Rishikesh for me has always been synonymous with Ram Jhula, Lakshman jhula, Meditation and Arti at Ganga. This perception was altered on a recent trip to the holy city to a more unexplored part of the town. Taking a break from my usual haunts , I chose Panambi Resort & Spa nestled in Rajaji National Park for my stay. Away from the orange robed mendicants, hippies in floral attires, cymbals and temple bells- Panambi was surrounded by a gigantic green cover in a sleepy small village steeped in tranquility.
After a smooth check in we were ushered into our rooms. My room was huge with a patio to boot just perfect for a sunny morning cuppa. Tastefully done in gold and brown , it was spacious enough for a family of 4. A children’s playground on the hotel ground keeps young kids busy and safe too. The location is idyllic for families who want to relax in the midst of nature , breath fresh air and explore untouched white sand banks of Ganges . If that isn’t all, there are also white felines in the neighbourhood who can be spotted on a safari. This was a revelation. The resort arranges excursions for its guests and we went to two of them.
The evening we landed we chose a village excursion where we witnessed Ganga Arti performed by children from an orphanage. The mere simplicity of the process touches your soul. Away from madding crowd, this was a new side of Rishikesh that I had not experienced before.
After witnessing a spiritual sunset against the sound of cymbals and chanting , it was time to return to the resort. On a cold winter night , Karaoke around a bonfire sounded like a great idea to spend our evening and that’s exactly what we did before retiring for the night.
Our next morning was dedicated to spotting Tigers and Cheetahs and we booked a safari through Panambi. While it was too cold to spot any feline beauty , we did come across some jackals, vibrant hued birds and deers. A temple atop a hill seemed inviting and we took this short trek which apart from its divine blessings also blessed us with breathtaking views of the jungle.
Happy and hungry we came back to our rooms for a sumptuous breakfast. One of the features of this resort was that they make the guests feel at home and very comfortable which even reflects in their meals.Be nice and ask for something out of the set menu and if possible the staff will try to fulfil your wishes. Our mealtimes were always exciting as we tried various cuisines everyday and even some of the local delicacies .
The next time you plan a visit to Rishikesh , think national park, Safari and a wholesome family holiday for which Panambi Resort & Spa is the perfect base .