Wah Tea Estate was established in 1857 by the British in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. The estate saw decades of continuous cultivation, and even survived an earthquake which struck the region in 1905. The estate was then taken over by Sir Sikander Hayat-Khan, the son of the Nawab of Wah in Pakistan, who named the estate after his birthplace. The word ‘Wah’ in Hindi language means ‘Wow’ and a visit to the estate will hopefully elicit the same reaction!
In 1953, the estate was taken over by the Chaiwala family. The Chaiwala family has a rich history in the tea industry since the 1940s. As the family grew, the plantations were divided amongst the younger generations; however, the renowned ‘Chaiwala’ name continues to bind them together. Wah Tea Estate now looked after by the third and fourth generation of the family, Deepak, and Surya Prakash. As a young boy, Surya grew up visiting the tea garden several times a year. With each passing year, years of travelling around the world compelled him to start sharing the experience at Wah, and with this, the idea for The Lodge at Wah was born.
The Wah Tea Estate Homestay started as an endeavor taken up by Deepak Prakash to build a home for his family and personal guests close to the tea factory. He was determined to create The Lodge at Wah as an extension of its surroundings. When he noticed the skill of the locals with mud, stone, wood, and slate, he was inspired to make his home using materials and skilled craftsmen only from the region.
The cottages were made of local materials and worked on by skilled craftsmen from the region. The structure is made entirely of mud from the excavation on site. The beautiful slate roofs are inspired by the ‘gaddi’ tribe homes and adjusted to prevent water leakage and to look symmetrical and complete from all angles. The river stones and slates are hand chiselled and crafted in the local Kangra method. The house colour confounds visitors and guests as no paint have been used on the walls, either outside or inside. The interior walls have a white finish as a result of mixing the mud plaster with natural materials.
Efforts were made throughout to keep The Lodge at Wah a natural, eco-friendly home. These efforts continue in their daily operations so that the guests can enjoy a wholesome experience, far off the beaten path. The wood used inside the cottages, roof linings, banisters from witness stands, doors, windows etc are recycled materials from an old Palampur courthouse which was being demolished and reconstructed. More of the wood is from the Wah estate, in place of which multiple trees were planted. The polish is done with linseed oil and making it chemical free.
Wah Tea Estate is spread over 526 acres and is nestled in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The proximity to the majestic Dhauladhar range allows for beautiful views of its snow-clad mountains almost around the year.
Palampur is located at 32.12°N 76.53°E below the Dhauladhar Range at an approximate height of 3800-4000 ft above sea level.
Total no. of rooms : 8, spread across 3 cottages
All the cottages are made of eco-friendly materials like wood, slate, and mud.
Distance : Approx. 35 Kms from Dharamshala (1.5 hours’ drive)
Nearest Airport : Dharamshala (35 kms), Jammu (206 kms) and Amritsar (215 kms)
Nearest Railhead : Pathankot (116 kms)