"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine" ~ Caskie Stinnett


Apple Country, Thanedar

Romola Butalia, Editor, India Travelogue writes about Banjara Orchard Retreat, Thanedar, Himachal Pradesh, as "a place one returns to, again and again, with the same delight and joy, as the first time."
Banjara Orchard Retreat Tucked away from the proliferation of tourist destinations, that reach out to travellers with their USP and soon become just another jaded vacation destination, Banjara Orchard Retreat at Thanedar has retained that special edge that distinguishes it, making it a place one returns to, again and again, with the same delight and joy, as the first time.
More About Himachal
At a Glance

Sangla Valley
Return to Manali
Travel Diary
Road to Khardung La

Manali to Deo Tibba

View from Thanedar At 8,000 feet (2,400 m), Thanedar is 450 kms from Delhi, and about four hours drive from Shimla. That the Himachal Pradesh govt needs to do something about their roads cannot be overstated. A road that was once a delightful drive has now become a necessary evil to endure if one wants to enjoy the quiet, peace and beauty of these regions.

Thanedar is not catering to the tourist. It is simply there. The people are going about the business of their daily lives. For the visitor who wants to enjoy the abundance of nature in the Himachal Himalayas, Banjara Orchard Retreat provides an unparalleled opportunity. From here, the Satluj valley spreads below and the wide view of the mountains ahead is everyone's dream of Himalayan vistas. At the far corner, the snowy peaks beckon and remind one that the sacred Kinner Kaillash stands aloof and distant.

Stokes home The orchard country of Thanedar and Kotgarh is home to one of the first apple plantations in the country. It was here in Kotgarh in 1916 that Samuel Stokes, a social worker from Philadelphia, brought the first apple saplings to his adopted home. Depending on the season, the trees celebrate their cover of delicate apple blossoms in spring, or are laden heavy with the forbidden fruit that entices, or are in preparation for the long winters.

The walks from here are not man-made trails that are advertised, whether it is to the river or through the forests. Yet, they will remain etched in memory for years after. To truly appreciate this region, the real treat is conversations with Mr. Prakash Thakur, whose home has been enlarged and converted into this retreat. His spontaneous hospitality, natural enjoyment of people, immense depth of knowledge of the region and wide variety of interests, makes him the perfect host. There is no mistaking the keen eye that ensures that everything is taken care of, without even a sideways glance.

dining room of Banjara Orchard Retreat, Thanedar

I have usually reached Thanedar, travel-worn and tired, on my way to, or back from, Sangla. The sense of home-coming and being looked after cannot be exaggerated. I have stayed in different rooms and enjoyed each. They are not hotel rooms, each the replica of the other. They are personalised without a designer's signature that makes a mockery of everything.

Thanedar is real. I have enjoyed it. Every time.

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Contact details:
Banjara Camps & Retreats
Tel. 91 11 26855152
e-mail: info@banjaracamps.com
website: www.banjaracamps.com

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.