Te Aroha Dhanachuli: Under The Yellow Rooftops.

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

In the Kumaon Himalayas, my experience at Te Aroha Dhanachuli – a unique boutique hotel in Uttarakhand.

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, erected by Sumant Batra back in the nineties. Stones that became my abode for a rainy July weekend.

His love affair with travel started while he was still a child. 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?

Also read: Awe-Inspiring Uttarakhand Homestays: Tune Out of Life and Tune Into the Mountains

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The verdant, terraced valleys near Te Aroha 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.

Also read: Discovering Life in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand

Te Aroha Dhanachuli, Uttarakhand hotels, Uttarakhand resorts, Delhi romantic weekend getaway
Te Aroha Dhanachuli: 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. They descended further into the valley below to reveal the most stunning Himalayan sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. Forget writing, I was inspired to pen poetry.

Also read: My Journey from the Cubicle to the Road – Now in a Book

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Te Aroha Dhanachuli: 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.

Also read: Incredible Eco-Lodges Around the World – Indulge Yourself and Spare the Planet

Te Aroha hotel, Te Aroha Dhanachuli, poker room
The poker room at Te Aroha Dhanachuli.

We treated ourselves to juicy apples and pears that grew all over 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 Kumaoniย 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.

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A stunning sunset from Te Aroha Dhanachuli.

Practical Information

Getting there

Te Aroha is located in the village of Dhanachuli. Take the Kathgodam Shatabdi from Delhi to Kathgodam, from where Te Aroha isย two hours by car.

Costs

Room prices range from INR 6,500 – 10,500 for two.

Te Aroha Dhanachuli, hill station near Delhi, Dhanachuli, Uttarakhand resorts, Uttarakhand hotels
Not a painting, that’s the view from my attic at Te Aroha Dhanachuli at dusk!

Best time to visit

The monsoon season is an excellent time to visit, for stunning views like on my trip in July.

Dhanachuli to Nainital

About a 1.5 hour drive by car.

Would you like to visit Te Aroha Dhanachuli someday?

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

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40 Comments

  1. 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.

    1. Thanks Sameer! I hope that someday is soon for you. Till then, I’m glad for your virtual company in all my travels ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I Respected you,u r a great youman being

  2. Beauty..such exotic locations exist in India..Unbelievable…And amazing clicks….So when is the poetry created at attic coming out ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Awesome place, Great post and photos.

  4. 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…

    1. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Prachi! Oh yes you must. It’ll be my turn to be jealous then ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. “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.

    1. You have a room like that back home, with an attic overlooking the mountains? Whoa. When can I come stay? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Anytime you lile;-) . I am an ex-josephite too , 2006 batch. Though now I am based in Nainital.

  6. 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!

    1. Thanks Renuka, happy to hear you liked reading it ๐Ÿ™‚ I was born and brought up in the mountains too, so absolutely identify with your love for them!

  7. mandayamr says:

    Lovely pics…lucky you ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. This sounds like such a fantastic place to stay, Shivya! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Icy whites, verdant greens
    Rustling pages, steaming tea
    Where the Himalayas meet a happy me

  10. Just love it, it look so magical! Thanks for sharing this ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. With these kind of pictures and words, how can one resist temptation! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. 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..!!!!!

  13. 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

    1. Thanks Richa! Lucky you to be visiting it this month ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

      1. Richa Malhotra says:

        Thanks Shivya ๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. this is heavenly Shivya! I am definitely going here sometime soon! thanks for introducing me to this slice of heaven ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. A nice place for honeymooner’s. Been there….. last November….. Can’t describe the view from room….

  17. 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

  18. Love the pictures and I and Priya went to DanaChuli after reading your story about it and loved it.

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