MAY YOU NEVER BE FOUND

SIM­PLY PUN­JABI TRAV­ELS TO AGYAAT VAAS IN HI­MACHAL PRADESH TO DE­CI­PHER WHAT MAKES THE METRO JUNTA GO CRAZY ABOUT A PLACE MORE THAN 10,000 FT ABOVE SEA LEVEL.

India Today - - SIMPLY PUNJABI TRAVEL - By Sukant Deepak

he mist that con­quers the day makes ev­ery­thing look sur­real. Pine-cov­ered moun­tains prom­ise a shade from the world’s chaos. Sun­light tries des­per­ately to pierce through dense forests. The lungs that at­tempt to grab some thin air prom­ise an al­co­holic’s day­dream. It is the place per­fect if you are yearn­ing for magic, des­per­ate for a mir­a­cle. Agyaat vaas, the sub­tle place in Hi­machal Pradesh, 70 kms from Shimla, stands tall at 10,122 feet above sea level. Boast­ing of 12 cot­tages, the re­sort that started as a camp­ing site for school kids now has a strong cult fol­low­ing among avid trav­el­ers who are look­ing to en­joy soli­tude and quiet, cou­pled with some ad­ven­ture.

No won­der then the cot­tages are just about a de­cent and com­fort­able stay and don’t even have a tele­vi­sion set. But, if you want hot wa­ter, you need to call up the care­taker (on the cell, they don’t even have in­ter­coms!) and he will gra­ciously bring a buck­et­ful. The re­sort has no room ser­vice ex­cept for bed tea. But then, the place is not a ho­tel, some­thing that prospec­tive guests are clearly briefed about.

TIt is not ef­fort­less to reach the place ei­ther. The six-kilo­me­ter long nar­row jeep road from Narkanda to the re­sort will test your driv­ing skills to the hilt. And if you are the kind who as­sumes that driv­ing is about speed and not strat­egy, don’t even think about get­ting be­hind the wheel. But this doesn’t dis­cour­age the ones who crave for ad­ven­ture when­ever out­doors. Once you get set­tled in af­ter one of the care­tak­ers tells that all guests eat to­gether in the din­ing hall and food isn’t served in the rooms, it is time for some ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­ity. The staff will take you trekking in the for­est and pro­vide a tent in case you re­ally want to rough it out. Re­quest them to make a bon­fire and they will hap­pily oblige. Make the evening long as the wind flirts with flames.

With the ma­jor­ity of guests com­ing from Mum­bai and Delhi, there are many who visit when the place is un­der a thick blan­ket of snow, which is five months in a year—Novem­ber to Fe­bru­ary. “Even when the ap­proach from Narkanda is all snowed un­der, peo­ple don’t mind trekking a long dis­tance to reach the re­sort,” says Par­tap Chauhan, owner of Agyaat vaas. It is just eight in the evening, but feels to be the per­fect hour to smug­gle into the bed, and also to let the sounds from the sur­round­ing forests ex­or­cise all de­mons in your night­mares.

PAR­TAP CHAUHAN

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