Raju’s Guest House

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great himalayan national park

Raju’s Guest House, Great Himalayan National Park

We decided to go to Raju’s Guesthouse mainly because it was ideally located, very close to the Great Himalayan National Park and also because it had rave reviews online; we wanted to see for ourselves what the fuss was about! To our utter amazement, the place grew on us in a way we didn’t really think possible. In fact, this is the first time in my life that I have a favorite place that I would return to whenever I need to get away!

They say first impressions are the most important ones. On that front Raju’s Guest House scores quite a bit with the river great himalayan national park crossing one has to do in a metal basket to get to it. The first day that we got to the river bed next to the road, there was no one at the other end to help us with the crossing. With no cellphone coverage and no other way to contact the family, we stood around dumbly for quite a few minutes wondering what to do next! Luckily, someone finally spotted us and Varun (Mr. Raju’s son) came out to fetch us. While precariously dangling over the rushing water, I felt like I was on a true adventure; such fun!

The guesthouse consists of about 3 or 4 rooms that are housed on the great himalayan national park lower floor of Mr. Raju’s original home. The upper floor houses a lovely open-air sitting area, a cozy living room with a fireplace, a small dining area for four and a library with a modest collection of books and travel magazines. This was our favorite part of the house; we lounged here with the dogs, reading, warming up beside the fireplace and just relaxing.

Downstairs, our double-room was large and was completely built, from floor to ceiling (including shelves), of pine wood. It gave the place a warm, cabin-like feel, which was most appropriate for its location. A small hallway, adjoining the room, had windows that opened out to the river; a day-bed was snugly placed here. great himalayan national parkA door at the foot of the bed led to a cemented porch at the back where a couple of chairs and a coffee table were placed; the perfect place to chill with views of the Tirthan. The bathroom seemed recently updated with modern fixtures, but it maintained the rustic charm of the accommodation with slate flooring and wooden cabinets.

In front of the guesthouse lies the family’s orchard, which is filled with apple and cherry trees. Since it was cherry harvesting time, fresh cherries were always placed in large bowls in the dining hall for the guests to sample. A rustic courtyard between the guesthouse and the orchards had a fire-pit with bench seating around it. A couple of hammocks have been placed between the trees in the background. This was the best place to hang out in the evenings. After sunset, Varun lights a fire here luring all the guests to come out for a chat. It is here that we met some like-minded, fun people with whom we had really good conversations; these sessions were the best part of our stay at the Guest House.

Meals are included in the cost of stay. And what a feast they were! Lata aunty (Mr. Raju’s wife) is definitely a great himalayan national park fantastic cook! Breakfast always included warm omelets, toasts and parathas accompanied with home-made pickles and jams; the cherry jam with chunks of cherries was mind-blowing! Lunch and dinner included salad, a couple of vegetarian dishes, a non-veg dish (mutton curry was our absolute favorite), fresh rotis, rice and dal. Dinner included a veg soup and freshly fried trout as well; a veritable treat for seafood lovers! It all ended with dessert, which was kheer or fruit custard during our stay; both were equally yummy! On our 3rd night there, since we were the only guests around, aunty made us Continental-style food in the form of pasta in a tomato sauce with cheese, grilled chicken and cutlets. Madhu and I were quite overwhelmed with the quality and taste of this spread. All food lovers must definitely stay at Guest House at least once, if only to sample Lata aunty’s cooking!

And then there are the dogs! For people like us who absolutely ADORE dogs, Raju’s Guest House is practically paradise! great himalayan national park They have 4 dogs, each with a unique personality. Phoebe, the oldest, is shy and stays indoors most of the time; we barely saw enough of her during our 4 nights’ stay. The other 3 dogs – Yati, Bulbul and Bhalu – are always in and around the courtyard, welcoming new guests or lounging by their feet in the common spaces. My absolute favorite was Bhalu, a Labrador mix with a jet-black coat. He gave us company throughout our stay, which totally enthralled us. But he is also the most alert watchdog of the house, barking at and chasing anything unusual or uninvited within the property including birds! Bulbul is super-sweet and comparatively milder of the two. great himalayan national parkShe is also far more photogenic and loves to pose for the camera. Yati is a loner and doesn’t like to be petted or touched except by Varun or his father. But he loves his walks and is always more than eager to take Raju’s guests around the village. People who don’t particularly like dogs need not worry either. None of these dogs beg for attention or get in the way; they just hang out with the guests, who can choose to ignore them if they wish!

