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The charming Lodge at Wah is situated just outside the historic town of Palampur. Lying in the heart of the Kangra Valley, in northern Himachal Pradesh, the lodge is surrounded by a ring of foothills and the distant snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhar Himalaya. The air is crisp and fresh, the sky is wonderfully clear and blue (out of monsoon), and the countryside is stunningly beautiful in its mountainous wildness.

The Wah Tea Estate (originally created in 1857) surrounds the lodge, with its pretty pathways and shady trees turning it into a feast for the eye. Now run by the fourth generation of the current owning family, this dynamic young couple wanted to open up their lands to guests and built The Lodge at What which is an utterly charming, cosy, intimate small home in the hills with 8 rooms divided amongst 3 cottages. Using local craftsmen, traditional building techniques and materials, the lodge is constructed almost entirely of wood, mud, stone and slate. They have a strong eco focus in using everything natural and the result is an earthy, rustic, inviting place to rest up in the foothills of the mighty Himalaya.

Very much hosted by the affable owning family, one has an opportunity here to immerse oneself in local culture and tradition, and the workings of a tea estate, chatting by a bonfire in the garden or by a roaring log fire on colder nights. The simple but deliciously comfortable bedrooms are spacious with beamed ceilings, soft, earthy hued furnishings and no paint has been used. Replete with chunky wooden furniture and a plethora of rugs, they have a delightful, country atmosphere but want for nothing – heating, air-conditioning, great bathrooms, some have balconies.

The main house is home to a cosy sitting room and dining room which have been brightened with cheerful fabrics and furnishings. Dining here is a feast and concentrates on flavoursome local recipes, using only organic, local produce and what is in season at the time. In keeping with their strong eco focus, almost everything is home or locally grown – farm to table at its best!

The Lodge at Wah makes the perfect base for visiting visiting tea plantations or nearby Dharamshala which does not really boast anywhere particularly wonderful to stay, and the walking and trekking in the Kangra Valley is fabulous. There are numerous local monasteries, temples and historic Kangra Fort to visit, along with a multitude of idyllic picnic spots – not to mention some of the best paragliding sites in the world! It really is the perfect place to unwind for a few days after a hectic tour around India.

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