Living in a dome – no, not an igloo but a modern, insulated one that leaves hardly any carbon footprint in the ecologically sensitive Himalayas – is a dream. For the traveler who is concerned about the health of the planet, glamping is an excellent option, especially when it comes with stunning views of the Himalayas.
While glamping in India offers several droolworthy options, they are all in beaches, forests, or plains. Unmatched vistas on offer from Eco Glamp, high up in Kanatal, Uttarakhand, is something few other ‘glamps’ can match. More remarkably, there is the option of staying in geodesic domes – a novelty that attracts the traveler – and not just for its Insta worthiness but a range of aspects – from premium amenities to perhaps most significantly, a light footprint that is planet friendly.
“What we are offering is a completely new experience for all, be it the leisure traveler, expat community, corporate, inbound, CEO/CXO community, the honeymoon couple or even small groups looking for novelty or that getaway for once-in-a-lifetime memories with comfort,” says Sanjay Sharma, CEO, Organic Hideaways. “This is the way of sustainable living, you don’t require much time to make it, especially in areas where construction is banned.”
The resort started operations in November 2022, and there are currently eight units in the first phase (out of 17) – while a ninth is on its way to completion. The units come in two options, both of which are fully insulated to control the harsh winter weather, points out Vipin Mamgain, Co-Founder, Organic Hideaways. Apart from the six meter in diameter domes, which are actually perfect for couples, there are also the roomier, and significantly larger Himalayan Safari tents. They can easily accommodate a family, though they are cuboidal and perhaps more visually appealing inside. Significantly, unlike most tented glamping options elsewhere, which are seasonal, these tents are designed to be operational through the year.
Though the resort is built over just about an acre of land, the actual area is much more as the units are all on different levels. Each has a little attached garden area, with a swing in most cases! The dwelling units are well stocked, not just with a heater for the cold winters but also showers, closets, hot water, toiletries, coffee maker, slippers and most importantly extra blankets. Yes, despite the insulation, winters do get cold up here. The colour scheme, inside and out, is noteworthy – an interspersing of deep blue and white that adds a touch of sophistication. It would be hard not to fall in love. Or get countless pictures taken as each angle seems more alluring than the previous one.
Creditably, the resort has a multi-cuisine restaurant that offers not just the North and South Indian dishes, and even Chinese, but also local food. The kitchen can rustle up something if you have specific requests. Another thing, given the topography, you have to climb up – or down – for your meals, or indeed wherever you want to go within the resort. A two-night package currently costs upwards of ₹20K, though rates are dynamic.
What to do
Yes, Kanatal is at an altitude of 2,590 metres. Located about 75 kilometres / about two hour drive from Dehradun Airport and 40 Kms from Mussoorie, it nestles in the Kaudia range, offering majestic views of snow-capped Himalayan peaks. So feasting your eyes on unending mountainscapes is – and should be – the primary activity. Catch the sunrise – as the tallest peaks turn golden as they catch the first rays of the sun – capping stunningly beautiful layers of blue grey hills laden with wild fauna – pine, fir, rhododendron and the like. A note of caution, these are almost virgin jungles, so wild fauna abound, from harmless deer to the more potentially dangerous big members of the cat family that populate these slopes. That said, the forests are beautiful and almost unparalleled if solitude is what you are looking for.
Given its location, Kanatal is a natural takeoff spot for a number of mountain activities – from trekking on nearby trails to a gentler jungle bathing. A nearby adventure park offers sky Cycle, zip-lining and other adventure activities. A little further on, there is the Surkanda Devi Temple, which one can trek up to, or, for easier access, take the still fairly new ropeway. A significant destination the other way is the Tehri Dam with its massive reservoir, which offers a number of water sports activities – from jet ski to speed boats and parasailing. Or just rent a boat for a pleasure ride across the sheer blue water surrounded on all sides by steep mountains that seem to stand guard against all intruders. If you are disinclined to stray far, just walk along the winding roads nearby for some more visually satiating time. Yes, your camera should find little respite. Isn’t that what you were looking for in your Himalayan sojourn?