Meet Sanjay Austa, the man who quit the rat race to build Meena Bagh resort in Shimla, almost by himself

This is Meena Bagh’s story

The beginning 

Two years ago, prodded by Delhi’s worsening air quality, I took a major decision: Get out of the furnace, quit the rat race and invest my time and energy in giving shape to what I had dreamt of so long. A house of my own in my apple orchard in Ratnari, Shimla! 

Meena Bagh Dogs, cats, hens, lambs together make over 12 furry and feathered members of the Meena Bagh Ratnari household.

I repossessed our old abandoned orchard house and built around its ancient mud and stone walls. Meena Bagh stayed true to three elements dear to my ancestors: Insulation against cold, local hill aesthetics, and lots of farm animals. Another crucial factor; eco-friendliness, (something our frugal forefathers did not have to worry about) was the pivot around which the Meena Bagh Ratnari project was centred since we were opening it for travellers. 

Of mud, stone & wood panels 

To keep Meena Bagh a true replica of how my ancestors had visualised it, we used waste wood for the interiors, made provisions for water harvesting, focussed on insulation, and grew our own vegetables organically. We decided not to buy any furniture from the market. Instead, we made everything in-house, as per our requirements, and design. We bought scrap wood which local mills sold as ‘waste’ and  used it not only to panel our walls, but also to make furniture including beds, lamps, tables and even the small bar in the solarium. 

Meena Bagh With its wood and mud-plastered walls, this is the closest you get to live in a typical 'Himachali' home in Shimla.

Man’s best friends 

Dogs, cats, hens, lambs together make over 12 furry and feathered members of the Meena Bagh Ratnari household. Guests are not only allowed to get their pets here, but are given preference over others for reservations. The motley mix of animals, their daily interactions with each other and with guests provide endless amusement and merriment in the house.

It’s a white world

Meena Bagh With a thick blanket of snow, winter here is dreamlike and unreal.

Winter is a month when the locals shift to Chandigarh, the closest big city, to escape the biting cold. But Meena Bagh Ratnari is built for the winter. With its heated bathrooms, insulated windows, walls and roof you can be indoors by the fireplace in a T-shirt while its a freezing 12 degrees below zero outside. With a thick blanket of snow, winter here is dreamlike and unreal. So why should the cold come in the way of experiencing this splendour?

Contact: www.meenabaghresorts.com; email: info@meenabaghresorts.com; Call: (91) 9910092854

Contact: www.meenabaghresorts.com; email: info@meenabaghresorts.com; Call: (91) 9910092854

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