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2 Days at Jay Clarks Exotica: I explored Nahan & Renuka Ji

Nahan and Renukaji

My trip to Nahan and Renukaji during my stay at Jay Clarks Exotica, made me fall in love with Himachal all over again. Himachal Pradesh is blessed with lush green forests, dense valleys, religious sites, waterfalls, gushing rivers, and streams. The literal meaning of Himachal is the  ‘Land of Snow’. But one need not always head to its higher altitudes, the foothills of Shivaliks are equally charming. Himachal takes its name from the Himalayas and it falls in the Western Himalayan range. Himachal Pradesh can also be divided into three zones – The outer Himalayas, The inner Himalayas, and The greater Himalayas. Currently, I am fascinated with the range of outer (lower) Himalayas, also popular as ‘Shivalik Hills’.  Shivalik means ‘tresses of the Shiva’. The famous places in this zone are Paonta valley, Nahan, Pachhad, and Renuka tehsils of the Sirmaur districts. In this blog, I will talk about my visit to Nahan tehsil and Renuka Ji temple. It was my first visit to the Sirmaur district and I fell in love with the big and small beautiful water bodies, green hills, and the lush greenery. While the views of the Renuka Sarovar left me enchanted, I was equally impressed with my room view at the hotel Jay Clarks Exotica. This one is located 13 kilometers ahead of Nahan on the NH-7 on the Ambala-Paonta Sahib-Dehradun Road in Village Rukhri.

The best part about Nahan is that it can be reached by many routes, via Baila if you are coming from Rajban, via Dehra Dun through Paonta Sahib; via Panchkula-Naraingarh-Kala Amb if you are around Chandigarh, via Yamunanagar-Hathanikund if you are approaching from Haryana and via Solan-Kumarhatti from Shimla.

Read more – When is Himachal Day?

All about my stay at Jay Clarks Exotica
This artworkat Jay Clarks Exotica reminded me of the traditional dresses and beautiful Himachali culture.

Haryana to Himachal

After making the most of the day and spending a night at Kurukshetra, the next morning I left for my hotel, Jay Clarks Exotica. The hotel is located on the highway and it took exactly two hours to reach there from Kurukshetra’s Divine City Centre, Opp. New Bus Stand. From Haryana to Himachal, first, the landscape changed, then the temperature, and finally the vibes. Our country is incredible indeed. Every time, I travel from one state to another, I get amazed to see the variations.

This was my first trip to Nahan and I had made plans to explore the Mall road of Nahan, Renuka Ji as well as Gurudwara Paonta Sahib. I had thought of heading out of the hotel as early as possible but once I reached my hotel, I lost track of my itinerary. Read to know why…

Good hotels in Himachal
My room at Jay Clarks Exotica, near Nahan

Hotels in Nahan
The View from my Balcony (Blue Lagoon in my glass)

Day 1 at Jay Clarks Exotica

Jay Clarks Exotica is a 24 rooms hotel situated amidst lush greenery, with all the rooms overlooking a natural lake. Though it is situated in NH it is far from the hustle and bustle of city life. The rooms have a modern and minimalist setup and the moment you walk to the balcony, you can leave all your worries behind. My heart leaped with joy when I saw the view from the balcony. The hotel stands by the lake. As far as the eyes could see, the whole area is nestled in a quiet, peaceful ambiance with abundant green hills in the background, and the lake provides a nice cocoon for travelers looking to escape the hectic city. The views reminded me of picturesque European villages. And why should I even be comparing? The view was endearing as a whole. The most common sound that I could hear was of birds and it was like music to the heart and soul. I could also see the lawn and the eating area, an extension of the restaurant from my balcony. It had several seating areas where guests were hanging around and having lunch with their families and friends. The grassy lawn had a view of the lake and the scenic neighborhood. This was the apt place to bask in the sun and chit-chat with friends and family.

Before reaching the hotel, I had thought that I would grab a quick lunch and head out to Nahan or Polenta Sahab but after seeing the views around, I wanted to have a slow day, indulge in an outdoor lunch, walk around the lake and explore the picturesque countryside. The calm and clean environment, secluded location, and verdant scenery were rooting for it.

After a heartful lunch, my friends and I decided to take a walk around the lake and check out the forests behind the village. If you love walking, this place has lots to offer. The village sights, lake, and hotel views made for great photographs. This place is great for birding too. Also, the view of the property from all sides keeps one entertained and makes a perfect backdrop for individual or family pictures. IBy the time, I returned, it was already time for high tea. The weather was pleasantly cold, just perfect to prepare oneself for the upcoming summers. After resting for around two hours in my room, I came down to the restaurant for dinner, where I was joined by my friends as well. We called it a day soon and I drifted off to sleep to make the most of the second day. The next day, I wanted to cover some of the places in my itinerary.

Jay Clarks Exotica- The hotel with a lakeview
As I walked around the lake, the village scenes kept me entertained

Birding in Himachal
Birding around the Lake!

