05 July, 2019
Every year, we take a break from our frenetic lives and check out another spot on our travel bucket list. I am sure there are millions of people across the planet who are doing the exact same thing on an annual basis. Often I see people putting up the flag emoticons on their bio to vaunt the places they have yet explored. And it makes me wonder if we are far away from a future where teleportation will be available to the masses. As a result, the tourism industry is flourishing now more than ever and we are getting closer and more connected. All this rapid development and evolution does have its own consequences. Though distances are getting shorter, it does not help in getting us more free time. To be strictly honest with you, most of the working class people get just one single shot in a year for a vacation. And that is golden. I mean, this is the only time when you get to have a break from your daily mundane life. So, you plan for it the entire year from raising funds to buying tickets to arranging accommodation and what not. But have you ever came across this thought, that even while you are on a vacation, you are still on vacation management mode. And frankly, if you monitor your stress levels, you will find that they are as high as the almighty Mount Everest. Now, who wants to remain careful or micromanaging things on a vacation? No one! Be it a family trip, or an adventurous one or you are away from the world hiding at a secluded exotic place, one thing is certain - You want to rejuvenate and recoup. As easy as it sounds, we all know it is not that simple. You must be thinking here that I am exaggerating but let us now rifle through the possibilities. The first being you hired a travel agent or booked a travel package. Now you will think that your trip is fully covered and it will go on hassle-free. Most travel packages have fixed spots and fixed time slots for every location. Basically, it is a live calendar of events and you have to move in perfect synchronization. Can you tell me how is it different from your daily work routine where you have all the meetings scheduled and you follow the calendar? How is it different for your child who is following a time table every day at school? Limiting the joy of exploring a new place is not how you would have pictured a vacation. God help you if you are the one who is planning and executing every step of the trip on your own. Because in this scenario you are still trapped in the vicious, monotonous and unbroken whole. The question of the hour is “How to plan for your next trip?”. My unbeaten formula for planning a trip is looking out for a resort that will take care of your whole trip and is located in close proximity to your city. One such resort is SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa, located at the foot of Govardhan Parvat, in the divine and sacred land of Lord Krishna, Mathura.
You must be pondering how a vacation at this resort is any different. Keep scrolling and reading. You will start to connect all the dots together. Let us first start with the location of the resort. The nearer your resort is to your home, the better it gets. On longer route journeys, people get exhausted even before the actual vacation starts. For weekend getaways, it is highly recommended to not waste time on longer route journeys, rather find nearby spots that are easily accessible and are equipped with all the amenities. The resort is located just 3 hours from New Delhi, the capital city of India. You can reach the resort in about 3 hours by road or 2 hours by train without a hitch. The second concern that you might have is to plan an itinerary that is in the best interests of you and your travel companions. Few resorts have specially curated and budget-friendly itineraries according to the whims and wishes of their esteemed guests. Look out for resorts who have dedicated staff for planning, creating and executing itineraries. SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa is one such resort who will go the extra mile to make you feel welcomed, comfortable and be with you at every step of your trip. You can leave all the planning and execution to the staff members and focus on simply enjoying the moment. The eventual concern should be the amenities being provided at the resort. If you want to take a spiritual retreat then what better place can it be other than the spiritual city Mathura? The city might not be very urban, but the resort is equipped with all the comforts that you can think of. These facilities include an indoor swimming pool, recreation center, sauna, gym, and a spa. They also have bicycles and golf cars to roam around the resort. You can picture the resort as a place where modern-day amenities meets nature. Not only they honor the spiritual beliefs of their customers but they are strictly following the environment conservation measures to build a better future for the generations to come. They have rain harvesting measures in place, horticulture waste is used to make manure and they have also installed a sewage treatment plant that treats which then is used in horticulture. This magnificent resort is spread across 26 acres of land with 50 luxury cottages. Let us dive into a virtual tour of my weekend staycation with SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa.
Trips to places holding spiritual importance is usually a family vacation. If it was a few years earlier, I would have never thought of visiting Mathura without my family because we have this established set of attitudes that Mathura is not a vacation spot, rather a place proliferated with temples and shrines. I wanted to take a retreat from the daily humdrum of my life and thought of taking a break. Vacations are the perfect escape plans usually but this time I wanted to try something different that will not only rest my body but my mind too. I stumbled across SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa and honestly, I started packing up. I began my train journey at around 8 AM in the morning and reached Mathura at 11:15 AM. From Mathura Junction, the resort is a mere 30 minutes away. On my way to the resort, I was thoroughly relishing the colorful jumble of glittering shops selling idols and other religious things. Every corner of the city is sprouting with glorious temples mostly dedicated to Lord Krishna. As soon as I reached the resort, I was welcomed in a very traditional way with tikka and a welcome drink. The staff here have a unique and pleasing way of welcoming guests by saying “Radhe Radhe”.
