The Drive to the hotel
The drive up to Spiti was a long one through the NH-5 in Himachal and we were looking at a destination where we could halt after Naldehra. Shimla was too close and we didn’t want to get stuck in a touristy place. So we were searching for something that provided us with all the creature comforts we wanted along with some peace, quiet and privacy. That’s when we discovered Narkanda.
A friend of our’s spoke about this property called Tethy’s Ski Resort and the name immediately rang some bells. As I pulled up to a curb on the NH, I remembered that I had heard that name somewhere and decided to google it. I found that the resort was located in Narkanda and also got a few interesting tit bits on the region.
The Tethys Sea or Neotethys was an ocean during the Mesozoic Era. It was located between the ancient continents of Gondwanaland and Laurasia, before the opening of the Indian and Atlantic oceans during the Cretaceous Period. The remnants of the Tethys sea still exist today in the Black sea, Caspian Sea, Aral sea and the Mansarovar lake near Mount Kailash in Tibet. We are assuming the name of the resort is based on the Tethy’s Sea!
Located at an altitude of around 10,000ft among the dense woodlands of pine forests, Narkanda is a much revered and sought after travel destination in Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by cute little hamlets, apple orchards, and dense forest cover; Narkanda is blessed with natural beauty.
Tethy’s, an idyllic retreat commands a splendid view of the Hatu hill in the front and small villages under it along with a stream running close-by. It presents a view of the Himalayas to the east and picturesque views of low-lying villages adding a beauty to the place. It’s a good recreational hub for travelers relaxation in the lap of nature or for those looking for adventure sports.
The resort has two buildings, decathlon tents for those who love camping, hammocks around the area for those who wish to relax in the outdoors. They also have a bonfire area where they do bonfire every day at 7 pm. But the most attractive part for me was to find a bakery counter inside the building where they make cakes, pastries, muffins etc.
The group has tied up with Extreme Expeditions for conducting various adventure sports such as skiing in the nearby Hatu peak, camping, rope crossing etc. The activities are performed under the supervision of highly experienced trainers with the proper safety harness. These guys also have fully modified 4×4 Isuzu vehicles which they especially use for this purpose.
We had a wonderful experience staying at the big room they arranged for us, with the view of the Himalayas from the balcony. After all, this will be a welcome change for travelers who usually get a view of the roads and traffic in a run of the mill hotels. This was a perfect place to relax in the ridges around the Himalayas, take in the fresh mountain air and incredible scenery.
Himachali Cuisine @ Tethy’s
During our stay there, the chef treated us to his best of the best local cuisine. We gorged on siddu (something like big momo with keema stuffing and served with ghee), Madra (a mix of white channa and paneer). Siddu is prepared with wheat flour with a stuffing of mutton inside. The flour is kept for 4-5 hours for the yeast to settle down, post which the dough is filled with veg/non-veg kheema and put on the direct flame to get a half-cooked dough. This partly cooked dough is then steamed to keep the taste and nutrients of the ingredients intact.
Madra is originally a delicacy from the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. The dish mainly consists of the soaked chickpeas (chana) or vegetables but my mom usually makes it with chickpeas and paneer. It has the essence of curd and pahadi spices and the taste is amazing. We also tried the Pahadi style Chicken which is a very simple non-veg dish. Chunks of Chicken are stir-fried and cooked with a variety of flavors and spices. Surely a foodie haven!
Staying in Nature’s Lap
I remember that we would wake up to the singing of The Schoolboy (a bird that whistles melodiously) followed by a beautiful sunrise peeking from behind the Himalayas. We spent the two days driving and exploring through the roads of Narkanda, visiting various villages and talking to so many locals out there. We even explored the nearby forest areas and the lakes along with the apple orchards which were spread across acres and acres of land.
What a beautiful place Naldehra is and on top of that Tethys is located in one of the best possible places with such a beautiful view. As the sun began to set, we would usually spend our time sitting under a pine tree in the forest watching hundreds of mountain goats return home as the Sherpas lovingly guided them home. Narkanda is incredibly picturesque, a broad valley with a stunning glistening river closeby surrounded by the snow-capped Hatu peak.
The place offers marvelous pathways through apple and cherry orchards in summers. The hills blanketed with apple and cherry orchards, create a sea of white and pink blossoms in the spring season offering spectacular views. These blossoms turn to fruits in autumn and are plucked for export. So, if you are wondering where to go this summer, do check out Narkanda and Tethy’s Ski Resort!
Post our Narkanda trip, we spent 3 days at Chitkul and you can read about our experience here.