If you are driving from Manali to Kaza, the journey is anything but smooth – this does not suggest it is not exciting and adventurous. It is – and one that will take you through some stunning landscapes. But at the end of it, even the sturdiest would wish for a comfortable bed and a hot meal. Knock on Banjara Camps – they will offer just the warmth and comfort your body will need.
I stayed at their property in Kaza in 2007 but they moved to a new location since then – the former was requisitioned by the local monastery for their expansion. No doubt the new property is far superior to the previous one – but the consistency of Banjara’s service continues.
* Service: Whatever you want, whenever you want – to the extent of what is possible in the remote Spiti region.
* Rooms: Nothing fancy with basic but functional furniture. Importantly, the bedsheets, blankets and pillows are very clean. Mattresses are suited to your back. The beds could have been six inches longer for tall people like me – but I managed fine diagonally. It was cold, so one does not move much once you get into a certain position. You get hot water bottles on request to keep your feet warm in the bed. There are ample power points to charge devices and the room is well lit – when there is power and the voltage is good. Bathrooms have electric geysers for hot water and the shower works well; if there is no power, you can get hot water in a bucket from the kitchen.
* Electricity: Himachal Pradesh has an electricity surplus but not enough finds its way to Kaza. There are periods of low voltage or no power at all. Fortunately, these were not for too long when I was there. It is advisable to keep your gadgets charged and water in the bathroom geyser warm should the power go off at the wrong time.
* Location: It may take some effort to find it the first time – it is located in the back lanes of what is known as New Kaza (a small town like Kaza has managed geographical regions of Old and New Kaza) near the Police Station. Banjara could do well to put some sign boards from the main highway – especially for travellers like me who reached after dark and one is hard pressed to find people to ask directions. Of course, everyone knows where Banjara is so this is not such a big issue. But it is very quiet in the lane – again, Kaza has managed to become a bit noisy on the main roads. And you get great views of the peaks from the windows.
* Food: Trademark Banjara. Does not get better – in any property I have stayed in India including luxury chains. Amazing how they keep stocks of almost all that is needed for the season – and every meal comes out fresh, hot, lip smacking and elaborate – without feeling too heavy in the stomach.
* Connectivity: Only MTNL / BSNL mobiles work – and you can use these for Internet. But service can be erratic and unreliable.
* Tariffs: Rs. 4,400 (double), Rs. 3,400 (single), Children between 5-12: Rs. 1,200; Extra Adult: Rs. 1,800 – including all meals and taxes.
Banjara Retreat, Near Police Station, Kaza, Dist. Lahaul & Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, 172 114
Would you like to book a room in this property? Contact Banjara Camps – and ask for a SPECIAL OFFER for Kunzum fans:
And do join us for a coffee at the Kunzum Travel Cafe in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India.