Nivedita Sharma reports from ‘India’s first private forest reserve’
How about a getaway in the lap of nature, with adrenalin-pumping adventure sports thrown in? Kikar Lodge in a forested part of northern Punjab may be just the place.
After two hours of an exhausting bumpy road ride from Chandigarh, 70 km away, when visitors enter the lodge nestled in the Shivalik foothills in Ropar district, their discomfort and body aches vanish thanks to the beauty of the place.
"The Kikar Lodge being India's first private forest reserve, we wanted to provide the guest with all the facilities possible under one roof or in one area. The idea was to provide the guest all the desired activities so that they do not get bored while staying with us," says The Kikar Lodge CEO Amrinder Singh Chopra.
The best time to reach is around breakfast and line up the activities one wants to indulge in. If a quad bike ride through the forest on marked trails is fun, a night safari in an open-top gypsy is thrilling.
If that is not enough to satiate the exploratory streak in you, go for rappelling, paint ball, mountain biking and camel safaris or a 30-km hiking trail.
For bird lovers, the property spread over 1,800 acres in Ropar district offers rich possibilities in the lush Ropar wetlands, besides horseback riding.
Chopra said he chose Punjab because the place has always had its share of adventure seekers.
After all the physical activities, you can retire to well-equipped air-conditioned cottages. As many as 30 cottage accommodations are lined up with different views - pool view, lake view and forest view - to choose from. One can also ward off the tiredness at the forest spa.
Visitors can re-charge themselves with the appetising food spread at the private dining area, The Den.
"We have a staff of 72 members who make sure that each and every guest goes back wanting to come back for more," said Chopra.
Adventure rides at Kikar Lodge (Photos: IANS)
"The only drawback is there is no network connectivity. But the surrounding hills, thick with green foliage and the absolute quiet impart a sense of dreamy detachment from the chaos of the city. You don't miss the ringtones of phones thanks to the overwhelming closeness to nature," said Shalu Dhawan.
Chopra said: "The demand for luxury resorts has always been there, but to provide the extra zing with adventure and to pamper with the spa has made The Kikar Lodge a great destination for tourists."
For safe adventure rides, Chopra has tied up with two of India's finest adventure sports companies, Xtremeways and Flying Fox.
"India is experiencing a huge shift towards adventure sports. In the past, people had seen such activities on TV or experienced it abroad, but now it is available here with international guides and safety guidelines," Chopra said.
One can plan a trip from October to February and packages range from Rs.14,000 to Rs.18,000 and Chopra is planning to expand the business in other parts of northern India.
2 Nights/3 Days
Deluxe Rooms: Rs.14,000 per couple
Forest View Cottages: Rs.15,000 per couple
Pool View Cottages: Rs.16,000 per couple
Family Suite: Rs.18,000 per couple with 2 kids up to 12 years
How to Reach: Road trip from Chandigarh, 70 km away - IANS