I had been visiting Himachal and Uttarakhand primarily for trekking. The treks to mountain ranges covered with fresh snow, the alpine pasture lands fuel my adrenaline rush like no other activity and additionally offers to be in the nature itself which I feel is lacking in urbans areas. Dharamshala has been one of my favorite trekking destinations in Himalayas, offering sweeping panoramic views of Dhauladhar mountain ranges, majestic monasteries, and adventure sports. While I was planning for a short trek in Dharamshala to get a break from work, my mother asked me if she can also come along with me. She has seen a lot of my adventures through pictures and wanted to experience the same. However she didn’t wanted to do a trek but dreamt of spending some time in nature with a river nearby to get a break from her monotonous life in the city. Within no time, I dropped my idea of the trek and started searching online for a peaceful family destination so that she can also enjoy the beauty of mountains without any fatigue. While shortlisting various resorts, I zeroed down to one beautiful destination, Prakriti Aalay near Dharamshala.
We started our journey on 6:30 AM and reached at 11:30 AM. My mom was very excited to see the property as it offered a peaceful ambience rich with flora and fauna with rivulet flowing just nearby. It took us around 5 hours by car to reach the property. We found that no vehicle is parked near the stay and there we got to know that Prakriti Aalay is intentionally kept a car/vehicle free boutique eco property to maintain its natural habitat, to enhance health of guests by providing a pollution free environment and to respect guest privacy from the nuisance of honking/lighting/music of walk in guest and their vehicles. They have a dedicated car parking area for in-house guests with 24 hours CCTV surveillance at the main road, just opposite to the resort. One needs to climb down around 50 meters from the main road/parking area to reach the picturesque foot bridge, which connects straight to the resort. The path is well laid with flat rocks which can be easily traversed to reach the reception area.
About the Prakriti Aalay
Prakriti Aalay, is a luxury boutique resort inspired by traditional aesthetics, vernacular architecture and ecological sensitivity. The entire trip costed us Rs. 21000 for three of us staying along with meals and cab charges charges (to and fro from Chandigarh – Dharamshala) While exploring the property I got to know that Delia Narayan, Contractor commonly known as ‘Didi Contractor’ had been pioneer in responsible eco-construction of this property. The design is adopted from vernacular techniques with elegance and utility to create structures that are full of beauty and surprise. The architecture mimics traditional rich kangra style of architecture. It offers a liberating experience like no other in the entire vicinity. The picturesque resort of sweeping panoramic vistas is bordered on one side by the perennial Manuni rivulet, flowing straight down from the nearby Himalayan glaciers, while on the other side it is surrounded by lush green pine forests and entire Himalayan range of Dhauladhars in the backdrop.
There is no commercial or residential habitat in the near vicinity, which means that you get a clear view and desired privacy at all the times. Prakriti Aalay has everything that a discerning traveler expects, be it spectacular views, incredible activities, adventure sports, bare luxuries, fine dining or just mediating at river front yoga hall there are surprises for everyone..!!
The Stay – Array of Joys
Prakriti Aalay is hand crafted, right from stones to sundried adobes to bamboos to recycled wood to natural slates; every corner is full of breath. The use of earthy materials like crafted stones, adobes, mud plaster, bamboo roof and blue slates lends a charming natural ambiance to the resort premises. Designed for the relaxation, there are bright, comfortable spaces, free from artificial tiles and chemicals but, surrounded by bare natural luxury. From corridor to rooms, from dining area to yoga balconies, the resort is drenched in earthy feels.
The suites are furnished beautifully and are light and airy and have a private balcony offering best view of snow-clad Dhauladhars, forest and the stream. The splendid spacious all slate bathroom all amenities also features a large window to enjoy the view in privacy. The décor and styling of the resort is also complimenting the architecture. Softly lit bottle style bedside lamp, topped with an antique style ceiling fan, hanging lights and jute rug carpets. Also, the furniture all over the resort is mainly in wood fittings.
