by Shilpa Raina
The pitter patter of rainfall woke me up from the half-dreamy, half-dazed, half-fatigued slumber. I had taken an overnight Uttarakhand State Transport bus to reach Almora and it definitely wasn’t the wisest thing to do. Quick relief came when I took a cab to Kasaar Devi, a hilltop village, just 20 minutes away from Almora. My final destination: Kasaar Jungle Resort.
My body was aching after a long, uncomfortable journey and those 15 minutes in the cab were simply pleasure. The early morning cool breeze was caressing my face and pregnant clouds hung heavy in the air. My eyes started drooping and in no time, I heard the music and an assault of raindrops on my face.
The entire valley was slowly shrouded in mist. The sight of green surrounds, the scent and feel of fresh air and the picturesque beauty all around me worked like energy drink and instilled in me a newly-found vigor. The road to Kasaar Devi is clean, with curves and a green view, good enough to capture one’s attention. The driver told me that the destination was near and an upward slope would take us to my abode for one night and day stay at Kasaar Jungle Resort. I don’t know what came upon me, that I told him to drop me on the main road (which goes to Binsar) and decided to climb up the winding stretch ahead.
The decision to walk the stretch in that light rain turned out to be the first good decision I made during this trip. Walking through the verdant deodar and pine trees, following a swirling pathway amid heavy mist and listening to the music of the rain hitting the cemented path was like a journey I was taking within. As I got closer to my destination, I was clear that this memory was going to stay with me for a long time.
Kasaar Jungle Resort
The neat-looking resort is divided into several blocks and is built at multiple levels. Spread across six acres, the resort was built 15 years ago, but its modern architecture and design belie this fact. The tasteful juxtaposition of colours (like deep maroon meets yellow) and one wall just done in stone – a pattern followed in each room — reaffirms our observation. In fact, what is really interesting is the property owners have displayed their love for art in full glory by displaying artistic works (mostly abstract) in every room.
The blocks too are divided into different segments – family, executive and deluxe rooms and each comes with its own insignia. For instance, a family room has an attached small room for a child and executive rooms have more space for discussion zone.
Then there is also an option of duplex and what a wonderful delight it was to imagine families living together under one roof, in a resort! This one comes with a kitchen too. So, eat, cook and make merry. “We first built one block only and as influx of tourists increased, we started adding other blocks,” says Vaibhav Agrawal, director, Kasaar Jungle Resort who gives credit to his father for being a visionary.
Jokes apart, this property had hidden surprises for me at every corner. While the thick foliage of trees had accompanied me till I reached the resort, the cover of trees continued at the resort as well. This is because they have paid special attention to green cover and tried their best to build a space where nature and architecture co-exists. And, one of the biggest testaments of this was is Room no 505, where I had stayed. It is a family room and once you go to the balcony, thick, rounded and coarse trunk of a tall pine tree kisses its wall. When was the last time I had intentionally touched the trunk of a tree? Well, frankly, I don’t remember. But, touching it gave an assurance that I was close to nature.
More on property
Their rooms are as it should be: minimalistic. On each floor of the family blocks are two rooms, hence the privacy is guaranteed. Since, I was travelling in off-season (August), a quaint silence had descended on the sprawling resort. From the window of my room, panoramic view of the Himalayas was crystal clear. Though, in monsoon, sight of these peaks is always shrouded in clouds and mist, I could gaze for hours at the army of clouds marching hurriedly in the sky towards an unknown destination. This too, I could do lying down on my bed (what a strategic location). I did sleep well after resort exploration, which also lead me to their meditation zone and a park meant for both children and family.
And, how could we miss the food. Though I am always skeptical when it comes to ordering local food but after a tedious journey, I had plans to relax in the resort. So, I looked at the menu and was delighted to see that they have ‘kumaoni special’. There, itself, I ordered ‘Bhatt Ki Churkani’ and ‘Bhaat’ (rice) for lunch; ‘Rajma’ (local), ‘Aloo Gutka’ and rice again for dinner. And, trust me, everything that was served to me was different and delicious. So, would highly recommend you order one of these.
Around the resort
There is a lot for one to explore around the resort area. My advice would be to explore the nature trails. There is a lot in store for the birdwatchers as this area is rich in both flora and fauna. We also recommend you visit the ancient Shiva temple in Jageshwar, which is 36 km from Kasaar Jungle Resort. It is the 8th Jyotirlinga and holds great reverence among the locals, hindus and Shiva worshippers across the world.
The address: Binsar Road, Near Kasaar, Devi Temple, Almora, Uttrakhand – 263601
For reservation, contact: +91-9560937103, email: email@example.com
By Road: Take a State Tourism bus to Almora. From Almora, you can hire 6 or 3 seater rickshaws (9 kms, 20 mins, Rs 150) to Kasaar Jungle Resort, Nagaon.
By Train: You can take an overnight train. We recommend Ranikhet Express (Train No. 5013) that runs between Old Delhi and Kathgodam or Uttarakhand Smprk Kranti Express (Train No.5035) or even, Kathgodam-Anand Vihar AC Express. (Train No. 14011)
By Air: The nearest Airport is Pantnagar (135 Km). Presently operational only in summer.