AMARI RESORT AT RAMGARH NEAR NAINITAL IS THE PERFECT LUXURY BREAK FROM DELHI!

AAMARI RESORTS IN RAMGARH near Nainital is easily the best resort in the area. It is a perfect weekend break from Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon.  1 hour away from the touristy Nainital, Aamari resort at Ramgarh is a perfect abode away from the city life. When I planned a trip to Nainital, Ramgarh and Mukteshwar, I decided to make Aamari resort my base and explore the gems nearby.

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One of the 3 bed rooms at the Sky Villa in Aamari Resorts, Ramgarh

ACTIVITIES AT AAMARI RESORTS, RAMGARH:

I spent the last day just enjoying the property. There is so much you can do in the property. I walked around the property for some-time followed by a stroll on the road appreciating the fairy-tailish pink, white and red flowers which dominated the natural landscape. The rest of the day was spent at leisure in reading (No, I didn’t switch on the TV), enjoying the delicious food, siesta, indulging in sauna bath, the works!

On the first day, I booked a cab to Nainital and explored the usual and the offbeat places to see in Nainital, especially the houses where legendary Jim Corbett stayed. The second day was spent exploring the offbeat gem that Ramgarh is. I hiked near the hills of the resort to arrive at the ruins of a house where Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore lived for some years and wrote part of his famous work Geetanjali. Just ahead of the Malla Ramgarh Bazaar, I walked at an adjacent pathway for some time and visited the house of noted Hindi writer Mahadevi Verma. There sure is something about hills and world famous writers! Aamari resort is blessed to be built on a hill where verses of Geetanjali still soulfully echo.

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My room (Room number 104) at Aamari Resort, Ramgarh

THE ROOMS AT AAMARI RESORTS, RAMGARH:

I stayed in room number 104. The moment I entered the room, I was awed by the sheer size of the room. The pool facing rooms at Aamari are huge and so is the King size bed. The mattress used in the bed is fluffy and comfortable. That, combined with a lovely weather ensured I get sound sleep during my 3 days stay in the resort. On one side of the bed was electric kettle and teabags, creamer etc placed atop a rack. On the other side is a writing table equipped with lights. The room comes with many lighting options to suit your mood.

There is a sofa, chair and central table at the sitting area next to a giant window which overlooks the pool, the property, glimpses of road and the valley along-with the mighty Himalayan ranges. This was my favourite part of the room. Just as you enter the room, there is a wardrobe with tall mirrors on the left hand side. A little ahead is the washroom. Again, the size and layout of the washroom is impressive. It also comes with different lighting option to suit the mood. (I preferred the dim lights). The wash basin area is large, leaving enough space for dressing up.  It was a pleasure to have a hot shower in the well stocked glass cubicle. The shower head was large and the water pressure was just right. The washroom was stocked with the usual suspects- soaps, shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer.

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The lovely sit out area outside my room at Aamari Resort. It is great secluded spot to soak in some winter sun or enjoy bonfire in night.

THE AAMARI RESORT, RAMGARH PROPERTY:

I arrived late night in the first week of March via a cab and slept in the comfortable bed post dinner. The next morning, I opened the huge window of my room and was delighted with the sight of snow capped Himalayan Ranges such as the mighty Trishul, Nanda Devi, Panchacholi and Nandakot. I chose to have the breakfast in my room by the window so that I could enjoy the stunning views with my meals. The room is equipped with mirrors at the entrance and at the writing table.

Just outside the room is a lovely sit out area where I enjoyed reading a book in the swing fashioned out of cane. As darkness fell, I used to sit here having conversations around bonfires. The property is sprawling. Its 22 luxurious rooms are spread across multi level. Some rooms are garden facing while some are pool facing. There is a set of room near the car parking which is accessed by a car and thus is ideal for elderly who might find it difficult to walk up the stairs to reach other rooms.

The property is landscaped thoughtfully. Colorful Beer and Vodka bottles hang from a tree near the reception area. The poolside area comes with 2 large round cane chairs which can seat many people. There is a sit out area opposite the pool where I enjoyed Hot Chocolate during nights. The large banquet hall and the spacious indoor restaurant are ideal for large groups. You will notice the theme of a Cruise Ship throughout the property including the restaurant.

