Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Raju's Guest House - A Second Home


The first thought that came to my mind while planning a trip to Tirthan Valley was that I must stay at Raju’s Guest House (RGH) in Gushaini, which has been highly recommended in some of the travel forums that I often browse through. Since RGH had a reputation of getting booked months in advance, I talked to Rajiv (Raju) Bharti, the owner, during the first week of December last year for 3 days’ stay in mid-April 2011. Raju did not ask for any advance for booking and there were no cancellation charges either. He, however, requested me  to let him know at least one week prior to my scheduled arrival date in case  I  cancel the reservation. This created a good impression in my mind about Raju and set a positive tone for our stay in RGH.


Raju himself came to Mandi in his Bolero to pick up us to his Guest House at Gushaini. There was no surprise element when we walked down to get into the cable trolley one by one to cross Tirthan river to reach the Guest House as we were already aware of this arrangement. Nonetheless, it was a good beginning with fun and some adventure added to the trolley rides. We were greeted by Raju’s five pet dogs that soon became our friends and guided us from the trolley point to the Guest House. The Guest House is located at the banks of Tirthan river, about 15m above the river bed. The Guest House is facing Raju's 20-acre orchards, mostly of apple, cherries and apricot trees at the lower slopes giving way to the pine and deodar forests at the upper slopes.  The moment we landed in the Guest House,  we immediately fell in love this place and felt that we were going to enjoy  3 days’ stay here. 

Crossing Tirthan river on a cable trolley to reach Raju's Guest House (in the background)

Raju's Guest House with Raju Bharati, the owner. 

The Guest House has 5 rooms with attached bath - all on the ground floor made up of deodar and pine trees’ wood floor and ceiling with wood panelled wall, giving a feel of a log hut. But all rooms have modern amenities – attached bathroom and western toilet with 24 hour hot water and room heater. Fortunately, there is no telephone and TV in the rooms. The first floor is occupied by Raju’s family and one guest room for their relatives and friends. The guest room has a fireplace, a small library and a place for dinning. What had made this room special is that it has an attached open terrace for sit out overlooking Tirthan river, surrounding orchards and forest. Given a choice, I would have definitely preferred this room.

The self contained kitchen attached to the dinning room can be used by the guests in case they wish to prepare the food themselves. The operating kitchen is on the first floor above the dining room connected by a wooden stair case. There is another dining table kept in the Lounge adjunct to dining room in case guests prefer to have lunch/dinner with TV viewing. The Lounge also has small library mostly consisting of books and back issues of travel magazines. 

View of Tirthan river from our room

Our room

Lounge on the left and dinning room on the right.

The courtyard has some exotic flower plants, a bonfire place and a couple of hammocks. This is the place where Raju’s pet dogs spend much of the time. We did not have occasion to use the bonfire as there were rain showers every day in the evening and night.  

The tariff for the guest house was Rs.1500/- per day per head which included bed tea/coffee, breakfast, lunch, evening tea/coffee and dinner. A typical breakfast consisted of parathas-curd, puri-bhaji, bread toasts with butter and choices of jams, choices of omelette, scrambled eggs, fried/boiled eggs, choices of home made pickles ( I counted about 10-12 types of pickle bottles lying on the dining table all the time). Lunch and dinner consisted of two vegetables, one non-vegetarian dish (we preferred fresh trout fish curry/fry most of the time), roti, rice/jeera rice, dal, salad and curd. Vegetarian soup and deserts were added for the dinner. In addition, milk and bournvita were provided for my grandchildren – morning, afternoon and post-dinner.  Varun, Raju's son, was kind enough to provide us with packed assorted sandwitches on our daily outings.   



Bulbul ( in the back) and Bhalu, two of Raju's five pet dogs.

The USP of the RGH was the awesome food prepared by Lata, Raju’s wife. The decoction coffee tasted as good as the one tasted in one of the south Indian restaurants in Mumbai’s Matunga area.  At last, I had a real taste of coffee in RGH after my 28 years of travel in the Himalaya. The two types of pasta – one with cheese and the other with tomato sauce mixed with some herbs, served on our first lunch were so tasty that it was over before the main lunch was served.