Day 2 at Nahan and Renuka Ji

Jay Exotica is located just 13 kilometers away from Nahan, an important town in the Sirmaur district. We planned to explore Nahan first and then head to Renuka Ji. In the lap of the scenic Shivalik Mountains, Nahan attracts tourists for its green hills, old temples,, sprawling gardens, and rich heritage. Nahan is one of the oldest towns in Himachal and is often linked to saints and priests. As we explored, I learned that the city was founded in 1621 by Raja Karam Prakash. It also earns its fame by being the second oldest Municipal Corporation in India, after Kolkata. There are many temples in Nahan and with them come many stories. We visited the Rani Tal which was made in 1889 by King Sahmsher Prakash in the memory of his wife. Rani Tal also houses a beautiful Shiva temple which is open for everyone in and around the town.

Nahan is small but very pretty. It is an interesting place for history buffs too. We walked around its clock tower gate, Mahima district library, small and big temples, and the gurudwara, opposite the Nahan Chaugan ground. Chaugan is an open space where children play, locals assemble for meetings and the space is often used for other community works. In Nahan, one must also take a walk towards the ‘Villa Round’. It is a perfect walking ground aka ‘Shergah’ to surrender to the beauty of the surroundings and spend some time in the dense forests. A short hike fetches some of the most spectacular views of the Shivaliks and the neighborhood. There are points where you can get a bird’s eye view of the valley from the top. We spent some time in the forests and then returned to Mall road to check out some of the oldest buildings of Nahan. I would have loved to spend some more time on Mall road, but we also had to travel to Renuka Ji.

Things to do in Nahan
Nahan- The quaint and colourful town of Himachal

Exploring Rani Tal in Nahan with Jay Clarks Exotica
Rani Tal in Nahan. That is Shiva temple behind me!
Road tripping in Himachal
Off to Renuka Ji. Road tripping in Himachal

The drive to Renuka Ji was full of hairpin bends, scenic backdrops, lofty mountains, and picturesque villages. It was thrilling and worth every moment. Renukaji is a must-visit place temple and Sarovar in Himachal. Renukaji wildlife sanctuary and the mini zoo offer a great collection of the local flora and fauna. To be honest, the beauty of the Sarovar is mesmerizing. The story goes that Renukaji was the prettiest lady on Earth and this place is named after her. Parshuram was her son and once we reached Renukaji, we found two ancient temples dedicated to both, son and mother. Goddess Renuka is also believed to be one of the reincarnated forms of Goddess Durga. The devotees and followers of Hinduism visit this place for its legend and the calmness of the Sarovar. If you are in Nahan this place is surely worth a visit.

First, I walked through the Parshuram and Renukaji temples. And just when I thought, this was it, I was told, that this was the beginning. The main Sarovar is behind the temples. We crossed the temples and made our way to the Sarovar. It was mindblowing. There were a few more temples and some shops from where one could buy food to feed the fish of the lake. The water was crystal clear and one could see hundreds of fishes by the bank. The lake is breathtaking as well as it is also believed that the shape of the lake looks like a lady, the personification of Goddess Renuka. As we continued to walk further, we reached the entrance of the zoo. This is a very different kind of animals sanctuary where they are caged in their natural habitat. Also, there are hundreds of varieties of birds. A vast area is dedicated to the sanctuary and zoo. Even a day feels less here. We spent a couple of hours and yet could not cover the whole of it. I would recommend that one must come for a whole day. Entry is free to all the temples and mini zoo. I bet the place looks mesmerizing during sunrise and sunset.

How to reach Renukaji Temple?
Parshuram and Renuka ji temples in Renuka ji

Trip to Nahan and Renuka ji in Himachal
The breath taking Renuka Ji Sarovar

Renuka Ji is located precisely, 38 kilometers away from Nahan but it takes around one and a half hours/two to cover this distance one way. Also, it is very important to drive slowly and carefully in the hills because there are steep turns. By late evening, I was back at the hotel. I had a good dinner and dozed off to wake up early to the singing of the birds. I am not a morning person but I woke up early on both days and walked around to meet some of the prettiest birds in the area. I wish I could have stayed more but all holidays come to an end.

USP of the Hotel

  • The room size is large and the decor is vibrant.
  • The dining area is both indoor and outdoor and it’s spacious.
  • A variety of business and leisure gatherings can be conducted in its outdoor space with a lake view.
  • Team-building groups make use of the beautiful lake view.
  • On-site parking is free.
  • Wi-Fi is free in the guest rooms.
  • The hotel has a huge indoor swimming pool.
  • They also offer adventure activities on the lake.
  • There are washrooms available on the outside of the hotel, for drivers and people driving on the NH, in case of emergency.
  • There is a rich, green, dense, and vibrant walking area available around the lake.

Places to Visit Around Nahan and Renukaji

  • Suketi Fossil Park is 21 km away from the town of Nahan. I could not visit it because it was closed due to the pandemic. But I was told that fossils were discovered here. it is very unique and first-of-its kind park in Asia.
  • A little ahead of the Renuka Lake, there is Jamu Peak with beautiful views of the Shivalik ranges.
  • Dhaula Kuan, fruit orchards area around Nahan.
  • Ranzor Palace, 300 years old palace.
  • Jaitak Fort
  • Gurudwara Paonta Sahib, is a noted Gurudwara in Paonta Sahib.

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