Goverdhan: The holy town of 'Goverdhan Parbat', the hill believed to have been lifted by little Sri Krishna to protect 'Brajbasis' from the wrath of Indra Dev, is fast becoming a new hub of spiritual tourism in Uttar Pradesh.
With an increasing influx of NRIs and high income group pilgrims from the metros, the town which once had only 'dharamshalas' or temple premises for night stay, is now home to smaller hotels and a row of road-side dhabaas.
Now, high-profile visitors seeking solace amidst verdant green have taken a fancy for the newly-opened Sri Radha Brij Vasundhara, a resort spread over 25 acres of lush green, offering a panoramic 'darshan' of the holy Goverdhan hill.
Goverdhan records perhaps the highest number of devotees in India, round the year, for a 21-kilometre 'parikrama' of the holy hill.
The resort, along the parikrama marg near Aanyaur village, looks an oasis amidst dry parched desert sand. "From the outside, you can not even make out what's in store inside the campus. But once you are in, it's a treat all the way. The cottages are sited in green clusters that echo with constant chirping of birds," said a pilgrim from Gujarat staying in the resort.
With the theme "come discover the joy of living", the 50 cottages are designed to help the guest break free from the monotony and explore the richness of life. The greens and the fresh air energise and help connect to oneself, something that is missed in daily grind of life.
For those on pilgrimage, a temple with the idol of Shrinathji in the middle of a manicured lawn offers a perfect place for morning aarti or evening prayer with soft chants and hymns filling up the morning air.
And, if you're looking to relax after a tiring trip to the local attractions or to the seventh wonder of the world, The Taj Mahal, which is just a 90-minute drive from the resort, the spa has much to offer.
The 50-cover multi-cuisine restaurant serves delicious Indian and international fare. It has been named ‘Matki’ after Lord Krishna's famous makhan (butter) and matki (earthen pot) story. The breakfast buffet is a must try for all, with its south Indian specialities. In deference to local sentiments, only vegetarian dishes are served.
"A large number of foreign devotees of Sri Krishna have become our regular guests because they love the spiritual ambience of the area. Eight percent of the area is green and only 20 per cent is built up. Since the water here is hard, we have arranged for a pipeline to bring water to the resort from two kilometres away," resort manager Pradipt Anand told IANS.
The actors and crew members of the film ‘Tevar’ were so fascinated by the ambience that they chose to stay here for the duration of the shooting at Agra, Anand said.
"Though we have all the modern facilities, we have tried to connect our guests with nature by following environment conservation measures. Vehicles have restricted entry inside the property; guest transportation is mainly via battery-operated club cars.We have cycles in resort for guests to ride," resort director Tanya Agarwal said.
"The entire guest stationary is made up of recycled brown paper. All the horticulture waste (dry leaves) is used to produce manure on site. There is no procurement from outside. Organic products are being used in the spa," she added.