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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

A trip to Himachal Pradesh

Himika Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 18, 2013
First Published: 16:44 IST(18/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:55 IST(19/5/2013)

The plush Taragarh Palace Hotel, nestled amid nature, is just the right place for a summer getaway

There are very few things that can be as enticing as a trip up to the hills in this sweltering heat. More so, if the destination is an idyllic little town dotted with bubbling streams, quaint monasteries and ringed in by snow-capped mountains.

Taragarh, a little stop near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra valley, is just that. Cocooned away from the touristy hustle-bustle that plagues most hill stations during summer, Taragarh — about an hour from Dharamsala, where one can even catch a T-20 match — promises exclusivity in the lap of nature.

The Royal Touch
The other equally fascinating reason to visit Taragarh is to spend a few days at the truly royal Taragarh Palace Hotel. Once the residence of the erstwhile royal family of Jammu and Kashmir, it is now run as a plush resort replete with old-world-charm and divine serenity.

Waking up to the calls of cuckoos is a way of life here, as is lounging in the heritage verandah overlooking the expansive greens around. This British-styled bungalow built in the 1930s, was bought over by Dr Karan Singh of the royal family for his mother Rajmata Tara Devi. The place gets its name from her. 

A perfect leisure zone
Life in Taragarh Palace moves at a leisurely pace – a luxury for most of us from big cities. Thus, if slow motion is the pace of your choice, then you could spend the day lazing by the pool, indulging in a spa session or taking a walk around the scenic surroundings.

The fast-trackers have various options like gymming, horse riding (charged separately) or playing a game of cricket in the lawns. The other thing that strikes one about this retreat is how well they have been able to bridge the gap between heritage and contemporary. Thus French windows and period furniture co-exist superbly with televisions and DVD players in the same room. Another highpoint here is the lip-smacking multi-cuisine delicacies at their in-house restaurants.

Around Taragarh
Two kilometres away, the Tashi Jong monastery is picturesque and boasts of a Tibetan restaurant and a handicraft shop. Five kms away, the ancient Shiva temple at Baijnath is popular. too. Adventure sports enthusiasts can go to Billing (35kms away) for paragliding.

FACT FILE
Where: Taragarh Palace Hotel, near Palampur, Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh. www.taragarh.com
Getting there: You can take a flight to Jammu from Delhi and drive 210 kilometres to Taragarh. Alternatively, take a train to Jalandhar and drive up
Tariff: Rs 5,000- Rs. 7,000 (plus taxes). Meals not included

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