Once we were inside the RGH, Varun took charge of all our comforts – housekeeping, food, outdoor activities etc. There were 15 guests ( of which 13 were ladies) and Varun admirably managed singlehandedly without any hiccups. There were no pretentions of hospitality as we normally see in a five star hotel. For Raju and his family, the hospitality came naturally to them.  In our three days of stay, we never felt that we were staying in a guest house. Rather we felt that we were in our second home with our own timing for breakfast, lunch and dinner and in-between unrestricted access to kitchen to have something to munch like pastries and drink apple juice to the heart’s content. 

Part of Raju's orchards

Iris flowers in courtyard

Varun and Raju

In my view, those who are looking for a serene and peaceful hide out, where the sound of gushing water of Tirthan river is the only distraction but the pleasant one, RGH is the place to chill out. The other options are  mixing relaxation with some activities like a forest walk on the banks of Tirthan river for spotting some exotic bird life, fishing and 2-3 hours’ of treks to some nearby villages. RGH can also be base for those wishing to go for one of long treks in Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), the entrance gate being 7 kms of distance from RGH.

During my conversation with Raju, I jokingly said that there was a common complaint against RGH. He was momentarily bewildered until I clarify that the complaints were from his prospective guests who were not able to get bookings in RGH for months.  He smiled and explained that it was not the space but the manpower which was a limiting factor in expanding the room capacity. He said that he would consider adding some rooms once his second son, who presently is working with one of the adventure agencies, joined him. 

If I ever get an opportunity to do some treks in GHNP, RGH would surely be  my natural choice for stay. 


33 comments:

kks said...

Hello Sir,Very Well written,even i had the priviledge of being a guest at RGH in june this year.It was indeed a memorable stay,will always want to be there again for a longer stay.

Parnashree said...

Well written ....i am also planning a vacation in Tirthan valley ...in fact i have booked my days with Raju ki Guest House ....thanks for the details of ur journey ....you can also visit my blog as i am also a traveler ..
http://www.traveldiaryparnashree.blogspot.com/

Sasanka Sekhar Banerjee said...

can we see snow clad mountains from Raju's ?

Sadanand Kamath said...

There is no snow view from Raju's Guest House as it is located in a valley. For snow view, one can trek to Bandal village (3 kms).

Unknown said...

Hi Sadanand,
Nicely written piece, felt like dropping everything and leave for gushaini. Is it possible for you to provide Raju's phone no, so that I can try my luck at booking a room?

Cheers,
Tonmoy
email: charpoy@gmail.com

Sadanand Kamath said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I have sent Raju's contact number to your E-Mail address.

Nikhil Anand said...

Hey:

Nice one. Can you please share Raju's phone and email. .. I am traveling end of this month and want to try if I can get some place to stay.

Thanks,
NIkhil Anand
nikhil_9791@yahoo.com

nitin sethi said...

hi could you send Raju's contact details

kishn rai said...

I am intrrsted in going to rajya guest house.please send me the contact details.myemail id
rai113@hotmail.com

Dheeraj Chawla said...

can anybody please send me raju's tel no or e mail id
dheerajchawla2000@gmail.com

Sadanand Kamath said...

Dear Kishin Raj and Dheeraj Chawla,

I have already sent a email to you giving Raju's contact number.

Amitoj Singh said...

Hi, This sounds great. Can somebody please send in the contact number to amitojsingh40@gmail.com

Thanks


Amitoj Singh said...

Hi,

This sounds great. Come somebody please forward me the contact details of Raju's Guest House on amitojsingh40@gmail.com

URGENTLY!!!:) Can't wait to be here!!

Amitoj Singh said...

Hi,

This sounds great. Come somebody please forward me the contact details of Raju's Guest House on amitojsingh40@gmail.com

URGENTLY!!!:) Can't wait to be here!!

Alakananda said...

Thank you Mr. Kamath for such nice info. Would like to visit there in April. Could you forward me Raju's phone number at sinisterraul@gmail.com

enkural said...

Thank you for sharing your experience so vividly. Is there enough for kids to do here - have two kids aged 12 and 6. Could you also please share Raju's email and mobile number at prakashrajiv@gmail.com?
Thanks!