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The ship themed restaurant at Aamari Resort, Ramgarh

THE DAZZLING SKY VILLA AT AAMARI RESORT, RAMGARH:

The 3 bedroom Sky Villa near the sunset point took my breath away. It is a little away from the main property of Aamari Resorts. Sky Villa is a separate bungalow managed by the property. It overlooks the gorgeous valley below and is accessed by either vehicle or a long walk. It has 3 bedrooms on 2 stories, outdoor sit out areas, courtyards, indoor sit out areas with top to bottom glass walls and a well equipped kitchen. It is a great place to spend time with family or a group of friends. I was awestruck with the villa and its location. It is close to the sunset point from where I had an amazing view of the distant mountains and valley bathed in golden light. A small hike from here takes you to a viewpoint from where you can have a bird’s eye view of the famous lake in Bhimtal.

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Food is delicious at Aamari Resort, Ramgarh. My favourite was Paneer Kali Mirch

THE FOOD AT AAMARI RESORTS, RAMGARH:

During my 3 days stay at Aamari Resorts, I ordered a variety of food. Tamara Khaas Kofta (Pistachio and Khoya Stuffed Dumplings in rich Tomato gravy) and Paneer Kali Mirch were my absolute favourite. I also enjoyed the pasta in red sauce. On most days I had hearty breakfast of Aaaloo ka Paratha, Gobhi ka paratha and Poori-Bhaji, all of them done to perfection.

That said, the Paneer Butter Masala could have been better. The vegetables au gratin was good except the distracting sweet chunks of pineapple at times. You may want to tell them to skip the pineapple if you choose to order it. The quantity of the food is good and one entrée is sufficient for 2 people.

OTHER FACILITIES AAMARI RESORTS, RAMGARH:

There are myriad activities one can do at Aamari Resorts. There are many trekking trails which in house experts take you to. These are easy routes. They also offer outdoor picnic options. One can also indulge in soft adventure sports like rappelling, rock climbing, archery, spider nest, flying fox and valley crossing. These are monitored and organized by in house experts. For the less adventurous kinds, indoor games like carom, chess is available. You can also play basketball, badminton and football. Just above the reception is the facility for steam and sauna bath.  You can also check out the nearby adobe houses, Gagar Temple, Fossil remains on the hills etc.

RESPONSIBLE LUXURY AAMARI RESORTS, RAMGARH:

I love the luxury properties like Aamari resorts which accept my request to replace the bottled mineral water with filtered water. It’s my little way to say no to generation of plastic. I also make it a point to reuse the towels the next day. If all of us start doing it, it helps us save a lot of water. I am glad Aamari Resorts promote that habit. I was impressed to know that Aamari Resorts hire local talent whom they train and nurture from scratch. Collective travel to reduce transport, trekking and walking are some of the means by which they strive to cut the carbon footprint of travelers.

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The separate 3 bed room Sky Villa is stuff dreams are made up of. Can’t afford? Go with friends and family and split the cost. It’s worth it!

PLAN A VACATION. DISCOVER THESE PLACES NEAR AAMARIRESORTS, RAMGARH, UTTARAKHAND:

MYGRATION STORIES- WHY IS THIS BRAVE LADY LIVING ALONE IN A FOREST IN MUKTESHWAR

LEELA ORCHARDS HOMESTAY IN MUKTESHWAR: PERFECT CHOICE OF WEEKEND BREAK FROM DELHI IN BUDGET

HOW TO REACH AAMARI RESORTS, RAMGARH:

Just before the Malla Ramgarh Bazaar on the main Bhowali-Mukteshwar road, the Aamari Resorts is unmissable. Nestled in the Himalayan Heights Complex towards the right hand side of the road, it stands out thanks to its grandeur.  It is one hour away from Nainital. You can reach Nainital by bus. From Nainital, the taxi costs Rs.500 and takes 1 hour to reach. In case you reach in night, make sure you hire a reliable taxi. Chances are that after 7 or 8 p.m., on some stretches, you will be the only one driving on that road. Try to reach before sun set.  The cab driver charged me Rs.700 at 8 p.m. (Rs.200 from the usual Rs.500)

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The entrance to my room at Aamari Resorts, Ramgarh

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CORBETT IRIS SPA AND RESORT : THEY SHOW CORBETT BEYOND TIGERS!

It’s not very often that one stays in a resort which is based on the foundation of deep respect towards environment and local lifestyle. Corbett Iris is one such resort right in the centre of the Pavalgarh zone of Jim Corbett National Park. Building a resort in a jungle comes with myriad responsibilities and I found Corbett Iris to live up to my expectations of a resort sensitive to its immediate environment.

