I travelled to Andretta over the recent long Easter weekend with Wonderful World. I had heard of Andretta before, seen photos of the mountains and admired their pottery at bazaars in Delhi. I always wanted to visit but had never gotten the opportunity. When I saw the announcement of the trip, I immediately signed up.
We started off from Majnu ka Tila in Delhi by overnight bus and arrived early morning in Kangra and then subsequently to the homestay, The Mirage in Andretta. We arrived at the crack of dawn and it was still dark and light slowly dawned. Walking up the narrow path, we could smell jasmine flowers and hear the call of birds. It was a refreshing change from polluted and noisy Delhi.
The next three days were fabulous, spent in the lap of nature. Amidst lush green trees, chirping birds and a view of snow capped Dhauladhar range of mountains, which felt close enough that we could touch it. My days were spent hiking, relaxing, chatting and making new friends, reading, doing pottery and exploring the small village.
The Mirage is a beautiful homestay with heritage buildings built in old style architecture but with modern facilities. The host Dennis is warm and hospitable sharing stories of his time in the village. The food was freshly cooked, with delicious local produce like peanut butter, marmalade, yoghurt and jam.
I went for two sessions of pottery at Andretta pottery and was trained by the young, talented Shubham Sakhyan. He patiently taught us novices how to work the clay and potter’s wheel. It was fun even though hard to work the manual potter’s wheel. I came away making a small bowl, which felt like a major achievement!
The village has the Shobha Singh gallery, Nora Richards’s house and other charming cottages, fields surrounded by mountains. Our two hour hike one morning with Dennis took us through the forest and up and down a hill, exploring forgotten trails with beautiful morning views of the mountains.
Our last day was spent exploring Kangra fort with an audio tour where Roshan Seth’s voice made the fort and its inhabitants from centuries ago come alive.
I came away from the holiday refreshed, recharged and ready to face the real world again. With hopes of coming back to Himachal Pradesh sometime soon.