Khanabadosh offers a slice of exotic gypsy life
Long back, a little girl listened to stories every night-stories of valour and friendship, love and spiritualism, wealth and magic, struggles and religions. With them, her young mind wandered the battlegrounds of Ancient India, sat by the mighty rivers of the East, shivered in the cold snow bound mountains of the North, danced in the magnificent temples of the South. She travelled through those stories, like a gypsy, awestruck and falling in love with something new every evening. Years later, she craved to go back to them, to bring out that gypsy again, to make her travel to new lands,
live in different homes, wake up to different sunrises…and tell those stories. To do that, she moved out of the city and chose Mashobra, in beautiful Himachal Pradesh as her first home. The endeavour was for this home to absorb the local colours, aromas, tastes, stories and culture of HP and then move on in a few years, to a new environment, a different place. Just like a gypsy. And this is how Khanabadosh, the travelling Bed & Breakfast came to be!
Ever visited some place, where you felt you belonged? Where you breathed easy and your mind became quiet… where you instantly saw beauty in everything you looked at, not because it was there but because you were never more, in the now. Khanabadosh in Mashobra is one such place, a beautiful, luxurious, modern B&B in soulful touch with the local earthiness. The magical quality of mountain air coaxes you to chug, not sip; the slow pace—of your feet, heart and soul; the need to stop ever so often to gaze amazed, hear in awe or smell in rousing. Children, women, men of all ages, colour, religion or sexual orientation are welcome here. Artists, writers, poets and people who appreciate their skills will especially rejoice. You’d want to return, for sure. Here, in Mashobra or who knows where. For,Khanabadosh will surely move when it needs to as it’s blissfully oblivious of boundaries and gleefully aware of soul-stirring places.
If you are an early riser, you’ll see the sun come up in front, winning battles with villainous fluffs of white and grey. You’ll also see tiny wildflowers wake up, and smile at the effulgence, blood apples in the trees shyly joining in. Look hard enough, and you’ll see cobwebs in the Jurrasic grass, tiny spiders glistening like moon dust. Butterflies dutifully say hello to suede soft pansies that hold lens clear drops of water, like proud trophies. Vagabond poppies line the fringe of the garden. Dew drops glisten on gigantic Colocasia leaves like mini moons. There is a magical scent in the air and you’ll instantly recognise it as geosmine - the smell of the earth and when you close your eyes and breathe in deep, the melange registers as a sweet mix of apples, roses, love and grass vapour. A clean, heavenly, intoxicating smell. This is the little village of PuraniKoti in Mashobra where Khanabadosh is located. 18km from the madding crowds that throng Shimla, this place if the perfect refuge for those seeking peace and tranquility.
With just 4 beautifully appointed rooms, it is a truly private escape with impeccable service. The decor is quirky, yet elegant with plush beds piled high with pillows and cloud soft eiderdowns, antique wood furniture and unique flourishes. Our favourite was The Kings Room, the only room on the second floor. Originally an attic, it now boasts of a 200 yr old four poster bed, exquisite jamawar throws and antique brass statues.
Elsewhere on the property, framed handwritten notes from the owners mother adorn the walls and tell stories of shared laughs and conversations . Antiques painstakingly collected from around the world are placed throughout the property and reflect the the gypsy soul of the place.
Guests delight in a fabulous assortment of luxurious amenities when they travel, and rightly so. Here at Khanabadosh, they truly push convention and try and give their patrons something unique. Beyond the lotions and potions, guests get a choice of coloured and white towels and fluffy robes that one could get lost in, in heated restrooms. Every room has a tea/coffee caddie with a selection of teas including Green Pea Flower, Jasmine and Matcha.
Undoubtedly the heart of Khanabadosh is its hearth. Heavenly aromas waft out of the kitchen, that is not out of bounds for anyone, another first. Infact, if there’s something that you particularly liked during a meal, they’ll happily invite you to learn and try your hand at it - all this, at no extra cost. Sumptuous food is available all day starting with an elaborate breakfast feast with freshly squeezed apple juice (fruit from their own garden), moving on to afternoon tea, pre-dinner snacks and a elaborate dinner spread served lovingly by the host herself in the gorgeous living room.
And oh! Then there’s “The Secret”. For those who wake in the dead of the night, hungry, each day at Khanabadosh, they organize a snack or make some cookies and conceal them in someplace accessible. Its location and the fare changes with each sunset. Make sure, you find out what’s on and where. For in the mountains, nightly hunger pangs aren’t uncommon!
You could just stay here, unwind, sleep, meditate, eat, read, paint, write, sketch, dream, laugh, fall in love, find yourself. The possibilities endless, the choices yours. Discover a beautiful trail, go out bird watching or hunting for mushrooms and baby fiddlehead ferns. They also have mountain bikes if that’s your preferred mode of discovery. Yoga by the huge Stone Buddha in the garden can do as much, if not more, for your soul, as it would for your body. Nothing like a crackling fire late in the evening… the aromas from the kitchen tantalizing, the laughter with friends unforgettable, the fire-gazing theraupetic, the star-gazing magical. Cozy up on the couch in the library or just soak in the warm mountain sun sitting under the parasol.
There is an extensive Library in the house, books bought and collected from all over during Khanabadosh’s varied travels. But they understand how difficult it can become sometimes to decide what to read…fiction or history? Philosophy or maybe a book on travel? So they’ve made it easy and hopefully some fun for the guests. Head to the first floor lobby. The table there has a selection of some favourites, albeit covered in brown paper, with a short description on the cover. Try your luck with a ‘Blind Date with a Book’. Who knows, you might end up falling in love!
Team work is imperative in the successful running of any establishment and it is no different here. Often guests find themselves being served by the original Khanabadosh herself. Her man Friday can be seen flying around the house, sans his broom. A shy but cheerful lady comes in everyday, the clinking of her bangles announcing her arrival. She is the housekeeper. This is the team that runs Khanabadosh to perfection. But the real owners, are the three over-sized Goldens, Gabbar Singh, Bruce Lee and Sultan. They eat fallen apples, sleep, roll around in the vast gardens and cuddle with guests - not necessarily in that order. The biggest attractions of this place, they’ll welcome you with vigorous tail wags and wide doggie smiles!