India, Luxury, Offbeat, Reviews, Unique Places to Stay, Uttarakhand, Weekend Getaways
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Te Aroha: Under The Yellow Rooftops.

Te Aroha Dhanachuli, hill station in Uttarakhand, Delhi weekend getaways

Every stone in Kumaon has a story. It speaks of the fierce spirit of the Kumaoni people during India’s freedom struggle. It carries the whiff of tea gardens that once flourished on this land. It looks humbly upon mighty Himalayan peaks that sit in the distance. This is the story of some such stones, stones that were erected by Sumant Batra back in the nineties, stones that became my abode for a weekend this July.

His love affair with travel started while he was still a child, and much like anyone who’s travelled in Kumaon, he was captivated by the charm of the lower Himalayas of Uttarakhand. In his late twenties, he fell in love with the small, obscure village of Dhanachuli. There were terraced valleys here, verdant mountain slopes covered with apple orchards, forests of pine and rhododendron, gushing rivers, small streams and waterfalls, and no development or tourism infrastructure to speak of. The locals were friendly, nay, full of warmth, and the food was delicious. Who wouldn’t fall in love?

Dhanachuli, hill station in Uttarakhand, Delhi weekend trips, Kumaon hill station

The verdant, terraced valleys of Dhanachuli.

Not very rich but very much in love, he took it a step further than you or I would. He bought a piece of land on a hilltop in Dhanachuli, found an architect, built a summer home – Te Aroha, “a place of love”, named after Mount Te Aroha in New Zealand.

Under the yellow rooftops in this place of love, we peeped inside room after room. “The Long House”, true to its name, stretched in shades of peach, with a rustic fireplace in one corner, and a bathroom whose grandeur resembled something of a doll house. “Three Steps Down” literally sat three steps down in cheerful colors, with huge glass panels overlooking the mountains. But it was “The Attic”, with an old wooden staircase leading up from the bedroom, to an attic with wooden floors and glass windows that immediately felt like home for the next three days.

Te Aroha Dhanachuli, Uttarakhand hotels, Uttarakhand resorts, Delhi romantic weekend getaway

My humble abode, with a wooden staircase leading up to the attic.

I sat for hours in my attic, watching the clouds descend to kiss the mountains that stretched before us, then descend further into the valley below to reveal the most stunning Himalayan sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. Forget writing, I was inspired to pen poetry.

Te Aroha Dhanachuli, Te Aroha India, Delhi best weekend getaways, hill stations near Delhi

Inspired to write poetry in my attic!

Little touches were everywhere. Wooden decks. Antique beds and armchairs sourced from all over India. A small library with a wide range of books and a green scooter! Quirky collections of matchboxes, miniature sewing machines and audio cassettes. Carved old wooden doors. A poker room with glass panels. A bird house (without birds) dangling on the terrace. Curious animal-shaped vases.

Te Aroha hotel, Te Aroha Dhanachuli, poker room

The poker room at Te Aroha.

We treated ourselves to juicy apples and pears that grew all over the lands of Te Aroha and in the valleys beyond, and reveled in blood-red rhododendron juice. On our last day, when we requested the kitchen staff for a traditional Kumaoni meal, there was an unmissable glow in their eyes and a wide smile on their faces. It’s true, this is where Te Aroha, the place of love, belongs. And though born and brought up in the lower Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, it is in Kumaon that my soul belongs.

Kumaon Himalayas, Himalayas sunset, Dhanachuli, hill stations in Uttarakhand

A stunning sunset from Te Aroha.

Te Aroha Dhanachuli, hill station near Delhi, Dhanachuli, Uttarakhand resorts, Uttarakhand hotels

Not a painting, that’s the view from my attic at dusk!

Practical Information:

Te Aroha hotel is located in the village of Dhanachuli. Take the Kathgodam Shatabdi from Delhi to Kathgodam, from where Te Aroha is two hours by car. Room prices range from INR 6,500 – 10,500 for two. The monsoon season is an excellent time to visit, for stunning views like on my trip in July. Find out more on Te Aroha’s website and Facebook page.

Would you like to visit Te Aroha in Dhanachuli?

*Note: Our trip was sponsored by Te Aroha. It was easy to fall in love!

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40 Comments

  1. greaky says

    What a wonderful place and a beautiful narrative. Your story is a real inspiration. Maybe someday I will realise my dream of being a constant traveller. Till then I shall sigh at your travel stories.

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  2. Beauty..such exotic locations exist in India..Unbelievable…And amazing clicks….So when is the poetry created at attic coming out 🙂

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    • Thanks Sunil! What’s unbelievable is that it’s so close to Delhi. Really thought photos like these were photoshopped, but now I know better. Haha, that poetry is for my eyes only 😉

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  3. Pradip says

    views from the room look stunning but room rents are on the higher side…also wud prefer something more rustic and elementary…lanterns/murphy radio/charpoy…

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    • I guess the luxury of the place is in line with the costs. But there are many more rustic places in and around Kumaon to choose from 🙂

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  4. “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”… Many visit these places, though few have the will , and further few the skill to pen their travels.

    The beauty of both Kumaon and Garhawal beckoning. And true, you do fall in love with it. Though right now, I am more in love with the pics of your room . Reminds me of my room back home.

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  5. Uttarakhand has special place in my heart because it’s my birthplace! I have Garhwali roots, thus, mountains naturally appeal to me. Thanks for bringing out such a wonderful story! Shivya, you always delight! Keep shining!

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    • Thanks Renuka, happy to hear you liked reading it 🙂 I was born and brought up in the mountains too, so absolutely identify with your love for them!

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  6. This sounds like such a fantastic place to stay, Shivya! 🙂 We will definitely plan to stay there for a couple of days whenever we are in Delhi next! Thank you so much for the thumbs-up!

    And, yes, lucky you! 🙂

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  10. Hi Shivya,
    First of all thanks for this wonderful and beautiful post here. How beautiful your pictures are ! No wonder you’re born and raised in the hills that why you know the humility the locals possess. I have been dying to read something like this. I have been reading the travel blogs about Almora and realized that many foreigners who come here perceive the local people as unfriendly, thanks to some taxi drivers and hoteliers who try to charge exorbitant fees. I have never been to those foreigner’s place and don’t know how people are like there. Been living in Delhi made me realize how friendly people are back there.
    you are an amazing writer and a great photographer too..!!!!!

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  11. Richa Malhotra says

    Hi Shivya,

    You have described the place so wonderfully. I am planning to visit it this month. Can you tell me if there are cabs available from Kathgodam station to Te Aroha? Let me know whats the best way to travel from station to the resort.
    Hope to have an amazing and peaceful stay there.

    Thanks
    Richa

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    • Thanks Richa! Lucky you to be visiting it this month 🙂 You can easily get a cab from Kathgodam train station to Dhanachuli, or else ask the Te Aroha folks to arrange a pick up for you. Cost wise, it works out to almost the same amount.

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  15. Ravish Jha says

    Hey Shivya…thanks a lot for sharing this. I was at my sister’s place and was discussing about your blog and how you have chosen your own path. Truly inspiring I must say. Very few have the guts to follow the heart and set it as an example for urself and others.
    In regards to this article, definitely very impressive. Stunning pictures and nice write-up. We can’t wait to go there. Hope to visit the place soon.

    Thanks again.
    Ravish

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