There’s no denying the rush of our daily lives today. Amidst the everyday hustle, it’s difficult to find moments of peace. Ironically, this creates yet another rush, one that makes us scamper to far off places. So, finding and booking a holiday that’s quiet, private, luxurious, and in the lap of nature, so you can unwind and recharge, is imperative. An hour’s drive from popular destination, Dharamshala, Rakkh Resort checks all the boxes. Offering a 360° view of the Dhauladhar mountain range, it is ideal for connecting with nature and yourself.
Opened with the thought of aiding the economy and employment of the Rakh village, the resort is made in harmony with nature. Instead of being built on razed ground, the surrounding natural landscape has been incorporated within it. This, accompanied by the local themes in decor, design, and dining, makes Rakkh a resort that amplifies its environment, not takes away from it.
As I check-in at the reception, the steep climb to my cottage after a six-hour drive seems like a task. But with the kind manager bucking me up and the fresh mountain air, the walk soon feels like child’s play. Once inside the wooden Mountain Cottage, cheerful blues and yellows welcome me. There are power rain-showers in the bathroom, and private sit-outs that are ideal for that morning cuppa. What I particularly like is the box of community-made cookies to promote the local economy, which the resort also supports by employing local staff. For a nightly foot soak, the room is equipped with a copper foot bath bowl and every evening you’ll find a hot water thermos and local Gumma salt at your doorstep. With Gumma offering benefits like detoxifying, regulated sleep, stress and muscle relief, and reduced water retention, soaking in is just the relaxation you need at the end of a long day.
Rakhh Resort’s 15 cottages and 2 interconnected rooms are spread across a hill. Where dining is concerned, the emphasis is on seasonal, local products. Indian, Chinese, and Mediterranean are the cuisines offered, and while there is a different menu for each day of the week, their affable staff will happily comply if you ask for something in specific (look out for Sunny, he’ll answer all your questions as well). Communal dining is encouraged and the only main dining hall, Dhaam, overlooks lush pine trees, and is ideal for sipping hot tea while the rain lashes outside – one of the best moments of my stay here.
There’s also the Himachali Rasoi (a mud hut) where you can brew your chai. They also host local cuisine dinners on special occasions, replete with a thali which is to be eaten sitting cross-legged on the floor. But what most guests will love is the Maggi station. There are small stations for various activities spread across the property, and this one looks over the hills as you make your own noodles at any time of the day or night; there’s also a similar juice bar.
Rakkh also offers a bunch of activities. While I tried my hand at the two available during my stay, pottery and weaving with the help of the ever-smiling Safedu Devi, there’s also wall climbing, yoga, archery, and slacklining. They also have a special games room for children, so adults can enjoy the spa or a mountain walk nearby without worry. I ventured on the Village Walk that takes one around the eponymous village. Water mills, fresh mint and chillies growing along the walkways, small water streams, farm animals, and temples act as windows to the quiet village life.
If all tat activity tires you out, Baanka (translating to ‘beauty’ in Pahari) is the in-house spa, whose trained therapists will help you become the most relaxed version of yourself. Body wraps, scrubs, steam room, there’s everything here. What worked best for me was the deep tissue massage that genuinely alleviated all stress from the muscles.
The Dorzong Monastery and Gurudwara are two of the main local attractions. And the walk here with the view of the Dhauladhars was one of the best I’ve embarked on in Himachal. About 15 years old, the monastery is a burst of colours in the deep green of the hills, and the Gurudwara-in-making has a cave that can be visited as of now–a visit that’s not just for devotees but anyone who likes to explore. Other than these, paragliding in Bir Billing, McLeod Ganj, the tea estate of Palampur, and Andretta’s Pottery, the oldest pottery studio in India, are half-day trips from Rakkh.
What I loved the most about Rakkh Resort is the flexibility it offers. Rakkh can be a laidback holiday or an arenalin filled vacation. Want to meditate? There’s a Yoga mat in your room. Want to go paragliding? They’ll arrange a trip for you. Typically, every property has an essence – what you may choose for a destination wedding may not be your pick for a rejuvenating getaway. But here, that essence is ‘visit Rakkh to be yourself’. There’s no preconceived vibe, and how subtly they create the freedom to just be yourself is one to marvel at. While for me it was a serenity-seeking stay, for you it may be a boisterous trip with old friends.