Sunsaan (peace, tranquility, quietude) is a home on the bank of the River Yamuna, in Katapathar village near Dehradun. Sunsaan is charming and the walks and treks enjoyable as the river flows all around the property, and is a constant visual and aural presence. The walks and treks allow interaction with villagers and walking through the villages to experience a new culture. The ethnic group here are the Jaunsaris who trace their origin to the Pandavas of the Mahabharat and are of great scholarly interest to anthropologists and sociologists as they form a distinct social group in the way they dress eat and marry. They are a polyandrous society and trace this practice to Draupadi and her 5 husbands in the Mahabharat (polyandry continues to be practiced in the remote areas of the mountains even though it is rapidly dying out). Food will be good home-cooked food – with an emphasis on locally grown vegetarian food, though non-vegetarian food would be available.

Those coming from Haridwar and Rishikesh (which are on the Rives Ganga) will experience two great rivers of India. Sunsaan is about 1 hour 20 minutes by road from Dehradun. Dehradun itself is a rail head, and about 45 minutes from either Haridwar or Rishikesh. Apart from the owner’s residence, the property consists of six double rooms with 5 bathrooms.

The property is in the middle of a peaceful village, and offers a variety of activities:

Sadhna Kendra is a neighboring ashram where the spiritual head, Swami Chadraswami holds spiritual discourses and question/answer sessions all the while maintaining his silence, and communicating by writing his responses.

The Osho Ashram is another neighbor.

Walks and trekking for those interested in long hikes through the sal forests and to mountain villages are available, and for more serious outdoor activity, camping for an overnight hike to a village higher up is possible. Since the property and family have been an integral part of the surrounding villages for many years, safety is assured.

For those interested in not venturing too far out and yet wanting to experience the outdoors, tents can be pitched in the orchard of fruit trees within the property. Duration of the treks can be modified to individual requirements from a few hours to half a day (since the property is on the foothills of the sub-Himalayas which is a very pretty country side). Winter evenings are spent around a bonfire with the river raging past in the background (wood for the bonfire is wood lopped from fruit trees, which is an annual exercise, so is not environmentally destructive!)

Angling is available and the property will arrange for all necessary permits from the forest department. If necessary, angling equipment can be rented from the property.

Further a field through long and dusty roads, three hours north towards the mountains is Lakhamandal the site of a 5th century Shiva temple, mentioned in the Mahabharat - the village with its huddle of slate roofed houses still retains a quaint atmosphere. Westwards 7 kms away there is Kalsi with the Asoka edict going back to the 3rd Century. 20 kms in the other direction there are ruins of the amphitheater where ancient Hindu Kings performed ashvamagdh, the horse sacrifice.

The traditional folk dance known as the Barada nati could be arranged in the resort which gives one a glimpse into the culture.

The history of Sunsaan is interesting. Prince Jagut, the son of an exiled Nepalese Rana Prime Minister came to India in the early 1900s and built a one room hunting lodge in 1925 which gradually morphed into a home for him till his death 60 years later. During this period he lived in great harmony with the environment and the villagers. The home he built is in local rustic style with locally available building material, using local workers. Sunsaan was soon to become a watering hole for visitors from all over attracting people from all strata of society, from local villagers to the Vicereine Lady Linlithgow. The lodge /resort has a priceless collection of photographs and books which make for a very interesting read and give glimpse into the privileged lives of days gone by.

Today Sunsaan is part of the Maharaj Kumar Jagut Shamshere Trust, with a mandate to run a village school for the underprivileged (currently 40 children) where the school children pay a token fee of Rs 50/- (US$ 1.00) per month and the rest of the expenditure is picked up by the family who have been maintaining and renovating the property for modern usage while keeping intact the basic character of the place. Running it as a commercial venture will allow the resort meet its social objectives of:
a) providing employment to the locals,
b) support the running of the school, and,
c) preserving the property.

Additional but unedited information about Sunsaan.