The moment you step on the property, you will be astonished to see the spellbinding beauty of this place. The resort is covered 80% in green and the sense of breathing fresh and pure air will instantly lift up your drooping mood. Battery operated golf cars run in the entire resort and vehicle entry is very restricted. I took a quick tour of the premises while moving towards my cottage and I was welcomed with the chirping of birds, cool breeze and smiling faces. The cottage that was going to be my abode for the next two days had a living room, two lavish bedrooms and a lawn in front of the cottage. The whole cottage is priced at Rs. 5500 per night. Both the rooms were high-ceilinged, sizeable, airy and had all the modern-day facilities (TV, mini-fridge, mirror, executive desks, coffee maker, cupboard and laundry service). After loafing a little bit, we headed to the Matki Restaurant for having our lunch. Remember the time when I said that SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa honor the spiritual beliefs of the locals and their customers very humbly. Well, in deference to the sentiments and beliefs of local people, the resort only provides vegetarian options on their menu. The restaurant staff is all prepared to serve you food, free from onion and garlic as well. Matki restaurant is primed to serve multi-cuisine dishes including but not limited to Gujarati, Rajasthani, South Indian, and other continental dishes. The food is freshly prepared and the quantity is fulfilling too. I was quite impressed with the huge number of vegetarian options that they are providing. Additionally, for a non-vegetarian fan like me, the veggie dishes were completely lip-smacking. Things I would suggest you to try out for sure are dal makhani, crispy corn, achari mushroom, penne alfredo, and fried ice-cream.
Post this sumptuous meal, we got ready to hit the streets of Mathura. This resort lies just on the circumference of the Govardhan Parikrama Marg and we started on our parikrama in an e-rickshaw arranged by the resort itself. They were kind enough to send another staff member with us to guide us throughout. The parikrama is distanced 21kms and people from all around the world flock this city to do this auspicious parikrama of the Govardhan Parvat. Not a single day goes by when you will not find pilgrims on the parikrama marg. The devotees here are so committed, dedicated and determined that nothing can stop them from performing this revolution around the sacred Giriraj. If you want to have a glimpse of this massive faith and credence of the people here, then you must visit the God’s own abode on a full moonlight and witness the spiritual and pious aura of this entire city. Even a sight of the people who are covering 21 km barefoot and some people going to the extent of doing Dandvat parikrama (lying on the road with their whole body touching the road) will give you chills down your spine. Some saints here are known to do 108 Dandvat Parikrama, which means that they will perform Dandvat 108 times at the same spot before moving on. It takes them years to complete one single parikrama. The strong faith and determination of these people who have devoted their entire lives in one supreme cause will make you change your perspective of seeing life. It made me realize that we chase so many unnecessary evils that we never enjoy the life we ought to live. During the parikrama, we came across numerous ancient temples and villages, each of which holds some historical importance. Among all these attractions, the ones you should not miss are Mukharvind temple in Jatipura, Poonchhari ke Lautha Ji Mandir, Manasi Ganga, Radha-Shyam Kund, and Kusum Sarovar. The parikrama is teeming with so many local shops and eateries. You can buy religious stuff from these local markets at super cheap prices. Trust me, I bought so many things for my mother and I never saw her smiling ear-to-ear like this. While my mother was happy when she got her hands on the Radha-Krishna idols, I still feel the joy of trying the delectable street dishes. The crispy hot jalebis right out of the frying pot, the handmade lassi and the very famed “Mathura ke Pede” are meant to be relished.
After the successful completion of our parikrama, we headed back to the resort to treat our foodie souls. The dinner was as lavish as the lunch and it is safe to say that we ate until our hearts were full. Following the dinner, we strolled around the property, played some board games and then went off to the bed.
