Its been little over a year now since I was back from a fun-filled adventurous road trip. A journey through the desolate peaks of Spiti Valley to the lush green Mcleodganj. In short, I call it Himalayan-Heights-With-Punjabi- Delights, for this week-long trip included much of Himachal Pradesh and ended on a scrumptious note in Punjab. And now I was back in the laps of the Himalayas and this time with a new place to explore- Palampur, a small town in Himachal Pradesh. The agenda of this trip was to be part of the first ever Blogger’s meet by StayOnSkills. So our second long weekend of the year was spent at a beautiful, quaint homestay named Jyoti Niwas surrounded by the tea estates of Aweri, Palampur.
Now before I move on let meet couple on bike – Yogesh & Rajni and Anjali- a globetrotting mom from travelmelodies . It was the quaintness of Palampur and the company of these wonderful people that made my jaunt through Palampur filled with innumerable memories to cherish.
About Jyoti Niwas Homestay Palampur-
At an altitude of 1472m, lies a beautiful valley adorned with lush green forests and flanked by the snow-clad Dhauladhars. Through the valley flows numerous perennial rivers making Palampur an adventurous yet picturesque sight to delve into. Amid pine forests and tea gardens of Palampur is almost a century old house of nawabs of Bahawalpur. I call it to be a place where comfort elegantly mingled with nature. Even a short stay here refreshed me all from lungs to the soul.
First Impressions of Jyoti Niwas Homestay
We got dropped off by the bus at the very spot google showed us and were still on the lookout for the homestay. On turning around our neck for a few minutes and sneaking casually inside a green gate we saw the name Jyoti Niwas. It would have been easier to find the homestay had there been a board hanging on the main gate instead. Anyways, taking in the very first step I fell in love with the calm and secluded environment created all by their garden and the surrounding forest. The property was still not in our sight…Further, we walked a few more steps and looking at our stay for the next two days brought a broad smile on our faces.
A peep into your rooms
Inside the colonial structure of Jyoti Niwas resides two cozy bedrooms that were perfect for a comfortable night. Both the rooms were furnished with a small desk and a single sitting sofa. Also, attached to each room was a kids room furnished with a single bed, a dressing table and old style wooden cupboards conceived on the walls. After taking in the warmth of bonfire we entered the comfort of our rooms where room heaters had done their role perfectly…And after a little more chit-chat session we were off to the world of our dreams.
And the washroom
From my personal experience, one thing I am for sure about is that washroom ought to be the very first thing we look out at check-in. There is no compromising with the cleanliness of the washroom and it should have well-functioning fixtures. The washrooms at this homestay in Palampur reflected old styled sanitary with a pink tiled wall. Partitioned with a glass was the shower area with a corner stand to rest all your toiletries.
The Living Room
The living area was the very first room under sight as we entered through the main door. The furnishings, tiled flooring, and wall decor altogether gave an archaic feel to the room. A pile of magazines stocked on the side table gave a hint that someone here is fond of interior decoration. Grab one of these and enjoy the garden view as you rest your back against the chair.
The Dining Room
Passing through the living area, we walked into the dining room and loved the Mughal style tiled flooring. A dark wood table, reddish brown cushioned chairs and weaved bamboo placemats gave a perfect setting to the dining room. As can be seen in the image below the corners of the room were occupied by a glassware shelf and a vertical rack that displayed some memories from the past.
Let’s talk Food
Food is an essence of travel, at least for me and whatever little I eat should be full of taste and served with a smile. Similar was my experience at Jyoti Niwas. A perk that comes with homestays is that we are free to cook as we like and similar was the case at Jyoti Niwas. The kitchen at the backyard awaited to get the taste of our hands.
For we felt lazy and wanted to have a relaxing weekend vacation we took a helping hand of their caretaker cum cook. Raj Kumar Ji with his wife made sure to serve us scrumptious home like dishes unbounded by a menu. We were free to order our choice of dish provided the ingredients are available in the local market.
The cost factor
I am sure all the blurb I have written so far would have put you in a dilemma and you must be imagining a hole in your pockets to stay here. Take a sigh of relief…Jyoti Niwas is not only one of the best homestay in Palampur but also a pocket-friendly option for the travelers. The bookings can be made directly on their website or via leading platforms such as Airbnb. Also, you can reach us here and I would be happy to curate an itinerary for you.
Now that your stay is sorted you must be wondering why should you visit Palampur. Well, then here’s what we did on a weekend trip to Palampur and reading this will surely excite you too…
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Things to do in Palampur
Molding some clay at Andretta Pottery Studio
Today we landed in Palampur and post lunch we headed for a much-awaited experience ….getting our hand dirty as we try to mold out clay at Andretta Pottery Studio and Museum. I was very excited when our newly met local friend @sensesofarundhati told us about Andretta Pottery Studio and also arranged a session for us. To reach Andretta Pottery Studio we stepped out of Jyoti Niwas Homestay, walked downhill a few steps and took a bus for Paprola. From Paprola we hopped on another bus that dropped us at Andretta. From this point, it was a walk for about 1.5 km to reach Andretta Pottery Studio & Museum.
