My Roaming Spirit
Traveler | Photographer | Co-founder of myroamingspirit
The journey to Theog ( Himachal Pradesh ) was a planned vacation. This hamlet of less than 5,000 people is well-connected to the rest of Himachal Pradesh via National Highways 5 and 705. It started around 1.30pm from Chandigarh Airport (Punjab) which is about 150 kms to our destination.
The journey was filled with excitement, as it was going to be an action packed 4 days tour. The windows were down ( in the initial leg of our journey) music was on and 100 miles of adventure to be covered on your wheels. Inspite of the weather being distinctively windy, we pulled off at many places to admire the valley and the surrounding beauty.
We were half way through, just about to cross Shimla ( 30 kms away from Taj Theog ) as the snow started falling, it made it difficult to drive. What was a wonderful journey so far, now, has turned into once in a life time experience for us. The S-curve road and the sharp U-turns of the mountains, covered with snow made the 1hr drive to a 4 long hrs., as the vehicle wheels kept skidding over the thin ice sheets even at a speed of 10 kmph. Out of sheer joy we could not stop asking our driver ‘Sirji’ (name of the car driver) to stop the car as we were amazed by the outside view and the snowfall.
After few minutes of play with snow we were chilled to our bones, we could not even switch on the heater as the car was not a 4 wheel drive and we could not afford the engine to seize. The last leg of the journey was muddy and off-road upwards drive to the top of a hill where , 'Taj' which was recently opened, was nestled.
Don’t be fooled by the ordinary gate of the TAJ property. The ground staff escorted us on an eco-friendly buggy ( sort of golf cart ) to the Portico of the main building. The small patch of buggy ride was steep and the strong chilly winds were making it less enjoyable. But the entrance that leads to the lobby was exquisite. The fascinating warm welcome from the Team Taj, made us forget about our treacherous last mile journey. Be it the security guard or the receptionist or the Bell Boy, everyone was charged up in that cold Winter night as if the evening just started.
A surprise cake with some cookies along with light supper was arranged for us in our room as it was late in the night. My 1st experience of Taj, Theog was significantly impressive. That was the end of day 1 in Theog.
Our Day 2 was pre-planned. After having early breakfast, followed by leisure reading in the library in the lobby area, we were all set for the couple spa which could rejuvenate and revitalize our senses.
The spa setting was all designed to relax and unwind together. I will definitely recommend you to take The Soma Spa- as described in the words of TAJ – “ An ideal choice for couples, Soma therapy includes an Indian aromatherapy massage in a romantic candle-light setting. Our skilled therapists help you relax and set a soothing mood by using evocative oils for the massage. This is followed up with an indulgent rose petal bath together with a bottle of champagne to let you two enjoy time away from the world.“ TAJ Hotels- Jiva Spa
We continued our day after lunch, by following a short hike to visit to Jai Ambe Mata mandir/ Temple, a pahari form of Kali. We could not find the pandit there but our guide informs us that the inner sanctum was created during ‘the reign of the Pandavas’, but the external structure was rebuilt and taken over by a trust seven years ago. They seem to have aced maintenance and design, for the temple’s walls hold not just Hindu carvings—of Vishwakarma, Hanuman, Brahma, Kali and so on—but also Tibetan Buddhist influences in the form of twin dragons. We spend 45 minutes here, strolling around the outer corridor, clicking pictures of the valley and distant village houses perfectly nestled in the hills amidst the pine trees.
As the hike wasn't tiring, we planned an evening hike to the nearest frozen lake. The view beyond is astoundingly cinematic— terrace farms, temple towers, the lush Shivalik range with the snowy Himachal silhouetted behind. The lake is accessible most parts of the summer. But we couldn't go for it, as the roads were very slippery due to the snowfall and wasn't advisable. More so, we were told by our guide that there is a dreamy picnic spot by the lake, we need permission from villagers to camp at the spot or even light a bonfire .
We decided to spend the evening in the resort exploring the property. The resort was a secluded place and so we had our dinner in-house. This marks an end to our fulfilling day 2.