Pic above : Way to our cottage, Spa and Pool (Pic by : Parnashree Devi)

Not only do hosts understand their fragile surroundings deeply, they also exhibit a proactive attitude towards conservation of not only wildlife but also local culture/heritage and lifestyle. In fact, the resort is great for discovering the cultural and heritage value of the area. Most come here in search of wildlife, but this resort instead promotes a deeper understanding of the history and social fabric of the place. Throw in some adventure sports (See links below) and one gets to see the other side of Corbett which I found more engaging and enjoyable than stressing myself with spotting a Tiger.

Pic above : My luxurious room at the resort and the live bar in garden

A walk in the Village area:

I found my host and staff to be well versed with the local lifestyle. The resort was a stone’s throw away from both jungle and the Kyari village. My tour guide educated us about how the local plants support the life in the village. Some of the plants shown to us held great medicinal value. Teak (aka mahaneem), sagaun, saal (used in making train berths earlier) lined the pathways.

Pic above : Me dozing under the historical semul tree, the semul tree , and Jim Corbett’s house turned into museum.

So did semul tree. The largest semul tree in the area is at the British era guest house. It was under this tree that Jim Corbett killed his last tiger famously called Bachelor of Pavalgarh. Jim stopped shooting tigers when he learnt that this particular tiger was not a man eater (I later rested under the tree on the last day). Not far from here is Choti Haldwani ( Kaladungi museum) . Jim Corbett stayed here. The village was established by him only and there are many families, of his time still residing in the village. That’s a trail where guests take a walk.

Pic of village walk above : Stop for samosa, Mr Vinod educating us about local flora, fauna and lifestyle and haathikaan

Coming back to the village, most interesting plant was haathikaan (literal meaning:

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Litchi, not jackfruit, eh!

elephant ear) whose huge leaves looked like colocassia (Arbi) leaves. Its paste is used to heal the wounds of cattle when it survives a tiger or leopard attack. The tree of Rohini aka sindoori has cooling effects (Thandi taseer, as they say it) Women put it at hair parting as a substitute of vermillion (sindoor) while men apply it on forehead as tilak. It is said that elephants eat its berries to maintain mental balance during mating season. The jackfruit tree, rich with fruits, was also commonplace in the area and so was litchi. I had seen a litchi tree for the first time and mistook the raw fruit as jackfruit. I embarrassed myself when I asked, “Is it a miniature version of jackfruit?”

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There are 300 homes and 1000 people residing in Kyari village. They have lived here for generations and man animal conflicts are bound to happen. Most of the land in this part is used for agricultural purpose. The elephants often destroy the crop and hence a fence was built with mild electric shocks passing through it. However, the very intelligent elephants soon discovered the part of fence which has earthing and is therefore devoid of any electric shock. I could see the signs of the elephants destroying this part of the fencing.

Pic above : Village walk and Kumauni lunch. What’s not to love?

Besides the jumbos, the forest is also home to 40 tigers, 25 leopards, 90 species of butterflies and 365 species of birds. We crossed the now dry Khichdi river to explore more.  Other plants we saw were Timli (flowers used in Hindu prayers and its fruit eaten), Gutel (It fruits in June and July and its powder helps in gas problems), Kuri. Kuri is a dense hedge and thus a preferred nesting site for bulbul which also eats its berries called laltana. It is also relished by monkeys. We saw small peach fruits. We were told as one goes higher in altitude, the fruits are bigger and juicier, thanks to conducive temperature and climate.

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We went to see forest not the tiger!

Not far from here is Sitaban. A temple exists here as it’s said that Goddess Sita was swallowed by land at this very spot. She also prayed here and her sons Love and Kush were born here. We were once again face to face, not with elephants but with their activities. A herd had just passed by. As we entered the dense jungles near Sitaban, we came across mercilessly trampled and crushed branches and leaves. We stopped in our tracks fearing a sudden hello from the jumbo in the narrow pathway we were negotiating.

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The spectacular sun rise in the forest!

THE FOOD AT CORBETT IRIS WON MY HEART!!

Corbett Iris is great to sample local food from Uttarakhand. The authenticity and great taste is of course a result of employing local talents. The food is simple but so delicious, I ended up suspending my dieting plan and bite off more than I could chew. The lavish breakfast (Idli, poha, jalebi, dosa, pancakes) leaves you spoilt for choice. Each dish tasted great except for the pao bhaji served like a vada pao/ burger. The muradabadi daal, a local delicacy stole the breakfast show. It’s nothing but thick moong dal (a lentil) topped with spices and coarsely chopped dry red chillies. Most of us had 2 or 3 helpings.

