Pristine – this is the only world which I can think of while talking about the Eco Binsar Forest range in Almorah district. The setting was idyllic. It was serene and calm. The air was pure and the only noise that broke the serenity of the region was the chirping of the birds. This was the perfect place to be in to beat the monotony of present day life because of Covid pandemic.
The icing on the cake was the home stay “Anandmai Guest House”in Dhaulchhina, which is managed by Nandan Singh Bisht. His two sons – Devendra and Krishna – and the staff were caring. They ensured hospitality to the hilt at a reasonable price.
Our home stay, around 4 hours drive from Kathgodam, is at the edge of the forest. There is a Ashram of Anandmayee which is 1 km further up. It is believed that Ma Anandmayee stayed in that place for almost 18 days. Slowly this place became a pilgrimage for the devotees of Ma Anandmayee.
Semi-literate Nandan used to work as a helping hand in that ashram. “People used to come to the ashram and I used to help them. I used to cook and do errands for them. Many times I saw people coming from far flung areas who were turned away because the ashram did not have enough space to accommodate them. Then, I thought I should set up a small guest house for these people.
“I constructed two rooms for these people. Thus, the beginning was made and with Ma’s blessings my business is now doing well,” he said sheepishly. “I learnt the nitty-gritty of the hospitality sector from the ashram,”” he said.
What he learnt in the Ashram finds reflection in the Guest house. The rooms are big and airy, the linen is whitening white and the toilets are sparkling clean. The staff are caring who are ready to walk an extra mile to ensure that you feel at home.
During our three-day stay our routine there was set. After breakfast, we used to go trekking. Someday we used to trek to Anandmayee Ashram or the other day to Shaktipeeth. One day we went to Jageshwar – 90 minutes drive from the guest house. When we had nothing to do – we sat on the verandah or the lawn and enjoyed the beauty of mother nature. Bonfire was a regular event in the evening. We were a group of 11 people, comprising family and friends, the time flew by at the speed of light.
Three days passed in a jiffy. We decided to return with a resolve to return again.
Thank you Nandanji for taking care of us.