The SpaceOverlooking the river at a pristine point of her flow as she leaves the last of the Himalayas and makes her way into the great Indian plains beyond, the Yamuna, at Sunsaan, is a constant. The river has not just a strong aural, but also a strong visual presence too as it winds around the circumference of the property.
Surrounded by Leechi and Mango orchards with a stream running through it, Sunsaan combines the stunning natural beauty of the lower Himalayas, local Jaunsari culture and food with warm hospitality, a bucolic charm and comfortable amenities.
Today, Sunsaan refurbished, while retaining all of it's old charm, offers six bedrooms with attached bathrooms. Each bedroom opens out to a stunning view of the river, as it roars by outside.
All meals served are vegetarian, as there is an attempt to introduce as many locally available seasonal millets and grains freshly milled from the watermill, which is located within the compound, as possible. Eggs, when the country hen oblige, and milk also comes from local village.
The resort strives to adhere to the best environmental practices and aims to conduct business in a manner that will cause the least impact to the environment. Composting of garbage, converting the 75 year old fruit orchard to organic, serving local water- milled flours and good wholesome local food along with home made chutneys, preserves and jams, are initiatives in this direction.
The soothing sound of the river offers an ideal backdrop to yoga, meditation and reading; and the house library is well stocked with old books. The resort's priceless collection of photographs and books make for a very interesting read and give a glimpse into the privileged lives of days gone by. Guest AccessEntire house, dining room and living room. Interaction with GuestsOccasionally. Getting AroundGETTING THERE:
Sunsaan is located in Katapathar village, Vikasnagar district which is 1 ½ hours away from Uttrakhand's capital town, Dehradun.
By Air: It's 2 ½ hour from Jolly Grant Airport, which is well connected with regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
By Road: Dehradun -Katapathar 60kms
Rishikesh/Haridwar-Dehradun -Katapathar 48kms+60kms=108 kms (approximately 3 hours travel time on fairly good road surface)
Delhi-Katapatar 260 kms (via the very scenic Timli pass ) 6 hours
Delhi-Katapathar via the Mohund Pass/Dehradun 320 Kms
Chandigarh –Katapathar approximately 3 hours
By Train: Many trains connect Dehradun regularly to Delhi, Lucknow and Chandigarh. Check (website hidden) for more details. Other Things to NoteThe story of the estate began in 1925 when Prince Jagut Bahadur Rana, son of an exiled Nepali Rana Prime Minister decided to build his hunting lodge in the village of Katapathar, 50kms from Dehradun. What began as a simple one-room stone masonry cottage gradually grew into the quaint one-storied blue and white house it is today.
Over the 50 years that Prince Jagut lived in it, the house saw a diverse array of visitors from the political, social and military elite of the raj and independent India.
It's nooks and crannies are full of interesting stories and (website hidden), amongst which the one about the then Vicereine who “slightly knocked her head" over a low doorway in 1937 continues to be an all time favorite. Especially, as a little sign marks the spot.
A man known for his charm and wit, Prince Jagut was way ahead of his times, espousing the philosophy of ecological awareness that translated amongst other things into a penchant for quirky recycled materials, that today form a large part of the facade of the house. Pieces of tyres, of ceramic and broken tiles add to the eccentricity of the house.
Living in Katapathar, cut off from the nearest town Dehradun, by a 5 hour bullock cart ride or a 2 to 3 hour rough jeep ride, over the many rivulets and streams that criss-crossed the road to the Dun, Prince Jagut had to ensure that all his needs were met locally. And maintaining this made him increasingly more conscious of the need to use his resources intelligently, sustainably and self-sufficiently. Some of his practices exist even today.