Finding ourselves amidst a serene forest in the foothills of the Shivaliks
At one point of this ‘endless’ journey we almost begin to think that The Kikar Lodge is an illusion. A
Well, he’s been cantankerous since we started from the Capital. Every second minute he has needlessly stopped the car to ask which way Punjab was. This, even after entering the Land of Five Rivers. Yes, he has been trying our patience for long. But on that, some other day...
So, what was all that we had heard about this private forest reserve at the foot of the Shivaliks? A blissful and luxurious nature resort that will rejuvenate your senses. Not that we doubt its therapeutic quality, but for that we’ve to locate it first. And The Kikar Lodge at this point seems a distant dream.
And then suddenly, the entrance to The Kikar Lodge emerges from nowhere, a unique resort carved out of the lush green forests of Ropar in Punjab. It is cold, but a certain serenity about the place is instantly inviting. We offload ourselves from the crammed quarters of the car to take a look around before checking into our cosy huts, quaint quarters in tones of beige and red.
Spread across 1,800 acres Kikar Lodge is supposedly the biggest private forest reserve in the country,
Soon, the moon light washes the property with a silvery haze, quiet with an eerie calm, broken intermittently, by the cheerful exchanges of the visiting youngsters from Ludhiana. They are gearing up for the night safari, an exciting tour of the forests on a jeep. They have been promised sights of
Enroute our lodging, we meander towards the lake, now an inky blue blanket, dotted with the reflecting stars as well as the bright moon. The tranquil air is cut into by the faint chant of a rustic Punjabi song. Perhaps it’s from the villagers who are enjoying over food, music and drinks.
They have company. A pair of owls who match each other’s call with gusto. They shriek to increase the numbness of the night, telling us that it’s late enough...
We retreat into our huts, each one named after flowers. You can live in one named after Jacaranda or Hibiscus. Or maybe, Champa and Chinar. The interiors are bright yet cosy, with plush seating
Morning unfolds with a different kind of beauty—all misty yet golden. As the sun kisses the verdant hills, we set out once more and meet a young couple, who are off for a series of adventure sports that the authorities organise for guests. There is rappelling, quadbiking and a host of other activities for charged youngsters. But those with a penchant for peace, follow our example. Just explore the scenic splendour of the place. Climb the hills to reach the meditation hut and sit down for a while. Calm your nerves frayed by the din of the city. Breathe in the fresh and scintillating air that you don’t get anymore. Repair the harm caused by noxious fumes that you are forced to inhale every single day.
Till the quack of the ducks break your reverie, as they waddle happily on the lake. This is followed by greetings from a pair of turkeys and plenty of squirrels. It’s a miniature jungle out there, full of flowers, trees and animals.
The authorities inform that all animals here are protected from poachers and trees from woodcutters. This is a natural habitat. Even the spa uses natural herbs and oils for body treatments and massages. The nature resort sees heavy footfall from autumn to spring. Guests come here from all quarters of the globe, sometimes even from Turkey and Germany. “They love it because it is not very far from the city, yet it is completely remote and green,” says Chopra.
A serene getaway carved out of the lush green forests of Punjab in the foothills of the Shivaliks, The