Bird Wood Cottage (www.dalhousiecottages.com), nestled among the Dhauladhar mountains and cradled by river Ravi is a treat—and a retreat—for tired souls.The proprietor, Pamela Chatrath, started renting out the two cottages on the property to visitors in 1996.
The business flourishes during summers, between April and October. Chatrath, who obviously likes to keep things simple says, “We don’t plan a particular strategy for summer or for any season. But yes, we get 90 per cent of our visitors during summers, and make `4-5 lakh during this time. In winter, this tapers off to a mere `1-2 lakh, in proportion to the decrease in visitors from 20 to 25 in peak season to just 4 to 5 occasional groups in winter.” Sometimes, honeymooners shack up in the cold months, pushing the figures up a little.
Dalhousie wears a thick coat of snow during winter, which peaks from the end of December until February. Although a lot of people visit the region to enjoy the snowfall, the Chatrath family uses this period to repair and paint their cottages in preparation of springtime and summer.
Adventurist tourists comprise 80 per cent of the visitors Bird Wood Cottage gets, while new couples and honeymooners make up the remaining 20 per cent. Although the total traffic falls during winter, this ratio remains same throughout the year.
When DARE called Bird Wood Cottage to ask for high-resolution pictures to accompany this feature story, a rather hassled Chatrath admitted to ‘not knowing much about all this,’ and said one of her sons would take the pictures and send them to us. An indication that this is, in the true sense of the word, a homely, informal enterprise, which is perhaps what makes it so appealing to many. Arvind Chatrath feels, “It can be a very profitable business if it is done on a more commercial and larger scale than we do.”
|Cottage Tariff: Rs5500 per day for a 2 bedroom cottage in May and June. Rs4000 a night for the rest of the year|
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