Nestled deep within the picturesque Jataganga valley lies the charming village of Jageshwar, located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand. It is a place where nature’s splendor flourishes and tranquillity maintains its gentle grip.
My husband and I found ourselves in need of a summer escape, and a friend’s recommendation led us to Asian Adventures. As we arrived at their suggested destination, I was immediately overcome with a sense of wonder, igniting the poet within me and compelling my fingers to dance across the pages.
Take a moment to behold this hidden gem, concealed amidst the lush Deodar forests.
In an era where forests are being sacrificed for the sake of progress, discovering a haven reminiscent of Ruskin Bond’s tales right here in India was a heartwarming surprise, leaving me breathless with delight.
Aptly named Van Serai, this cozy retreat is situated a mere 100 meters from the 14-temple complex of Dandeshwar Shiva’s abode. It marks the beginning of the trek leading to the remarkable group of 124 Shiva Temples, which houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
Van Serai’s architectural design draws inspiration from the Kumaoni style of construction. Moreover, we learned that it is an eco-friendly haven that provides warmth in winter and respite from the summer heat।
Expansive verandas at the front and rear of the property offer ideal spots to immerse oneself in the surrounding greenery and the soothing melody of the nearby Jatganga stream. Unsurprisingly, I succumbed to the temptation of capturing the Sunrise’s glory in poetic verse.
As I reveled in the landscape from the veranda, my husband and his camera embarked on a photographic adventure. Later, he confessed to losing count after reaching a hundred clicks!
Our enchantment with the surroundings momentarily clouded our sense of time, until a smiling and slightly bemused staff member reminded us to check in and partake in a hearty breakfast, as we had journeyed from afar. Laughter ensued.
We were treated to a sumptuous breakfast of delectable Kumaoni dishes at Cafe Swayambhu, where warmth and charm filled the air.
The café itself was a captivating sight, with my husband diligently documenting every detail, from the decor to the unique taps and utensils. I’ll let the images do the talking.
After our satisfying meal and a brief respite in our cottage, we decided to indulge in a playful photoshoot. Our chosen attic accommodation allowed us to stretch out and have some childlike fun, a testament to the tasteful design of Van Serai.
However, as we prepared to explore the abodes of Lord Shiva, heavy rain began to fall, transforming the landscape into a scene straight out of a fairy tale. My heart danced with joy as we embarked on an impromptu photography session amid the downpour.
It brought to mind Roger Miller’s words, “Some people enjoy the rain, while others just get wet.” Van Serai is the perfect haven for those who revel in the former.
Our spiritual journey took us to the Dandeshwar and Jageshwar temples, where we found ourselves returning to the lodge after sunset, greeted by the gentle rain and a cool breeze. It was the perfect time for a steaming cup of Masala Tea and spicy Kumaoni Pakodas. How did the chef know my taste so well? I indulged without hesitation. At Van Serai, thoughts of shedding pounds are inconceivable, as the chef pampers you with irresistible meals.
Even dinner was a delightful indulgence, and it appeared that every guest we encountered shared our enthusiasm.
The following day unfolded like a dream. We embarked on an early morning trek through the nearby forest, capturing images of the region’s beautiful birdlife and exploring the Uttarakhand government’s Eco-park. I dipped my tired yet content feet in the cold waters of the Jataganga, savoring a holiday of my choosing.
Beyond the hustle and bustle of life, we later soaked ourselves in the pure vibes and aura of their meditation center. I am sharing a few images here of the YOGA and MEDITATION retreat they organize. It is one thing you must do once in a lifetime and mark on your bucket lists!
As our vacation drew to a close, I couldn’t help but wish for more time. My husband assured me that we would return, as we had merely scratched the surface of this captivating region.
The Van Serai manager informed us about the Shiva Walks, a three-day transformative experience that locals describe as a Himalayan soul-searching journey. It combines meditation with jungle treks, night walks, and village exploration—an enticing prospect for our future visit.
I am already eagerly anticipating our return, as you can see from our joyful expressions. Thank you, Van Serai, for an unforgettable experience!!
Main Image+ Yoga Hall Image Courtesy: Asian Adventures – it manage the bookings and lodging at Van Serai