A Window To History

Updated: Oct 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
Windows that look out on to the evening sun just as theyve been doing for centuries, walls that could tell a thousand tales, paintings that stand still in the waters of time. For centuries now, the past has inspired man and inspired him to such a great extent that he is ready to relive his present in the past, at least for a while. No wonder the WelcomHeritage Group is cashing in on mans need to relive the past. The group is in the process of adding six more exotic heritage resorts to its list of 22 in another six months time. While some properties are operational, the formalities of the others will be through soon.

Each of the six new heritage properties is in an exotic locale, full of the aura of the ancient. Take, for example, Grace Cottage. Located some 20 km from Manali in Solang valley is this cottage that was probably built in 1800 and owned by the first chief justice of India at some point of time. Why its being called a heritage resort, apart from the obvious age factor, explains Rakesh Mathur, president, WelcomHeritage, is because the valley is where Bheema, one of the five Pandav brothers, met his wife, Hidimba.

WelcomHeritage has two properties in Pushkar. The Pushkar Palace stands on the waters of the holy Pushkar Lake, explains Mr Mathur, and this gives it a spiritual appeal.

The other property, Hotel Jagat Palace, is located some one and a half kilometres from the Pushkar Palace. It has a rather fascinating story to it. Thakur Jagat Singh apparently saw a man breaking up his 100 year old haveli. Thakur Jagat intervened, bought the property and almost completely dismantled the old haveli to build a new one, the jharokhas, carved doors and the furniture all being kept intact.

Another property, called Fernhill, is on the Chamunda Devi Hill near Ooty. A beautiful property and an effort to move south, explains Mr Mathur.

Then there is Casmanda Lodge in Mussoorie. The lodge retains the old world charm of the era of the British Raj, enhanced by the beauty of a quaint hill station. Paradise Well, almost!

Whats probably interesting from a vacationers point of view is also the fact that Casamanda Lodge is some distance away from the main town of Mussoorie.

The ultimate is the WelcomHeritage property in the barren splendour of Ladakh. Built years ago as a hotel, the property is currently owned by the Narbo family.

All six properties will be up and running soon, says Mr Mathur, whos been following the development of the heritage sites with great passion. Reliving the past with a taste of the present, should we say