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Five mountain retreats

With holidays around the corner, children are going to look for some fun‘n’frolic. Here are some places where families can have fun together and be in sync with Planet Earth

The Golden Tusk

Imagine some ‘me’ time without any shouts and squabbles as the kids are busy watching a movie or painting in serene, sanitised surroundings. The Golden Tusk offers a plethora of activities for children. The family-owned resort is located close to the Jhirna and Dhela gates of the Corbett National Park. With a playground comprising swings, basketball court and space to run around, the kids can enjoy a happy time in the midst of happier surroundings. And then there are adventure activities such as flying fox, rappelling, spider climbing, ladder climbing and wall climbing.

For the creative kids, there are pebble painting classes in the morning and cooking classes in the evening. Children learn how to make simple stuff like sandwich, making high-tea in the garden an exciting affair.

For slightly older kids, there’s table tennis, pool table, chess and books. With two swimming pools and many options for accommodation, the resort is quite a hub. And your little one might enjoy a bite from the kids’ buffet. There are kids’ chairs in the restaurant. With trees, birds and butterflies and a village close by, a stay here is quite a chilled out one.

Aahana — The Corbett Wilderness

Rooted in indigenous practices, the philosophy here is to become one with nature. Everything in this land is creating a balance between man and nature. Ponds, flowers, herbs, tress, naturopathy and good food, Aahana is quite a lesson in how to go back to your roots the modern way. The resort has a kids’ play room, badminton and football zone.

If you want the child to get a good dose of animal love, then they could even learn how to milk a cow here. There is a gaushala and organic herbs and vegetables are grown. The pavements have porous stones for the water to seep in and small holes for creepy crawlies to pass through without falling dead under human feet.

There is a naturopathy centre too, where you can discuss your major or minor ailments. Morning yoga is encouraged as is physical well-being. The resort is a good visit for kids as they get an idea of practices that have been in sync with the environment. There is a bio-gas plant, compost pits and an indigenous sewage treatment plant in which no chemical is used.

The resort employs many local people and the ambience is restful. With a swimming pool and dining in the garden, it does make for an idyllic retreat.  Walks, safaris and nature lessons are aplenty.

The Chalets

Walk  through the tunnel, play hide ‘n’ seek in the layered mountain steps or simply enjoy the sun lying on the swinging hammock. A trail of deodars all around and pine cottages to stay in, The Chalets is a delight for families. Good food, plenty of birds and cool air, that’s what you get besides the much-needed rejuvenation.

Well known for the pinewood cottages and a revolving restaurant, The Chalets is located close to the Naldehra Golf Course. Manicured lawns, an indoor heated swimming pool, spa, gym, and a separate room for kids’ activities, this hilly resort offers a sweet holiday. Each chalet offers privacy and gives the impact of being in the woods. Breakfast in the open is the way to open your morning, watching the sun rise over the mountains and filling the sky.

The interesting part is the loft room for children with a separate bathroom. And there’s a fireplace too! Each chalet is dedicated to a traveller. The pinewood came from Finland and the chalet can be dismantled too.

Don’t forget to order your meal before you climb the revolving restaurant—360º Top of the World.  A forest walk is a delight. Or you could go for pony rides near the golf course.

Tirthan Anglers’ Retreat

The 6-room retreat is a delight for it’s away from the concrete walls of the world. Amid greens, on the banks of river Phalachan, here you are taught to catch trout and then release it. Besides this, you can go for treks, enjoy some slow walks and even head to the Great Himalayan National Park. This is the place to see the butterflies and myriad variety of birds.

It’s also where bonfires are a norm and home-cooked fresh food makes you feel on top of the world. The breeze and the trees and the chirps bring you back to life. The area is good for all kinds of treks, from mild to the hard. You could do a day’s drive to Jalori Pass, Rudrapur Fort and the truthful village of Sarchi.

The children would also love to see the way the villagers live, breed trout and grind flour with the rustic water mill. If you plan to simply laze around, then just carry a lot of books and toys. Sleep under the tree and let the children revel in the sunshine. There’s sheep, hens and dogs for company, besides the handful of humans.

Marigold Sarovar Portico

Say goodbye to the now crowded and erstwhile summer capital of the British — Shimla, and drive just 15km ahead to find peace. Welcoming with colourful flowers and sloping red roofs, this hotel offers respite from noise and rush. With clouds, forests, apple orchards and apple research centre, this is the place to know about fruits and flowers and watch the sun through the mountains.

With special cottages for larger groups or families, family rooms, there is a dedicated room for kids. They can paint, do some arts and crafts or go to the badminton court, play basketball or simply roll in the grass.  The beautiful environment and the clean air wash out the stress and the fresh food invigorates. If you don’t feel like doing anything, go for a swim or workout at the gym.  You can drive to Hatu Peak, the highest peak in that area at 3400m, see the Shilaroo Hockey Stadium, try horse riding at Kufri. Yes, even go shopping and ice-cream binging in Shimla. Walk around the owners of the apple and cherry orchards might offer you some fresh fruit, plucked right off the trees.