Earlier this year, while surfing the Internet, I came across a blog on Babaji's cave. Yes, the Babaji as told in the famous classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. I never knew this caved existed. Although I am not a member of the Self-Realization Fellowship nor subscribe to their practices, I had a strong calling to visit the Cave. And so I went.
One of the problems when visiting these remote Himalayan hill destinations is finding decent accommodation. Babaji's cave is located in a remote Dunagiri village in the hills! It is not on the tourist route nor the mainstream pilgrim's circuit. It's just a simple cave and not a temple.
Anyway further in the same blog's postings, I was very glad to come across Dunagiri Retreat. I contacted Piyush, the owner of the newly built retreat, After finding out that he had put his heart and soul into creating such a 1st class facility in Dunagiri, I planned a weeks' sojourn in the Kumaon Himalayas starting with Patal Bhuvaneshwar and finishing off at Dunagiri. It was my 1st visit to Kumaon. Piyush was very helpful in helping me plan the trip.
When we got to Dunagiri Retreat, all we could say was Wow! Everything is great--- the service, the simple countryside food, the fresh air, the "deafening" silence of the whole remote area, the surrounding countryside, the friendly and wonderful villages, the walks, treks, scenery....they all make up soothing balm for the urban souls. You can hardly find anyone walking along the hill road, and once in a long while, a car or jeep passes by. It's Nature everywhere, the songs of the wind, the birds, insects and wow.... the deep silence that envelopes the whole hill. One of the things that struck me on the way there was the song of the forests...when the winds blow, the rustling of the leaves sound like the gentle waves of the river.
Actually staying in Dunagiri Retreat is more like staying in a dear friend's house. To me the word Retreat is a bit of a misnomer. Built of 1st class materials, the Super Deluxe room we had was generous with space, modern and very comfortable. The furnishings and furniture is spartan but very tastefully done. We simply loved the bathrooms. (You can find all the photos in their website)
We had a wonderful and very comfortable stay there.
However do take note of the following:
- this place is not suitable for everyone.
- if you are not very mobile, ask for the ground floor rooms at the main house. some of the rooms are away from the main house and you need to walk up a sloping path. the path is not paved and during the rainy season, could be a bit challenging.
- this sort of retreat is only suitable for those who truly appreciate Nature and you enjoy peace, quiet and tranquility. If you are not comfortable in your own skin and need external activities, this place is NOT for you. You will be bored to death.
- apart from the huge bed rooms which are practically suites, at the moment , there are no common areas for a proper dining room, living room, games room, meditation room.
There is an extended balcony for dining etc and also an outdoor tent but that's about all the covered common areas. The construction for sheltered common areas is still an on-going exercise. And construction in the hill areas is a real challenge.The fact that Piyush managed to build such a wonderful place is a feat in itself.
If you are planning a trip to Kumaon especially if near Raniket, do not miss out visiting this wonderful place....Uncle Piyush's house as I would call it....
On another note, our trek to Babaji's cave and the meditation experience there was truly a spiritual adventure..... something experiences are hard to verbalize and definitely money could not buy.....well, that's another story.
Thanks Piyush. Great Job and All the Best
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.