After our few days walking between the villages of the Kumaon Valley, it was time to move on to 360 Leti, Shakti’s stunning mountain top retreat high in the mountains of India.
The drive took five hours but every now and again we stopped to take in the sights including this local wedding party. The group were escorting the groom to the bride’s house. Grandad was dressed in his western jacket whilst the ladies were all in their best saris and jewellery including some interesting nose rings.
The last hour of the trip to Leti is on foot….uphill!
The guides were wonderful with one slowly leading the way and the other bringing up the rear. We were grateful for passing traffic on the narrow path that enabled us to take a breather
I can’t say the walk was easy, but the views were inspiring. All of a sudden the guide stopped and pointed to where we were heading. The day was overcast but we were still able to spot the glass and wood chalets that were to be our home for the next few nights.
Perched on top of the mountain at an altitude of 2200m, Shakti Himalaya has built four fabulous cottages and a central dining, living room. The views over the valley and the Himalayas are simply stunning. Each chalet has a different view but all are the same in their simple comfortable design. I particularly loved the outside sitting area each chalet had where relaxing with a book will never be the same.
A table set with white table cloths and candles greeted us for dinner that night. The meal was stunning. How do they do it! Hoping to take some of these secrets away with us, a cooking lesson was organised for the next day!
The intrigue of a surprise breakfast meant that we were all on time for our walk the next morning. At times the narrow path became a bit precarious but after seeing some of the village ladies walking along the path carrying heavy loads, we soon forgot about the long drop down the mountain! These women bring supplies to and from from the furtherest villages a couple of times a day.
Our picnic breakfast was set under the rhododendron trees with a beautiful view of the waterfall and small traditional flour mill.
It was hard moving after a wonderful breakfast but knowing that magnificent views were to be had from the Shiva Shrine, we continued on. They were truly stunning. Unfortunately the only photo I have includes me! At least it says “I was here”!!!
There are a couple of optional walks that you can do from Leti but most of them take you down into the valley which means that, at some stage, you have to come uphill!! Relaxation and a cooking class seemed like a great option!
Time flew far too quickly and before long we were saying our goodbyes to the wonderful staff and taking the trek back down the hill to where the car was waiting to take us back to Kathgodam and the train to Delhi. As a farewell, the clouds parted and we glimpsed the famed Himlayas
It was hard leaving this beautiful lodge and I vowed to return.
A few years have passed and I still have not been back but one day…..I will return!
Is this a holiday for you?
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