Experience the blissful serenity of the Hills in Ramgarh
One of the biggest benefits of living in New Delhi is the ability to go on 2-3 day trips to the hills. After an action-packed and stressful time at work, if you need to kick off those shoes, sit back and just read a book, then Ramgarh is the place to go.
About the Colonial Bungalows:
Ramgarh was my top pick because I have always had a wonderful experience with Neemrana’s properties. Neemrana Hotels is a chain of semi-luxury / luxury hotels that have made age-old heritage structures not only habitable, but also experiential. Each property has its distinct identity at the place that it is located. For instance, its flagship hotel at Neemrana, Rajasthan, is a restored 15th Century fort palace, with each room having its own story to tell. Similarly, the 19th Century Colonial Bungalows at Ramgarh, is a cluster of six cottages at Ramgarh that not only offer the guests a chance to relive the past, but also give way to breathtaking views of the sunrise and sunset in the hills. Additionally, Ramgarh is well known for its orchards. Each season (summer to autumn), the trees are abound with apricots, plums, peaches, pears and apples. Neemrana Hotels is well known for its orchards and its little facility that converts the fruits into various jams and chutneys.
Tip: As I mentioned earlier, the Bungalows is a cluster of 6 cottages located across the Ramgarh area. Each cottage is at a different location, so make sure you have a look online and book accordingly. The Neemrana website can get a little confusing, so please call and ask for further information in case of confusion. For instance, if you are going in a group, and want to stay at one cottage, then ask for the Ashok Vatika (you will bless me, I promise). On the website, rooms are listed separately, with the cottages in brackets, but all the cottages are NOT located in the same place. So make sure you check with the reservations team before booking.
Apart from just relishing the landscape, Ramgarh is strictly for those who want to relax and rejuvenate. By this I mean even trek of course. The Bungalows are located on hilltops, so you can explore small trails leading to the village and a river downhill. That apart, the Bungalows are a great place to sit back, relax and read a book.
Note that none of the rooms are fitted with televisions or any kind of electronic device, and power cuts are plenty so carry your own entertainment with you.
Tip: For photography enthusiasts, the perfect time to visit is when the skies are clear. I’ve always found summers and peak winters as the best time for night photography, and clear landscape photography. You will have plenty of time to toy around with your camera and capture the breathtaking views of the hills!
|Rooms||Rs. 3,500 – 7,000 (without tax) depending on the room selected.
Lower range: Ashok Vatika and Old Bungalow
Higher range: Cliff House, Vista Villa and Writer’s Bungalow.
|Travel||Train: Rs. 1,680 – 2,680 per person for chair car (return)
Bus: Rs. 2,000 – 4,000 per person (return)
Air: Easier to travel from other cities than Delhi. However, there are limited flights operating to Pantnagar Airport (Nainital). Ticket prices vary depending on the season and distance.
Taxi: Approximately Rs. 7,000 to 9,000 return (New Delhi to Ramgarh for 2-3 days).
From the train station / airport to Ramgarh taxis operate as a part of the union. Taxis cost Rs. 3,200/- (return) for a small car, from the train station to Ramgarh.
|Food||There are limited options available at Ramgarh. Our food was limited to what was served at the Bungalows.
Approximate meal costs are as follows:
Breakfast: Included in room cost;
Lunch and Dinner: Rs. 2,000 – 3,000 for two persons;
Snacks: Rs. 500 – 700 for two persons. The room cost includes High Tea
In my estimation, I would keep a budget of Rs. 8,000 – 10,000 per person for a 2-Night and 3-Day trip (all inclusive, except peak season).
Ramgarh is approximately 35 – 40 km from Nainital. So your pit stop, whether by bus, train or air, should be Nainital. From there, you can hail a taxi to take you onward to Ramgarh. Taxis are available outside train and bus stations in plenty, so there is no need to book them in advance.
My preferred mode of travel to Ramgarh is by train (only if you are at New Delhi), as it is cheap and the timing is convenient. Curiously, while booking tickets this time, I found very less options for bus travel.
As I mentioned earlier, there is not much to do at Ramgarh, and if you want to explore the surroundings, there are a couple of villages around, which you can walk on foot. So there is no need to make any car arrangements during your stay at Ramgarh to take you around. However, please make sure you book your taxi to go back to Nainital in advance, either by hiring the same cab driver who took you to Ramgarh, or by informing the reception at the Bungalows.
Ramgarh’s weather has the same cycle as any other hill town in Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh.
November – January : Cold. It snows in January and early February.
February – March : Pleasant
April – August : Hot
September – October : Hot / Pleasant.
If you want to go during the fruit season, then best time is between April and August. For off-season travellers, the best time to go is just a week or two before the holidays (like Christmas).
My constant advice for travel to the hills is, no matter what the season; always carry a sweater with you. It is hot during the day and cool during the night even on pleasant days, If you’re travelling in the colder seasons, please carry layers of clothes. In December we needed: cardigan, thick jacket, thick socks, muffler, gloves and woollen hat, as it got really cold at night.
If you’re a trekking enthusiast, I suggest lugging your boots there. While the trail is not very taxing (2 hours tops), it serves the dual purpose of preventing ankle sprains and keeping your legs warm. In the summer, trekking shoes may get uncomfortably hot, so sturdy sports shoes should do the trick.
What to eat:
Don’t miss the local food cooked at the Bungalows, especially during the cold months. Go for the local dishes on the menu, I promise they are absolutely the best. Try the badi curry and bichhu buti. The former is a preparation made of cucumber and the arhar pulse, rolled into kofta-like balls, with a red curry preparation. The latter is a local green, leafy vegetable grown in the hills that is sure to warm up the body. For breakfast, don’t miss the locally manufactured jams. The peach jam is to die for, as is the plum chutney!
As always, if you have any further questions, or comments, do write to me here. I am happy to help / answer questions / read your comments! Cheers!