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The lunch was equally exciting. They sure know how to make ordinary food taste great. My favourite was Aaloo Gutka (Potatoes, fried crisp with local spices), kadhi (Silk smooth), Biryani (tastes like home), Kumauni Raita (Mustard seed powder churned with yoghurt and spices) and a very spicy red chutney.

Pic above : Roti making session (Of course I didn’t even try, only posed!)

The Kumauni themed dinner had us stuck to the food counters. We all ganged up near the

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Maduwe ki roti, warm and yummy!

roti (Indian breads) section where some of our friends tried their hand at making round rotis. Not wanting to lose my face in a game I was sure I would perform badly in, I chose not to try my hand. I instead focused my energy on the maduwe ki roti which the staff offered me. Fresh from the oven, laced liberally with desi ghee (Indian clarified butter) and jaggery, it melted in my mouth. It set the tone for more unusual hors d’oeuvres on the way such as the unique Mushroom cappuccino soup, mug wrapped in a leaf. It is a soup with mushroom bits and the texture of a cappuccino) The many chats and chaats (Street food) kept us engaged before the main course showed up. The main course, again Kumauni comprised Bhat ki Chulkani aka Bhat ki Daal , Jhingora rice and kheer (rice and milk desert) thoughtfully served in a bowl lined with a leaf. The Kumauni theme dinner and set up is organized every Saturday.

 

Pic above : Mushroom cappuccino soup, hearty breakfast and muradabadi daal. I overate!

The time we had at Corbett Iris spa and resort was memorable. Set in the middle of jungle one can swim in the pool here, indulge in spa and body massages, do adventure activities, eat local Kumauni cuisine, follow Ramayana and Jim Corbett trail, take a village walk and safari, enjoy musical nights and of course stay in luxurious room. All this for astonishingly low prices for a luxury property like this!

Here are some of the very impressive steps Corbett Iris Spa and Resort has taken to promote responsible tourism, eco tourism via their CSR:

  1. In the vicinity (Powalgarh Conservation Division) Iris is the first one to install STP. It’s heartening to know that they are reusing the water for the gardening.
  2. When the land was bought, it had many fruit trees including-Mango, Aamla (gooseberry) , Jack Fruit and Fig. The cottages and other public areas, including the pathways were designed in such a way that none of these trees were cut down. Almost all of the trees, retained produce fruits. All this fruit is used in the resort itself in different dishes. Instead of chopping off the trees, they were made a part of the landscape. The best example of this was when I entered spa. A mango tree was right there in the middle of the spa and added to the aesthetics of its interiors. They incorporated it in the building during construction. The many mango trees lend a delectable character to the resort especially when I visited in April. It’s the time when mango trees are loaded with tiny fruits.
  3. Iris management has encouraged local villagers for employment. The best part is they pick raw manpower, train them and retain them as their employees. To our amusement we discovered that almost all of the staff (F&B production and service/housekeeping/Front Office) can sing and dance. Their versatility was evident on the wonderful Kumauni dinner night when we were treated with melodious folk music and dance of Uttarakhand. 4)    They have encouraged local villagers to construct houses, which they have taken on rent and IRIS employees are staying there.
  4. In spite of Iris management sourcing the milk ( as it is required in bulk for guests) from market, they have engaged a villager who is supplying them milk for the staff cafeteria.
  5. Recently on the earth day they have planted trees in prompt places ( school and community hall in village). All the villagers joined hands with them and they have initiated cleaning of the village.
  6. On every Thursday and Saturday, there is a local bazaar (vegetables and other eatables) which is mainly organised by villagers. Iris management initiated purchase of vegetables from them instead of running to Ramnagar, the nearest town.
  7. During the village walk, we were taken to a tea shop in core village area for a stop over. It was heart warming to learn that the main purpose of serving tea during our evening walk is to promote the humble shop, owned by a villager.
  8. Iris management has firmly thought of starting a NGO, the purpose is just to ensure the upliftment of village Kyari and ensure ‘Clean Kyari Green Kyari’

For booking, tariffs and address please click on this link

Related blogs : 

Ziplining in Corbett

Body Surfing in Corbett

Ladder Climbing in Corbett

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The forest!

Note: I was hosted by Corbett Wild Iris Resort and Spa.  The resort conducts many such adventure sports within the forest. Check their website for more info or ask me in commenst below. I was accompanied by travel blogger/journalists Mrs. Alka Kaushik, Mr. Dipanshu Goyal, Ms. Parnashree Devi, Ms. Swati Jain, Ms Suhana Sajwan

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WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.