Athul Bos, a mechanical engineering graduate, was bitten by the journey bug throughout his school days in Coimbatore.
“I owned a Pulsar 220 then and was surrounded by a gaggle of ‘hodophiles’. We’d go on random bike journeys inside South India virtually each weekend. Slowly, the realm expanded and we started conducting longer journeys to the Northeast too,” Thrissur-based Athul tells The Higher India.
In 2010, he raced from Hyderabad to Kanyakumari and again in lower than 36 hours on his sport bike, bagging a global biking award in consequence. “I’m the primary particular person from South India to finish this Saddle Sore Problem of Iron Butt Affiliation and earn its certificates on the age of 21. It was after finishing this problem that I travelled throughout India and Bhutan.”
Between 2013-14, Athul determined to take a break from travelling by taking on his household enterprise for a yr after school. Within the meantime, he additionally arrange a driving gears’ store in his hometown. This enterprise slowly introduced him again to travelling. He started organising all-India journeys for others, himself collaborating in a couple of.
“Quickly, Himachal turned our regular spot. I’d earn a dwelling by guiding foreigners and biker teams via the treacherous roads of Manali-Leh-Nubra Valley and Manali-Spiti-Shimla. Quickly, my associates and I needed to take over a property to run it as a homestay,” the 33-year-old says.
“Seven years in the past, we discovered a spot close to Manali and stepped into the hospitality area.”
In a couple of years, the city noticed many properties and retailers. Throughout this time, whereas on a trek to a close-by waterfall, Athul stumbled upon a 20-year-old cottage in ruins. “The cottage was so aesthetic, made utterly out of stone, mud and wooden. I made a decision to take over it, rebuild it, and run as a homestay, this time with out companions,” he explains.
The cottage, which had been arrange by a German traveller, is 8 km away from city and accessible by way of a really brief trek via close by villages. Athul says this was the one settlement within the space three years in the past, so he confronted challenges to find staff to rebuild the house attributable to terrain constraints.
“With the assistance of some households from the close by village and the help of my associates, I modified the cottage. Upon the recommendation of the villagers, we used a novel mixture of soil and cow dung with rock stones and recycled wooden to beautify the cottage. It took us two months to finish the renovation works,” says Athul.
The cottage was named ‘Jungle Hut’ because it lies close to a forest. In the meantime, the land was taken up via a 10-year lease coverage. In lower than a yr, another property got here up close to the cottage.
“With the intention to not smash the peace of the realm and preserve privateness, I made a decision to take up that property too. In contrast to the cottage, this setup is made with fashionable amenities. However all of our friends are drawn to the one-room cottage, which has an attic, rest room, kitchen and balcony,” Athul provides.
Aside from offering a snug keep close to the forest, Jungle Hut additionally arranges journey packages to Leh-Spiti to friends who want to discover Himachal. Automobile tenting is one other peculiar facility they supply, the place meals and keep is organized in a automotive whereas travelling via the key vacationer spots of the state.
“In Jungle Hut, we give significance to the expertise relatively than the journey. The place can be a really perfect getaway spot for individuals who love to know the village tradition in depth and spend a couple of peaceable weeks away from noisy cities,” he notes.
A ‘therapeutic’ keep away from town
Aside from Athul, two caretakers are additionally out there at Jungle Hut. The place is residence to 2 pet canine — Alphiee and Gama — who accompany the friends on hikes and information them with right routes.
Until date, Athul has not used any advertising methods to advertise his place, he says. “The property is totally occupied for nearly three weeks of a month. Most friends are foreigners or from the South. Some arrive after listening to about our little house from associates or by seeing our footage on social media.”
More often than not, the complete cottage is given to a household/couple. “The value per night time for the cottage is Rs 5,000 and for the unusual room is Rs 2,500. If the reserving is for a month, we cost Rs 30,000 for a person and Rs 35,000 if for 2. All three meals a day, Wi-Fi and laundry companies are supplied for this quantity,” he provides.
Megha P Manoharan, who visited Jungle Hut this August, says, “I received to find out about this place via a buddy. The expertise was satisfying and great. The cottage is a comfortable place to remain and the view from right here is extraordinarily stunning. Truthfully talking, I didn’t need to return residence.”
She continues, “My favorite factor to do was to take a seat within the hall, sip a cup of lime tea, benefit from the stunning view, and work. All of us would spend the evenings within the kitchen, sharing tales and jokes whereas meals was being cooked. Jungle Hut is ideally suited to alleviate workplace stress. It feels equal to remedy.”
Megha provides that he homestay is surrounded by apple and apricot farms. “Strolling via the farms and having freshly plucked fruits was one other perk.”
Jungle Hut additionally has an natural vegetable farm close to the property, from which produce is used to make meals. “Our current plan is to develop the farm and develop extra objects within the compound in order that the friends can take pleasure in a nourishing meal. We’re additionally all set to make the entire property run on solar-power. This might be one other step in direction of sustainability,” says Athul.
He additionally notes, “After commencement, a lot of my associates migrated to overseas nations and settled there. Despite the fact that I acquired related presents, I denied all of them to remain on this stunning nation. I can by no means get probably the most out of Himachal alone, though it has been years since I moved right here. All I want is to share this expertise with everybody who visits Jungle Hut.”
Contact them right here.
Edited by Divya Sethu; Picture credit: Athul Bos