The mornings here are usually calming and quiet. The only music that your ears will listen to is the voice of chirpy birds, peacocks, and parrots. Since Goverdhan is just 35km away from Bharatpur, which houses a bird sanctuary, you will find innumerable migratory birds here. Waking up early is the key to spotting diverse avifauna. After some bird watching, it was time for taking a dip into the pool and breakfast by poolside. The resort has an indoor swimming pool which makes it a perfect relaxing spot on a hot summer day. Adjacent to the pool they have a sauna and jacuzzi. You can choose what suits you the best. Their buffet breakfast options have food for every mood. We tried idlis, vada sambhar, dhokla and freshly cut fruits along with some refreshing drinks by the poolside. While you are enjoying your swimming session you can turn the music on and have your own pool party. We dived into the water, we danced and we ate until we were happily exhausted.
Thereafter we dozed off for a while and then headed to Kusum Sarovar. This sandstone monument standing on a masonry lake is a prominent tourist spot. The grandeur of this place is so admiring that even the Bollywood filmmakers added it to their shooting spots. Many films are shot here including Luka Chuppi starring Kriti Sanon and Kartik Aaryan. My fantasy of posing around and feeling no less than a Bollywood diva is still going strong. Without further ado, I got myself clicked in front of this architectural brilliance swishing my long skirt. Rain and cold breeze showed up to add dramatic effects. Yes, I lived my special Bollywood like moment gleefully. Post the shooting session, we had a pleasant time enjoying the drizzling and drinking Kulhad Chai nearby Kusum Sarovar.
After we were finished maundering and composing dreamy thoughts, we went back to the resort for savoring ourselves with Dal Kachori and Aloo Sabzi. This dish is very popular among the masses here and if you visit this place, you cannot say no to the very delish Mathura special Dal Kachori and Aloo Sabzi. Till date, I cannot believe that I had 3 kachoris all by myself. In case you crave for some truly northern flavors, then give this dish a try on your next visit. I am sure you will not return disappointed. After the satisfying meal, we watched some shows on TV and lazed around. Evenings here are blissful as you can take a walk, ride a bicycle around the resort or simply enjoy tea or coffee in the lawn in front of your cottage.
Following the casual ambling, I was rejuvenated mentally but my body needed to relax and recoup. For the very same reason, SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort has a spa named Anubhuti. The spa services are not included in your regular package, unlike the other facilities. Nonetheless, it is worth taking a shot. I went for a full body massage and to be strictly honest with you, it was revitalizing. I did take a nap midway but once I woke up it felt that my entire system was kick-started and energy is gushing through my veins. All the scrubs and oils that were used in Anubhuti are all organic and chemical-free. The spa is one of a kind, as it is the only spa in the entire Braj region. After the spa session, we visited the wedding destination spot that SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa have in their property and it faces the holy Giriraj. Imagine a place where you have a scenic view and at the same time, it is one of the 7 most sacred places in the country for your wedding. I would say it's a win-win! We had an appetizing dinner afterward and we went off to bed.
Our journey to this spiritual haven was coming to an end. We woke up early and had breakfast in bed. One of the best things about SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa is that they whole-heartedly follow “Atithi Devo Bhava” and they strive to provide all the comfort and luxury to their guests. Even the most upscale resorts do not have the option of breakfast in bed, while in SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort, you can have every breakfast delight you think of right at the comfiest and coziest bed. Finally, it was time to bid adieu to this charismatic and this divine place. We packed our bags and on our way back to the station we were again greeted with smiling faces chanting Radhe Radhe as we were getting into the cab. To our utter surprise, the resort arranged and packed some food for our journey. One interesting thing to note here is that all the paper plates and their entire stationery is made up of recycled paper, which is a big step towards conserving our nature. It was really hard to say goodbye to these people with open and warm hearts and this place which stands high on deep faith. But as they say, that memories live forever. I am glad that I made countless memories that I am going to cherish for years to come.
This is exactly the way I wanted my trip to go, where I do not have to rely on travel agents and do not have to worry about planning and executing the trip on my own. Resorts that not only provides you the facilities but put their best foot forward and lend a helping hand to make your vacation a pleasant experience is what I crave for. The owner Mrs. Sapna Arora also took the time out to meet and greet us. I would like to give a huge shout out to Ms. Simran who planned our itinerary and was with us all the time to make us aware of the local customs and beliefs. She made sure that we do not miss out anything important and made the trip an unforgettable experience. The place, the environment around, the welcoming staff and the hospitality that I received from SHRI Radha Brij Vasundhara Resort and Spa is what touched my heart. Hope to visit this place sooner than later.
Until my next adventure,
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