Worldwatch: Retreat in a tent
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of urbanisation has become such a prerogative with city slickers that one is always looking for quieter and greener locales. Hidden in a little corner of the Assi Ganga Valley past Uttarkashi at 5000 ft is a retreat — Kuflon Hideaway Basics — which is exactly that.
The brain child of 30-year-old Anil Kuriyal, this resort lives up to its name of being both basic and completely hidden away from civilisation.
A 200 meter climb off the Uttarkashi main road through a thick mixed forest of Ringal (bamboo), Rhododendron and Dal-chini is the camp. Driving up the winding roads with sheer drops on either side goes well with your mood that has been building up since the time you left the plains behind.
The winding kuccha path takes you up to the area with the tents. A little further up is a quaint wooden cottage, which houses the lounge and dining areas. The cottage also has two rooms done up for those who don’t want to brave the cold.
French windows, warm rugs and low mattresses cosy up the rooms. The tents have common toilets and showers and are furnished with twin beds and two cane chairs. In keeping with the ambience there is no electricity.
But you are given lanterns. Arriving at the camp by lunch or tea lets you catch the daylight and still gives you time to unwind. Meals consist of local Garhwali cooking. Treks are extremely popular here, with the many meandering paths going into the high mountains.
A trek to Dodital, which is at 10,000 feet, can be fixed the next day. While that is one of the longer treks, you could also opt for short ones. A bird-watching trip along the Assi Ganga stream early in the morning can be rejuvenating. If you’re lucky you might catch the sight of dippers, white-capped redstarts or that rare Himalayan kingfisher.
At noon, you can pack lunch and sit by a secluded water pool above the retreat. Despite being freezing cold, this private pool is fun and you can even get your chai or coffee served there.
An excursion to the Kuflon village will give an insight about the local life. Panoramic views of snow- capped peaks can bring a great relief to those tired urban eyes. When you wake up to a brilliant sunrise over those mountains every morning you will feel that the healing process has already started taking place.