An Unconventional Holiday in Haridwar at Aalia Resort

There are unexplored destinations. Then there are unconventional ways of seeing a much explored place.

When we told our friends we were off to Haridwar for a weekend getaway, the reactions were all predictable. The holy land is, after all, no place to enjoy a luxurious, adventurous break. Allow us to present an alternative Haridwar to you.

We did nothing one does in Haridwar (read go to the ghats, float a diya, visit temples, attend aarti). We did not even go to Rishikesh for an adrenaline rush. Yet we experienced adventure. For the first time, we saw Haridwar in a different light. Thanks to our weekend stay at the Aalia Resort. 

Resort Review:

Set in the beautiful Shyampur village in Haridwar district, the resort offers a reprise from the hustle bustle we usually associate with Haridwar. The road to the village is new and welcoming; it is, however, narrow and adventurous. A section of this road has actually been constructed by the resort, a definite boon to the village economy.

Aalia is a beautiful property.  A river side resort with villas, beautifully landscaped lawns and a backdrop of green farmland, one feels one is standing inside a picture postcard. The staff is warm and welcoming. The rooms been built in separate villas. Each villa has three rooms, a leisure room and a reading room – ideal for family outings. The resort also offers a butler service. The rooms are comfortable and offer outside seating space as well. The views from all the rooms are simply majestic. Feel free to meditate as the sun rises from behind the hills. Nature is simply at its best. I thoroughly enjoyed the view from the balcony of the restaurant while dining there. Lush green fields with fresh mustard satiated my aesthetic appetite.

With a spa, a swimming pool and a helipad, the resort claims to offer five-star facilities.

 

Activities

Although the resort is ideal for simply kicking off those boots and subjecting yourself to a weekend of relaxation and luxury, the resort offers adventure activities as well. The activities range from your standard badminton and croquet to adventure trails and jungle walks.

Those looking for spirituality, can enjoy the Ganga aarti at the resort itself.

And if you’re looking to really unwind, go for a massage at the spa. Be warned, the spa area consists of two cabin-ish rooms and not a lavish space. However, the therapists are well trained and ensure complete relaxation.

Rajaji National Park

Jungle safari to Rajaji National Park brought in the element of adventure during our weekend retreat in Haridwar.

The bumpy ride began with a promise of spotting at least one ferocious member of the cat family. We excitedly moved our head in all possible directions to get that adrenaline rush. The excitement mellowed after a few kilometers of banal search. Pug marks is all that we got. While leopards did not seem keen to meet us, other fauna at the national park obliged. Rare birds, wild boars, hyenas, barking deers caught our sights. We observed the animals in herds having their own weekend breaks, perhaps. Friendship between langurs and deers amused us. The guide told us stories of how langurs warn their dear friends of a prey on the prowl. We saw a proof of their camaraderie while a langur happily showered meals (leaves) for his friends. In the end of the safari, we closely observed three Asian elephants and sambhar busy in their own worlds. “The elephant is mostly aggressive. She is surprisingly calm today,” the guide spoke breaking the silence we both were consumed in. [The ride will cost approximately Rs 3000 for two people]

If fauna is not your thing, there are other ways of getting adrenaline rush on this holiday. You can take off to Rishikesh for white water rafting. I recommend staying here and enjoying off-road adventures on ATV provided by the resort or mountain biking or going for a nature walk.

Those looking for spirituality, can enjoy the Ganga aarti at the resort itself.

And if you’re looking to really unwind, go for a massage at the spa. Be warned, the spa area consists of two cabin-ish rooms and not a lavish space. However, the therapists are well trained and ensure complete relaxation.

Food

A must-have here is the club sandwich and mutton burger. Other than that the food at the resort is not one of its USPs. The menu has all the options to please international palate but the taste is not. More flavour in the dishes is just what it needs. The ambience, however, is delightful. Enjoy breakfast watching the green fields and enjoy bonfire on a winter evening with snacks and cocktails. The resort can also arrange for a private romantic dinner by the pool. Replete with butler service and breathtaking décor, it has all what you need on a romantic getaway. (It can be arranged for Rs 5000 onwards).

Benefitting the locals

Speaking with the locals it was nice to see an admiration for the local administration and what it was doing. Whether it was providing training to locals for eco-tourism and wildlife or helping them setup home stays, the tourism in the area seemed to be benefitting.

With run of the mill resorts mushrooming everywhere, Aalia feels like a breath of fresh air. It represents a way of experiencing an explored destination in a completely unconventional way. On the downside, the resort is priced a tad on the high side and the same theme seems to be trending on the food. Barring that, Aalia makes for a perfect stop for a peaceful weekend.

Tariff: Rs 16000 for 2N/3D onwards

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