Parvada Bungalows, a boutique luxury property, in the lap of the viridescent South Gola range of Kumaon, was my home away from home for a couple of days and here are my thoughts on this punctilious property and its people.
As our train entered Kathgodam railway station, there was an anticipation in the air; of eagerness to disembark and kickstart my debut trip to the Kumaon region of Devbhoomi. Uttarakhand is fondly and rightfully called so by its local people owing to the influence of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in the everyday living of the populace as well as the region’s tryst with ancient history. Though I’ve been to the Garhwal region many times and have indulged in exploring Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar at leisure, this was my debut in Kumaon.
You may read my write-up on Parvada, written for Architectural Digest here
Parvada Bungalows: An abode of love, warmth and serenity
My very first tryst with Kumaon
During our approximately 180 minutes of drive from Kathogodam to the nondescript Parvada village, the landscape changed drastically from the very mundane to pristine. I realized that a trip to nature’s bounty like Kumaon is highly recommended for travellers who are green panthers like me!
Upon reaching the bosky Parvada Bungalows, a sherbet made of Rhododendron blooms turned out to be a great refresher as a welcome drink. I had tasted rhododendron chutney before while in Himachal, but the claret drink out of these Himalayan blooms was my maiden indulgence.
The chambers of Parvada
Wild Fig North
Post a quick chat with the owner and orientation around the property, I was ushered to my aesthetically and thoughtfully done-up room named ‘Wild Fig North’. Rightly named so, as it had a wild-fig tree growing in-front-of its porch. With floor-to-roof glass windows that allow ample natural light to flow in and wooden flooring to keep one warm, the room was a treat to the senses. The chic and simple decor that made for a minimalistic interior rendered a clutter-free look to my space.
The attic had additional beds with its own attached restrooms. Going by the size and facilities, both the Wild Fig North and South rooms can easily accommodate a family of four, while also providing each of them their own private space.
With no distractions in the form of television or Wifi, I was unknowingly on a detox-getaway from a toxic city called Delhi. The other cottages were equally pleasing and comfortable while also being wheel-chair friendly.
A Culinary haven called Parvada Bungalows
The most integral part of any comfortable holiday apart from stay option has to be the victuals. Parvada Bungalows scores high on this aspect, as guests are treated with fresh and organically prepared dishes, chutneys, accompaniments and beverages. Parvada Bungalows bakes its own bread, sources organic honey from self-help groups run by the locals, while almost all the organic assemblages in their fruit platter are seasonal and locally grown fruits, and, most often plucked from their own orchards!
The twilight saw us either venturing on immersive guided walks or a lazy stroll across the hamlet of Parvada during our sojourn. With blooming fruit orchards and vegetable farms grown on terraced fields, the village of Parvada perennially looks bountiful. Once, a sudden nip in the air made us scurry to the comfort of the dining hall back at the Parvada Bungalows, to be treated to some much needed Pahari-Chai accompanied with pakoras(fritters), freshly baked cookies and chocolates. Oh Ya! and, on the first day, we gorged on the Katori chaat of the region, that looked very similar to the basket chaat of Lucknow.
The management at Parvada Bungalows not only believes in providing wholesome food to its guests but also makes sure they are up-close with Kumaoni cuisine. So, look forward to degust their lip-smacking Kumaoni thali for lunch, as well as, attend their special in-house culinary class on Kumaoni cuisine during your stay.
A day at Parvada Bungalows
Thankfully, our days at Parvada Bungalows always started with insightful Yoga sessions under the tutelage of an experienced Patanjali Yoga guru. The sessions were invigorating and got us closer to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our body much better.
Tip: Do get in touch with Parvada Bungalows to know more about their exciting Yoga Packages.
These sessions were followed by a quick shower, satiating our taste-buds with some freshly prepared breakfast and another round of the lip-smacking Chai.
Things to do in and around Parvada
On most of the days we went sight-seeing, post our filling breakfast. There are ample things to see and experience in and around Parvada. Parvada Bungalows is ideally located wherein Mukteshwar, Jaageshwar dhaam, Almora et al could be covered on a day-trip.
If you just want to indulge in the luxury of nothingness, then spend your time in the well-stocked Victor lounge that has traditional board games and a well-stocked library.
Interested in long walks? Well, then I would suggest you go for a short relaxed stroll to the Baalughat waterfalls that are nearby Parvada. The trail is breathtaking, soothes the senses with its calmness and serenity and is pleasing to the eyes.
Else, like me, venture towards the other side of the Parvada village, at the brink of cockcrow. The much needed morning saunter led me to explore the sylvan South Gola range landscape. With gurgling streams, blossoming flowers of the apple orchards, moos of the morning cows accompanied by the bawls of chirpy calves, fluttering butterflies and home to exotic Himalayan birds, the village of Parvada comes alive at dawn.
The days of ours usually ended with star-gazing, exchange of thoughts, animated discussions and enjoying the idea of ‘lollygagging’; while on many occasions, the affable and hospitable Ms.Vasudha Sodhi (owner of Parvada Bungalows) was kind enough to share anecdotes around their boutique home that has since then transformed into a trusted resort and a hub for running her welfare programmes. From scouting for the perfect land to creating the blueprint, we discussed everything around the property and under the sun while at the dinner table as both Vasudha and Caron(estate manager) are great deipnosophists!
On one of the days, the local village band enthralled us with their folk songs and stories at the campfire. Listening to the rustic melodies, understanding the lyrics of the soulful songs and hearing to the stories, one cannot but accept the fact that these mountain people are the richest amongst all of us- living close to nature, respecting and protecting it and our culture in spite of facing hurdles. Sometimes, I feel we are living such a mediocre life amidst all the available luxury at the expense of the mountain people- cutting down their trees, consuming their share of water, polluting their air and thus damaging their very existence! Think…
Thoughtful gestures by the management of Parvada Bungalows that left an indelible impression
- Message cards accompanied by home-made chocolates placed in rooms.
- The estate manager and staff accompanying guests on village walks and on short trails.
- A keen and smiling staff who are always on their toes and ever ready to help the guests.
- Organic food, placement of umbrellas in rooms and little birdhouses in and around the property and orchard.
- It is a pet-friendly place apart from being wheel-chair friendly. You can find bird feeds as well on various trees around the estate. The peeps at Parvada Bungalows have been thoughtful in planting and growing trees like silver berry, hisalu and kaaphal which attract the most beautiful bird species, thus helping in pollination without disturbing the eco-system.
- The Victor lounge with a well-stocked library of books.
Parvada Bungalows and its social ventures for community welfare
The kind ones at Parvada Bungalows have taken upon themselves the task of sustainable development and responsible tourism in the village. The social initiative of ‘Seakho’ is helping the womenfolk of the village to become skilled and economically independent by teaching them crochet and knitting. So, why not buy a few knitwears while on a trip to Parvada? Check with the manager at Parvada Bungalows to know the availability and cost of the wares during your stay.
Apart from being the best stay option in Parvada, I consider it the ideal place to spend your vacation even when visiting Mukteshwar. Not convinced? Well, do have a look at the map and see for yourself how conveniently located is the property of Parvada Bungalows!
Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of Parvada Bungalows as much as I revelled in my stay at this abode. Plan your next getaway with Parvada and do feel free to get in touch with me or the folks at Parvada Bungalows in case of any queries. We shall be more than happy to guide you 🙂 Happy holidays…
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Parvada Bungalows on a familiarization trip to the place. However, the views expressed in this review are my own and have not been influenced by the hosts.
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