Sunday, June 20

Krish Rauni

Our 9th Mahindra Homestay, Krish Rauni at Matiana, is located just off the highway (NH22 - a.k.a. the old Hindustan-Tibet road) and has a beautiful view of the valley.

The first thing Kishore asks us when we call him to ask for directions is “Do you want to climb 100 steps or walk 100 steps on plain ground... from the car park...”. Needless to say, after the exhausted drive from Corbett we opted for the plain ground walk, we were not taking chances at 8000 ft. above sea level. But what thrilled us even more was the fact that we were going to be staying in the middle of an apple orchard.

Krish Rauni was among the busiest homestays that we had been to so far. Kishore and Shobana are great hosts and despite having 3 other  rooms booked when we were there took good care of everyone. Everyone got their privacy and everyone got their attention. Kishore is great fun and has a very interesting humorous story to tell every few minutes. Shobana is a great cook and her paneer is among the best that I have tasted... fresh, soft and cooked just right.

We reached Krish Rauni in the middle of the biggest annual event of the little village... the local deity was being escorted back to the temple in the next village after spending the last 24 hrs a temple just outside gate - where we had parked our Xylo. We were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the deiety - “very auspicious” we were told.

The rooms are very comfortable and even had a balcony that overlooked the valley... better than and LCD screen for entertainment I must say. There was a TV in the rec-room but we did not even switch it on... we were too busy playing carom.

Most of the meals were served on the terrace which over looked the apple orchard and was arms length from a nice apricot tree. We got to eat apricots for breakfast lunch and dinner. The terrace was also the centre stage for most of the activity here. We spent most of our time and Kishore and Shobana made it a point to introduce each of their guests to each other and made sure every one was chatting up like one big family.

One excursion we went on was to Hatu peak - the highest peak in that area. at 11152ft it was supposed to “quite a dangerous drive... but for you folks it will be nothing... you have driven all the way from Chennai... and across the Chakrata, Tuni road... this is nothing... “ said Kishore as he explained the sights around the place. Our Xylo took the narrow road in its stride with ample room to help other cars pass too!

He also had a very interesting story to tell of  a certain dentist in the nearby town of Theog  Padma Shri Dr. Rajinder Singh. Apparently Dr. Singh had been awarded the Padma Shri for his skills in speed typewriting and not in dentisry... “Good thing I got to know of that fact before I opened my mouth to him... my wisdom and wisdom tooth... both are safe today” jokes Kishore.

Matiana is also the place where the various Indian sports teams come for high altitude fitness training before they head off to international competitions. Needless to say the area is also famous for the apples... that keep the doctors away.

With a belly full of a great breakfast and a basket full of fresh apricots we headed off to our 10th Mahindra Homestay, Om Mahal in kangra valley near Dharmanshala.


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