If you don’t want to travel during COVID 19, and yet need a break from being locked in Delhi NCR, you can take short tours. Panchkula adjacent to Chandigarh is a great option; it is about 4 hours from Delhi. We recently spent a day at the Panchkula Heritage Homestay while breaking our road trip from Manali to Delhi. But then we thought, such brief standalone sojourns could also be a great way to stay safe and yet travel.
Travelling during corona was not easy. Drive to Delhi from Manali was about 14 hours. Apart from the fatigue, we were staying away from outside food and even beverages. So we avoided driving on packed food and stored water for continouous14 hours. Also, we decided against driving very late in the night. Therefore, on our way back from Manali, we broke our journey at Panchkula Heritage Homestay. This property featured on the website of Homestays of India.
Panchkula Heritage Homestay is run by the charming NB Singh (known as NB to all) and his mother. While NB had given us directions on phone-call, we followed online maps and reached this place without facing any hassle. Virtually on the highway, Panchkula Heritage Homestay was most easily approachable even at midnight.
The first look of Panchkula Homestay took us by surprise! Complete with domes on the roof, it was a mini – castle, locally called a haveli. Lawns and other open spaces were surrounding the building. We had faced some exasperating traffic jam on our drive down and thus reached Panchkula at midnight. Easy parking inside the premises, after the long 9 hours drive from Manali, was huge succour at that time. Unexpectedly, NB was waiting up for us. He invited us for some much-needed drinks and we were soon rejuvenated. While seated in the sprawling verandah, we could see that the décor of this place was distinctly period. Wood carved chests, huge lions and marble and porcelain statues were placed all across the areas that we could see.
In sync with the outside, they had old-world decor and furniture in our huge high ceiling room. Bedabrata was most excited to jump on the colonial antique bed he identified as a vintage Bengali thing called “Bangla Khat”. The bed was so high that a footstool was needed to climb on to it. We later learnt that there was indeed a Bengal connection to this homestay. NB traced his childhood in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal where his father used to be a tea planter. However, their Panchkula home, which is now open to guests, had been inherited by NB’s mother who is from royal lineage. This finally explained all the larger than life proceedings around us.
NB and his mother were the sweetest hosts we had ever seen. NB had a rather elaborate dinner waiting for us at 2.30 a.m. that night! The next morning, Mrs Singh served us excellent tea from the hills of Darjeeling. Sitting on their sprawling lawns, we could see this place had loads of potential.
We checked in at Panchkula Heritage Homestay as a stop between Manali and Delhi. If you are hitting the hills, Panchkula Heritage Homestay is a great option to make a stop for a day. The children can round around freely in the open areas while the adults can sit out and soak in the early winter sun. In fact, why wait for travelling to the hills? We wouldn’t mind driving from Delhi or Gurgaon and just spend a day like royalty here. Location, decor, food and hospitality – we are mighty bowled over by Panchkula Heritage Homestay.