Coming over to our second day in Palampur…the day began with a morning tea and breakfast in the backyard of Jyoti Niwas under the open sky. Today we planned to start with Baijnath Temple followed by Bir Billing, Monasteries and to end by witnessing a sunset at Jakhani Mata Temple. So let’s begin……
Offering prayers at Baijnath Temple
Our day began with the endowments of Lord Shiva at Baijnath Temple. The temple is at a distance of 5 km from Jyoti Niwas Homestay and we took a bus that was fortunately available very next to the homestay ( perks of being an on-road property ).
Dating back to the 13th century, Baijnath Temple marks as one of the top places to visit in Palampur. Its early medieval architectural style known as Nagra style of temples is worth applause. After offering prayers we walked through the sprawling garden towards the backside of the temple. Lush green snow clad Dhauladhars and a rocky river flowing at the foothills created a spectacular site to delve in. We spent about an hour in the temple enjoying the views, going live on insta and a bit of shopping.
Gliding down through the air
Bir Billing is known to be one of the best sites to go paragliding. Apart from receiving an International level of recognition Billing has played host to Paragliding International Championship. The whole journey of coming down is in itself a pure bliss for both the atmosphere and the views are breathtaking. Though we could not try our hands on paragliding as we ended up reaching here on a national holiday but would definitely recommend you to go for it.
Reaching Bir was an easy task and we took a bus from Baijnath Temple bus stop that dropped us at Bir in about half an hour. Further, if you plan for paragliding than you will have to hire a cab from Bir that will drop you at Billing which is at 14 km. Billing is where you take off and swiftly gliding through the air you land in Bir.
Praying at Jakhni Mata Temple
The best time to visit Jakhni Mata Temple is as the sun gets closer to the horizon. This way you will not only be able to take endowments at the temple but also get to relish a picturesque sunset over a valley. Jakhni Mata Temple is 8 km from Palampur and I would recommend to either have your own vehicle or you hire a cab to reach here as there is no bus service on this route.
And the time has come….it felt like flowing away so fast in this all so enchanting and serene environment of Palampur…The third and last day of our trip was here and on the eve we had to bid a goodbye to Palampur…But before we left, one last activity was yet remained to be experienced and any trip to Palampur is incomplete without this…
Going for a Tea Tasting session
Today was the eve of our departure and whatever time we were left with was reserved for a tea tasting session at Himalayan Brew Tea Factory. At about 6 km from the town of Palampur, the tea factory is accessible via motorable roads. We hired a cab to reach there and would advise doing so if you don’t have your own car.
Before beginning with the tasting session we took a guided tour through the factory and how that single tea plant yields the many flavors available in the market. Being an avid lover of green tea I was very eagerly waiting for the tea-tasting session. And soon it was time… After sipping the many flavors namely rose, jasmine, lemongrass, chamomile and more we finally went to grab some boxes to take back home. My personal choice was the Kangra Orange Pekoe Black Tea and Tulsi Mulethi Green Tea.
For the beauty of Palampur has overshadowed the lovely property of Jyoti Niwas Palampur, here’s a short video insight that won’t let you forget it…
How to reach Jyoti Niwas, Palampur?
The blissful hill station of Palampur is well connected to major cities like Delhi, Jaipur, and Chandigarh by multi modes of transport viz. rail, road, and air. Also if not bounded by time then you can take a toy train from Pathankot and hop on a 6 hrs picturesque ride to Palampur. For those flying in, the Kangra Gaggal airport is just 38 km and regular flights ply to and from Delhi. Regular buses ply from Delhi all through the day until midnight and take about 10 hours to reach Palampur.
Once at Palampur bus stop, you can either hire a cab or take a local bus to Aweri as we did. Jyoti Niwas Homestay is about 14 km from here and the bus drops you at the property itself so you won’t have to walk much to find your homestay. The Taragarh Palace Hotel by WelcomeHeritage is a prominent landmark sharing its boundaries with Jyoti Niwas Homestay.
Best time to visit Palampur?
Palampur sees a varied climate from hot summers through rainy monsoons to pleasantly cold winters. I believe that October to March accounts to be the best time to visit Palampur.
* PS – Though my stay at Jyoti Niwas Palampur was arranged by StayOnSkill as part of the blogger’s meet, this review is in no way biased and reflects my true experience to its best.
My experience of staying at Jyoti Niwas over a period of two days was at par and I loved every bit of it. For I haven’t stayed at any other homestays in the region it won’t be justice to call it the best homestay in Palampur. But worth mentioning is that Jyoti Niwas definitely deserves to top the list of homestays in Palampur.
Also, an applause for the great initiative by StayOnSkill for bringing together people and have them exchange their skills for a free stay. Thanks for having us stay at such a lovely property.