The drive was long from Delhi and the roads bumpy. I’ve been to Rishikesh a number of times before, but didn’t remember the bumps to be so many. It was only when the car crossed signs that screamed Char Dham (the ‘four abodes’ for Hindus, namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri) did it occur to me that the road was being widened to accommodate the proposed express national highway in Uttarakhand. Once complete, the stretch would connect Mana to Rishikesh.
While the pretty sights along the way are in patches, dotted with the hard hats and jackets of construction workers, the car went higher and higher, crossing Rishikesh and heading towards Badrinath. But my destination wasn’t that far off. With the Ganga, muddy instead of its clear, greenish-blue colour due to the rains, flowing alongside, the road curved and the car turned and soon entered the newly-opened Roseate Ganges. And what an immediate difference it was.
The air was tranquil, noise and jolts replaced by a sense of peace as I sipped on an utterly refreshing rhododendron drink (buransh in local parlance). Roseate’s latest offering is away from the bustle of city life, and offers moments where one can rejuvenate the senses.
The property is intimate and cosy with minimalist designs, but still oozes luxury with 16 well-appointed villas. At first glance you wouldn’t realise the size, but the almost 1.5-acre retreat has plans of building more such accommodations in the future.
The long car journey and the constant sway of the vehicle had tired me need-lessly. Checking into the deluxe villa, I crawled onto the freshly-pressed, white sheets, and followed it up with a steaming cup of tea on my private balcony.
I must say that I enjoy living minimally on occasion, and the clincher to have something similar in my own house was the Chandigarh chair. Designed by Le Corbusier’s architect-cousin Pierre Jeanneret, for the utopian creation called Chandigarh in the 1950s, the teak-and-cane design is a collector’s item today. It has somehow even ended up in the dining room of one of the Kardashian sisters. Another impressive factor was the state-of-the-art inclusions in the minimal design—wireless chargers, a sleek drawing table, space-saving storage, and a partly-glass roof, combined with a touch of nostalgia à la Mysore sandalwood soap.
The Roseate Ganges might be a small property, but one can find no fault in their distinguished and personalised service. Be it a spa session at Aheli (the classic therapy using oil, is golden), or personalised yoga beside the inviting blue waters of the infinity pool, or creating bespoke experiences (Ganga arti in Rishikesh, trekking or whitewater rafting among others), everything is accommodated with grace and smiles.
If there’s only one thing you come to the Roseate Ganges for, let it be the food at Chidya Ghar. Under Chef Chetan Rana’s watchful eye, the menu is a celebration of Uttarakhandi fare. There are international flavours, of course, but each dish has been treated to a local interpretation. Take the millet risotto with roasted pumpkin and a homemade ricotta. It’s light and airy thanks to the nutrient-dense grain, and you’ll see none of the discomfort that comes with greedily eating a full bowl of rice. However, it was the local dishes I found most favour with. Not on the menu but if you ask Chef Rana, he will create thalis, Kumaoni and Garhwali, to give you a taste of the region. As I dug into kafuli (spinach curry), pahari chicken curry, phaanu dal (a local lentil curry) and rice with a tempering of jakhiya (local mustard seeds), coriander and ghee, I quickly ascended into food heaven. So simple and tasty, that I was laughed at when I asked for the recipe. “It’s all local, no recipe,” I was told.
The Roseate Ganges is pushing to adopt an eco-friendly and sustainable philosophy. The culinary ingredients are locally sourced, and there’s use of biodegradable materials everywhere, down to the resort’s cork yoga mats. The staff is mostly from the region; the villas seamlessly blend in with the environment; and, among a host of green initiatives, those dreaded plastic water bottles are soon to be replaced by sturdy and safe earthenware.
As I sat by the temperature-controlled swimming pool with Pico Iyer’s newest book, I sighed in content. My stomach was stuffed after another delightful provincial meal, and the heart satisfied after a visit to the famed Beatles Ashram. With nature’s bounty as my view, it was time to relax and rekindle the spirit before heading back to the daily grind.
Accommodation 16 independent villas