And so, to the Himalayas! After almost 3 crazy days in Delhi, last night my partner Ian and I took a magical mystery tour into the darkness and awoke today in heaven.
Our Himalayan adventure began when we climbed into a luxurious 4×4 vehicle, our driver carefully positioning his traditional headdress as if in preparation for a ritual and we began the steep,upward climb. Having landed in Dehradun airport as the sun dipped below the horizon, our journey was cloaked in darkness, with only shadows of trees visible either side of the rough, mountainous road.
Up, up and evermore up, the route passed through dusty settlements clinging precariously to the invisible hillsides and we soon could see their lights twinkling far below us. We could only guess if the few lights visible above us were terrestrial or stellar. Rusting trucks lit up like Christmas trees, and suicidal scooters racing to meet their maker, intermittently squeezed past us on their descent as we distanced ourselves from a mishmash of vehicles leaving the tiny airport, all trailing in our wake as we wound ever upwards.
Then after it seemed we could go no higher without tipping over a mountain pass, the lights and majestic entrance of Ananda Spa filled our sights. We swept through the gates and involuntarily gasped as the car turned in the driveway and we caught our first proper glimpse of the majestic Moghul’s palace that was to be our centre for the next seven nights.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed, we stepped from the car to a royal welcome from the staff. Our necks were garlanded, our souls blessed and we were ushered into the inner sanctum in awestruck wonder. The splendour took our breath away, and this sense of slight unworthiness continued as registration was completed and we were guided to our sumptuous accommodation. It appeared the staff, appearing so fresh and smart as to bely the late hour, could not do enough to be of assistance to us. A warm bath, flavourful supper and very comfortable bed awaited.
Thank you Pukka Herbs!*
*This trip was courtesy of an online prize draw, sponsored by Pukka Herbs and Ananda Spa