While the beauty of the place might make you consider that inactivity is the perfect form of activity here, but Prakriti Aalay offers you enough temptations to make you step out of your inactivity zone. The platter of activities is designed to draw your exploratory spirit out to help you become a part of the spirit of nature.
A serene hike in its adjoining forest, to shaking a leg in glacier fresh white water, to adventure sports of paragliding, to exotic hiking trails, to natural angling, to unorthodox dining settings, to enthralling cycling routes, to fascinating high altitude treks and proximity to temples and monasteries, Prakriti Aalay is still very private and offbeat in this natures’ heaven. Unique to its natural abundance and with true eco construction, the site forms a perfect backdrop to enjoy the nature – a philosophy on which Prakriti Aalay is being built. The picturesque town of Dharamshala is gifted with endless beautiful locations with each one having its own charm and story to tell, but the Spirit of Nature Stays at Prakriti Aalay away from the pollution, concrete and chaos.
Things to do
- An early morning walk through adjoining lush green pine forests to freshen up your lungs
- Meditation/yoga on river front deck, while listening to sound of water and enjoying the sunrise
- Enjoying the hike through the forest on the way to the sunset point
- Testing your bird watching skills while exploring different forms from your window or deck or terrace
- Exploring innate forms of angling in the rivulet while following the river trail for amazing surprises
- Explore nearby hamlets and follow the trail to panoramic fields to interact with farmers
- The choice of a dive in the natural pool of adjoining rivulet or just shaking a leg in the glacier fresh white water flowing straight from
- Learning basmati growing secrets in adjoining scenic farms or trying a hand at organic farming
- Enjoying inhouse games and unorthodox books at scenic library deck
- Trying out various adventure sports, high altitude trekking in the nearby areas
- Going on a leisure cycle tour to explore nature all around
- Enjoy Camping
- Enjoying the Drive
- Indulge in Paragliding at one of the world’s finest destination
- Take a walk through Tea Gardens
- Visit Biggest Monastery In Wilderness – Sherbaling
- Visit Dalai Lama Monastery
- Visit to Kangra Fort
- Visit to Rock Cut Temples of Masroor
- Visit to Rock Cut Temples of Masroor
- Cricket Stadium Visit
Exquisite and Local
The dining experience was more than just a meal. The servings in antique brass utensils gave a feel of authentic village lifestyle. The food was delicious though they took some time to prepare. It was an unforgettable experience filled with lasting memories of finest local and Indian culinary journey that every fine dining connoisseur seeks. Food is said to be made from the freshest and finest local produce including organic choices from adjoining farms. We got to know that local farmers are being encouraged to grow and supply organic food products to the resort kitchen as well as fresh dairy products.
The menu boasted of lavish local flavors with local chefs conjuring up delicacies, inspired by the authentic flavors. The restaurant offered an authentic dining experience which spans a smart, brightly lit indoor dining space spread over two floors, a charming private conservatory with spacious seating arrangements for a large family or a group, low sitting lounge for those relaxed moments and an outdoor terrace, which had magnificent views of the Himalayas.
Prakriti Aalay is inspired from the undaunted spirit of Himalayas, exhibited in the local architecture, expressed in the unparalleled beauty of the Kangra valley and can be felt in the folklore of rich tradition it is trying to preserve. Here, no stone have been left unturned to give you a luxurious and comfortable stay. At the same time no stone has been turned needlessly and every effort is tried to preserve the nature as it should be, where a person is drawn into the warp and weft of indigenous construction.
We thoroughly enjoyed and felt recharged by spending time at this amazing place. Adorned with rustic settings, this picturesque resort offered perfect extended chit chats. I realized there is much more to it than spending time away from home and work. Prakriti Aalay brought us very close to nature. My mother enjoyed every bit of the tranquil and pristine beauty amid the nature – surrounded by forest on one side, perennial stream of water on other while farms and fields in the vicinity. Now she is ready for another traipse to mountains ..!!