Mr. Raju runs this place more like a homestay than a commercial retreat or guesthouse. He doesn’t bother with advertisement or even a signboard announcing the place, as he already has more guests clamoring for a stay than he would like! Moreover, he cares about his surroundings and understands the ill-effects of ‘development’ in naturally beautiful areas like Gushaini. When the state govt decided to put up a Hydro Electric project over the River Tirthan, like it has done over all the other rivers of HP, Mr. Raju went to court against them and actually won! Today Tirthan is probably the only ‘free’ river in HP running its entire course with pure, crystal-clear water!

Be it the offbeat, serene location, the sound of the Tirthan gushing past, the warm and homely service, or Lata aunty’s mouth-watering cooking, each and every aspect of Raju’s Guesthouse makes it a true getaway!

Rating: 11 out of 10 – extra points for the dogs.

Favorite Stays, Gushaini, Himachal Pradesh, Hotel Reviews, India, Kullu Region

23 Responses to Raju’s Guest House

  1. Nikhil May 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Hey, nice post. Refreshing pix !!
    I’m planning for an outing next week, so wanted to know if this would be cool enough at this point of time when Delhi is simmering at 45 degrees C plus. I really want to go to a cool place and seems Tirthan is not that at high altitude.

    Thanks in advance :-)

    • Savi May 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

      Hey Nikhil,

      Yeah, unfortunately, over the past couple of days, it has been quite warm even in HP, especially in the lower altitude places. Gushaini is at about 4500ft elevation and therefore, not high enough to be very cool right now. Places like Manali, Dalhousie, Narkanda (8000ft and higher) will probably be a better bet. But then again they are also going to be quite crowded as everybody seems to be rushing there :). If you just want to hang out and relax with no particular agenda, Gushaini should still be a good getaway from Delhi as the mornings and evenings will be quite pleasant. When we were there last week (between 9th to the 16th), it was quite cold in the evenings and a fire was a must to keep us warm…

      Hope this helps! Thanks for visiting our site.

      Savi

  2. magiceye September 15, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    incredibly beautiful place! definitely on my wish list now!!
    thanks for sharing!!

    • Madhu September 15, 2010 at 9:07 am #

      Hi Magiceye,
      Raju’s guest house is our favorite place so far – We love it and are looking forward to visiting them again.
      Lovely family – His wife is a great cook :) !!
      A stay with them is like staying with your fav aunt … :) they feed you with awesome food till you drop :)
      They just have 4 rooms and they are very popular – Hence you should book well in advance.

      Cheers,
      Madhu

  3. Namit Bhalla April 9, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Lovely description and wonderful pics… the place seems so enchanting… Can you pls share the details of the Guest House, hot to get in touch with them for bookings?

    • Monica mehrotra April 14, 2011 at 2:15 am #

      How far is thus guest house from manali can one go to rohtang pass from there wat is there for kids to do

      • 10YearItch April 14, 2011 at 3:24 am #

        Hi Monica,

        Welcome to our blog! Rohtang Pass is to the north of Manali and can be done as a day trip from there. However, Raju’s guesthouse is to the south, past Kullu, near a small village called Banjar. Raju’s Guesthouse is a place to lounge and enjoy nature by trekking into the nearby national park or to the villages in the surrounding hills. If your kids like dogs then it’s a great place for them interact closely with them.

        Regards,
        Savi

      • 10YearItch April 14, 2011 at 8:52 am #

        Hi Monica,

        Welcome to our blog! Rohtang Pass is to the north of Manali and can be done as a day trip from there. However, Raju’s guesthouse is to the south, past Kullu, near a small village called Banjar. Raju’s Guesthouse is a place to lounge and enjoy nature by trekking into the nearby national park or to the villages in the surrounding hills. If your kids like dogs then it’s a great place for them interact closely with them.

