OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Grazia|January 2021
Destinations that offer unusual experiences are finding favour with travellers post lockdown. We discover three hidden gems in Punjab
AARTI KAPUR SINGH

With the more and more people slowly emerging from the lockdown (and prepared for the new normal), travel is beginning to look up. One trend that is common to vacations and getaways across the world is local travel or short-distance travel. Travellers and tourists seem to be favouring road trips and journeys to rediscover what is around them. Places that offer unique experiences are giving confidence to travellers to start venturing out.

BREATHE IN

Imagine the luxuries of a hotel and the warmth of a home in one single place. That is Ranjit’s Svaasa for you. A renovated and refurbished boutique property in the heart of Amritsar, Svaasa is a 200-year-old, well-appointed mansion belonging to the Mehra family. It was restyled into a well-appointed culturally-rich residence by the matriarch of the family, Rama Ranjit Mehra, herself an architect and conservationist. A cancer survivor and alternative healing practitioner (she also spearheads the wellness wing at the property, Svaasa Holistic Wellness), Mrs Mehra says, “The idea behind opening up our home to guests was to have discerning travellers get a taste of authentic hospitality and the culture of Amritsar.” Small wonder then that the soothing environs resonate in the attention to detail the staff and family are so particular about. So much so, that when a guest retires to their rooms for the night, there will be a bowl of soaked almonds or a handful of shakkarparas (a diamond-shaped sweet snack of crispy, flaky, fried flour cookies coated with crystallised sugar) on the bedside table. Not only that, in the cold weather, warm rugs (and not wall-to-wall carpets) are strategically placed so you don’t have to ever step on a cold floor.

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