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Travel Diaries – Mirage, Andretta, Dharamshala

This is a bit of a belated post , I stayed in Mirage during the long Holi weekend last month . Mirage is a beautifully decorated boutique hotel in Andretta an Artists village. Before you read more about the home stay and the great hospitality offered by Denis , you must play this music alongside. It is Game of Throne’s theme played on Tabla !
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Andretta artists colony was started some 75 years ago by an Irish woman named Norah Richards, who acquired the land from the District Commissioner of Kangra in 1935. A fascinating story which links Andretta today directly to Bollywood via some of Indian cinema’s greatest actors, Norah Richards was brought to Andretta at the insistence of Jaya Dayal of Lahore University, the man who built the Mirage in 1948. According to the late cine actor Shammi Kapoor, “he was in love with her & she with Shakespeare”. (Google “Andretta Artists Village” for the full story)
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 “I spend my time between my farm house in France and “The Mirage” in India. India has grown on me enormously in my 20  years here and I love sharing my passion with our guests. “
 some pictures of the tastefully done white houseIMG_3697

Peacocks in the Rain

Peacocks in the Rain

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Peacocks in the Rain
Peacocks in the Rain
 Denis our Kiwi host  started Mirage over 6 years ago .  The Mirage is a multi-function residency hosting travellers, yoga groups and artist/acting workshops. It  is a cluster of traditional Himachali mud houses which have lovingly been restored to an inviting homestay with fully modern amenities.
Set amongst dense foliage in the artist’s colony of Andretta, against a backdrop of jungle & bamboo groves of the Shivalik Hills, The Mirage is a veritable museum of hand picked Indian furniture and artefacts with the mighty Dhauladhar range and its snow-capped peaks looming like a curtain across the Kangra Valley.
 A unique opportunity to meet Artists across the resort and Andretta
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 IMG_3825( with Mini Singh my favorite potter ! )
Down the path from the Mirage is the Andretta Pottery, a famous institution founded by one of Norah’s artist friends, Sardar Gurcharan Singh, the master of blue pottery in India at the time, and now run by his son Mansimran Singh & his wife Mary. He & Mary run long term residential pottery courses for students from all over the world. Go to www.andrettapottery.com for more on that story.
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“My manager Sushil, his wife Saroj & their two children live with us & are my extended family here at home.  Together we invite you to experience “The Mirage’s” hospitality!”
Denis is also going to host  a theatre workshop this summer in the beautiful green cottages set amongst his beautiful cottages at Mirage. To learn more details – see here .
 parting with the flowers of mirage mirage flowers
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