        Regards,
        Savi

    • Nehakbhonde July 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      hi,,thankkkkkkkkk youuuuuuu sooooooooooooooooooooooo much for the no…

  4. Ayesha Madon April 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Hi Savita / Madhu,

    We stayed at Raju’s Cottage in the summer of 2009 with our friend Harsh Man Rai and his family and it was the best holiday ever. The homestay is everything you say it is and more! I spent much of my time sitting in the upstairs lounge overlooking the river just reading and birdwatching and it was magical. This is a birder’s paradise. In five days we spotted at least fifteen different birds I had never seen before including the spectacular yellow-billed blue magpie. The food was superb and always plentiful. The kids especially enjoyed eating the trout they caught themselves when Varun took them fishing in the evenings. Hope this place remains unspoilt and unchanged unlike the rest of Himachal.

    Ayesha Madon

    • 10 Year Itch April 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      Hi Ayesha,
      Good to hear from you … Raju’s GH is a special place. Hope to visit them again this summer.

      We are back in Gurgaon (groan). Thanks a lot for hosting us at Capella Goa. We had a fabulous time. Hope to be back soon (monsoons!).

      Hugs to Luca and Elsa :)

      Cheers,
      Madhu

  5. Deepa May 15, 2011 at 4:25 am #

     I have heard of this place so much. My friend’s mom stayed there and really loved it. I’m dying to go!!

    • Madhu Nair May 15, 2011 at 4:53 am #

      Hi Deepa,
      Welcome to 10YearItch!
      Yup … It is one of those places where you just don’t want to leave.
      Perfect place to relax and unwind. We hope to go back sometime soon. Highly
      recommended esp if you like dogs :)

      Cheers,
      Madhu

    • Madhu Nair May 15, 2011 at 4:53 am #

      Hi Deepa,
      Welcome to 10YearItch!
      Yup … It is one of those places where you just don’t want to leave. Perfect place to relax and unwind. We hope to go back sometime soon.
      Cheers,
      Madhu

  6. Patricia Torres July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    OH gorgeous!! this sure looks like a lovely place!!

    • Madhu July 1, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      Raju’s GH … the most unforgettable stay experience in India. We hope to go there before we wind up our trip.

  7. KD July 6, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Hi, Great post! From where did you travel to Gushaini? I am trying to locate a route from Gurgaon to Gushaini. Any suggestion?

    • 10 Year Itch July 6, 2011 at 6:18 am #

      Hi KD,
      Thanks for visiting 10YearItch.com

      If you are driving up there from Gurgaon, you take NH 21 towards Manali, Get off the NH at Aut and take State Highway – 11 going East (towards Bandal).

      If you are taking a bus get off at Aut and take a cab (The Guest House can arrange for a pickup too). Call well in advance to get a room at the Guest House (they are super popular).
      Cheers,
      Madhu

  8. Ashish July 6, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Miss the place and dogs. Visiting the place soon :)

    • 10 Year Itch July 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Ashish,
      Welcome to 10YearItch !
      Raju’s GH is definitely one of our favorite places. The dogs add to the whole experience :)
      Our other favorite place is Capella (Goa). Guess what? They have 2 dogs :)
      We shall look forward to hearing from you.
      Cheers,
      Madhu

  9. Prabhjotguron August 10, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    loved the place ..first time i felt so close to the  nature  ……..the river …the orchards .. the food …evrything was fantastic ….my five year daughter is again demanding to go there as she is missing dogs and cats …it was a wonderful experience …planning to visit the p lace again

    • 10 Year Itch August 10, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      Hi Prabhjot,
      Welcome to 10YearItch.
      Raju’s GH is definitely one of our favorite places to stay.
      Even we keep talking about the dogs – esp Bhalu and Bulbul.
      Hope to go up till there some time soon.
      Cheers,
      Madhu

  10. Saccharin August 11, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    I have to agree with you about RG. I, especially, loved that the apple trees were loaded when we came for a visit. That and the river flowing nearby was definitely a relaxing experience. Also, the self-contained kitchen where guests can prepare their own food (if they so wish) was a nice touch. Well, this comes from someone who likes spending countless hours in the kitchen.

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