InsuranceAssist said...

Thanks for the informative post. Can you please provide the contact no & email address of Raju? - Parth, priyam.samyu@gmail.com.

Acharya said...

Please provide me Raju's contact details, since we are planning to visit this place in May'2014.

thanks

Acharya
rainprat@yahoo.com

Rohit W said...

One of our client also visited there in our Endeavour Automatic 4X4. In his feedback he mentioned about Raju Guest House. If anyone need self drive car on rent in Himachal please contact us.

Regards,
Rohit
www.selfdrivencarrental.com
selfdrivencarrental@gmail.com

Vivek Sharma said...

Sir,excellent update but can you suggest some second option to stay as I have planned to visit in june second week.
I called Raju and he is fully booked
but I am eager to visit this place after reading your update....
vivek
vivsharma2606@gamil.com

Sadanand Kamath said...

Vivek,
Sorry for the delayed response. I had been travelling.

I have no idea about other options of staying in Tirthan Valley. Since you are visiting in middle of June, I am afraid other staying options of the type like Raju's Guest House may also be fully booked as June (also Oct-Nov) is the peak season for Tirthan Valley.

manoj goyal said...

Sir,

Can you put Contact details of the Raju's Guest house on manoj.goyal88@gmail.com
Planning to go their in Aug

Thanks
Manoj Goyal

Swatantra Mishra said...

Hello Mr. Kamath,

I have been to Kasol last year and then went to Nagini( the himalyan trout house ) but could not stay there because I had just one night to stay in Nagini and in that respect, the trout house was a expensive choice to make.
Well I want to visit there again and this time I want to stay in Raju's guest house. But there is no direct way to make a booking so can you please provide me with the contact.

Please send the contact to panachecraafts@hotmail.com

Thanks in advance

Ankit Singh

WIDE ANGLE said...

Hi

This is a very nice blog. Surely has convinced me to visit Raju's Guest House. If possible, can you please provide me Raju's contact details so I can plan my visit.

Thanks
Eshan Kalra
eshankalra@gmail.com

Mukesh Chauhan said...

Hello Traveller,

I am planning to visit the Tirthan Valley and definently would love to have RGH contact number. I will be really happy to have reply from your side and have the number my email is
mukeshsingh.chauhan@gmail.com.

Look forward to have reply from your side

Regards
Traveller

Atul Zutshi said...

Hi,

I have heard about RGH in a lot of travelogues and descriptions. I am infact planning to visit the place this sept. Can anyone email me the contact details of RGH on my email - zutshiatul@gmail.com.

Thanks
Atul

Suraj Saini said...

Hi can someone share Raju's guest house on this blog? also if it not possible then share it over my email - surajsainisuru@gmail.com

appreciate an early response !!

WIDE ANGLE said...

Hi everyone

Here is the link for Raju's cottage blog : tirthanvalley.blogspot.in

You can find all the details here. Even I was looking for the contact details for quite some time when I found their blog online.

You can also find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rajubhartiguesthouse

Eshan kalra

rahul pareek said...

Hi all, I am so excited about this place. Kindly share Contact details of Raju's Cottage. My Mail ID is pareek.rahul@yahoo.com
09887555311

AJAY PALIWAL said...

Dear all, please share Mr. Raju's contact details wit me.
paliwal.ajay@yahoo.com, ajaypaliwal2009@gmail.com
+91-99998803986, +91-9312096667

Unknown said...

this is a beautifully written piece, actually takes the reader very close to the place! superb! like everyone else, I too am tempted to have Shri Raju's number.

my email id is widerangle1@gmail.com

best regards,

Jitendra Vishwakarma said...

hey guys...
could anyone please send me the details of Mr. Raju's contact to the email id : jvishwakarma053@gmail.com .
we're planning for a trip and its urgent.

Pooja Bisht said...

hey , we are two girls planning to travel to tirthan valley thsi weekend , could u plz share raju guest house contact detailsk so that we can book in advance.
n i will glad to hear your experiences . Thank you :)
my email id is bis.pooja@gmail.com

Thanks
Rakshita