Arriving after the long drive into rural India and down the remote dirt track leading to Basunti, it was a great pleasure to enter the beautiful retreat garden with its colourful flowerbeds with fish ponds and stunning swimming pool. Its lovely location, elevated on a peninsula which reaches out into the reservoir created by Pong Dam, gives the feeling of airy peace and tranquillity, making it a wonderful location for yoga and spiritual reflection. The variety of unusual birdsong and the sight of so many exotic birds fluttering to the many water pans dotted around the garden added to the feeling that we had come to a very special place indeed. Basunti is situated in a nature reserve at the foothills of the Himalayas and the bird spotting that I did was very rewarding – well over 70 species. Also, the mongoose I captured on camera stealing fish from one of the ponds added to the sense that we were in a beautiful wild place where the birds and animals are not fearful of humans.
The local people were very charming and happy to pose for our photographs, especially the children in their colourful saris.
We also greatly enjoyed our visit to MacLeod Ganj, watching the sunrise over the Himalayas, visiting the temple and turning the many prayer wheels, and observing the Buddhist monks and Tibetans in exile, although sadly the Dalai Lama was not at home.
Our two-week stay at Basunti, with the exceptional hospitality of Dave and his team of helpers, was a very rejuvenating experience, which we thoroughly enjoyed and are still reliving the wonderful memories.