Rathores, who established Jodhpur in the year 1459. I have a responsibility towards them and the local tribals, who built the Lodge.” highlight The suites at Mountbatten Lodge are in two large, spacious bungalows and reflect the colonial architecture and lifestyle.
You’ll find tall windows that give you a view of nature, large beds, warm rugs and elegant furniture, and bathrooms that come with a hamman spa bed and shower. At the stylish main lodge, there’s a bar, wonderful collection of books, charming artefacts, a billiards table and certain evenings, you will be treated to soulful jazz sessions. The Mountbatten Lodge shares its boundary with The Kumbalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and has two historical sites at its backdoor—the Ranakpur Jain Temples and The Kumbalgarh Fort. Guests can take a safari or trek to the temples or the fort. The Lodge also offers picnic lunches and Champagne sunset safaris either by elephant or horse. Don’t miss the leopard tracking safaris at Beda, nature treks to Kumbalgarh, and horseback-riding.
TIP: Stop over for lunch at the Lodge between Udaipur and Jodhpur. Day-trip safari lunches from Udaipur along with a tribal village visit are organised on request.
HOW TO REACH: The shortest route to Mounbatten Lodge is to fly into Udaipur and drive down the 85-kilometre stretch to Ranakpur. Alternatively, you can fly into Jodhpur and cover the 180-kilometre distance to Ranakpur in about three hours.