HIMALAYAN HIDEAWAY GREEN SPIRIT
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Follow the winding road from Rishikesh up the west bank of the Ganga. Below you the glacier-fed river is a glorious emerald green. Forests cover the slopes on either side and along the roadside rhesus monkeys scratch shamelessly or scavenge for scraps.
About 19 kms from Rishikesh a modest brass sign on the right-hand side announces the “Himalayan Hideaway”. Go down some steps under a leafy arch and you’ll be welcomed by a smiling Assistant Manager, and a cooling drink of ruby-red rhododendron juice.
The perfect retreat
Perched above the Ganga, the Hideaway is a Jungle Lodge with cottages and gardens extending over an acre of sloping ground in the Shivalik hills. Opened in October 2003, this tranquil haven is the brainchild of Yousuf Zaheer and Ganeve Rajkotia, the couple who own and operate the adventure company Himalayan River Runners. Their tented Ganga Base Camp is just 10 minutes down the road on a large beach of silvery sand.
Ganeve and Yousuf are passionate about eco-friendly travel, adventure and the natural world. Asked about the vision for the Lodge, Ganeve says, “When we set up the Hideaway, we meant to have it as an extension of the Ganga Base camp, for those who enjoyed the outdoors but wanted a certain degree of comfort, like attached bathrooms! The rest has grown organically from this simple vision.”
The Lodge has four “River View” and four “Forest View” rooms, one stand-alone room (peaceful for honeymooners) and one duplex room which reminded a visitor from the UK of a “classic Welsh cottage”.
Harmony with nature
Two talented friends turned Ganeve and Yousuf’s vision into reality. The well-known architect Pradeep Sachdeva created stone cottages that fitted perfectly into the hillside, while native plants gardener Pradip Krishen designed grounds filled with trees, climbers and plants native to the Shivaliks. Now mature, this botanical garden is a microcosm of the jungle around the Lodge and a haven for birds.
Visitors can sit on the balconies of their pretty cottages, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the glorious views and watch sunbirds sipping nectar or nuthatches creeping about the tree trunks.
Through this blog we will introduce the many delights of Himalayan Hideaway. We’ll meet the people that make it possible and the wildlife that shares the space. We’ll explore the beautiful surroundings and discover all the wonderful things that can be done using the Lodge as a base.