ShivAdya, Manali – A Beautiful Handcrafted Resort You’ll Definitely Fall In Love With

1:23 PM Naina Madan 3 Comments

Manali holds a very special place in my heart for it was the first place I visited as a solo traveller, about two and a half years back. So when TCBG, travel group that I am a part of, asked informed the group that a handcrafted resort near Manali was looking at hosting some of us, you can understand my excitement.

And so we, a group of five travel bloggers and photographers, reached ShivAdya Resort & Spa on a cold November morning.  The first impression of the property was very warm and delightful.  I couldn’t wait to get this trip started.

1.  A place with a character and story

While working in travel sector back in Delhi, this Himachali guy from Kullu carried his love for his home state. Planning Himachal Pradesh as tourist destination for his clients sitting in a Delhi office, Ritesh Sood yearned to go back to his roots. That day came after working in travel for 17 long and fruitful years.

That experience not just prepared Ritesh to start something on his own but also solidified his vision to make Himachal Pradesh as THE destination when people think of a mountain holiday. Moving back to Manali with his family, he looked around and studied the hotels and accommodation options in and around Manali and found all of them lacking in one thing. A character.

He decided to create something that gives utmost comfort to the visitors but also stays true to Himachali heritage. And so began the planning and creating a handcrafted masterpiece that is both an example of Himachali ethos as well a man’s passion to give it back to his hometown. A hard labour of two and half years led to ShivAdya.

By the way, Shiv and Adya are Ritesh and Neelam’s kids and they combined the two names to name another of their love, ShivAdya Resort & Spa.

There are just 15 rooms but boy, you will appreciate the attention to detail in all of them. Naming all the rooms after valleys, passes and mountain ranges of Himachal like Kaza, Kalpa, Zanskar, Hamta to name a few.

Ritesh’s passion behind the property and idea will instantly rub off on you. And you would want to sit with him and listen to his story!

2.  A handcrafted marvel

Yes, you have to see it to believe it. The flooring, the ceiling, the outer walls, everything has been made by hands. The design has been inspired from the local architecture of Kullu, Kangra, Mandi and Kinnaur valleys.

The whole property has been constructed using mud, wood and stone and almost no paint work. All the wood that you would see in the rooms has been locally sourced, from walnut, fir or sheesham. And only preservant has been used on the wood to help retain its original properties. No extra wood finish.

The resort is eco-friendly and all the material left over after construction was used for land filling.

So, when they say it’s handcrafted, it is. No kidding.

3.  You decide your own menu

No, that doesn’t mean you cook yourself or you go hungry. They have a wonderful chef and very talented team of sous chefs who will discuss with you about your tastes, preferences and whip up every meal as a special, customized for you meal. The food is lip-smacking and simple.

What drives it again, is the passion to keep alive the local flavors and ingredients. Needless to add that I over-ate all the meals, shamelessly.

4.  Very traditional and very modern

You will notice the artwork in the lounge or in the rooms and it is nothing but an ode to Himachal. Kullu rumaal (handkerchief), which has Lord Krishna knitted and it looks the same from both the sides of cloth, adorns many a walls and side tables in the property. There are wall hangings of pattu (local fabric) that lend a very distinct character to the interiors of the rooms.

On the other hand, you will find every modern amenity to keep your stay comfortable. Like the beautifully arranged toiletries in the bathroom or the cookie platter on the coffee table.

5.  Experience the real Himachal

Now, doing the Mall Road is not just Manali or Himachal. When you are staying at a place like ShivAdya, you must experience Himachal like a local.

Go for a walk in the nearby Karjan village.Walk through the village, surrounded by thick Devdar trees and rice fields.  Or, go for a hike around the Karjan waterfall.

Take a pattu tying session with local ladies helping you drape the thick, woolen dress. Pattu is often worn on special occasions like a wedding. Dress up like a pahadan and click some pictures for memories and photo album.

Walk up to the beautiful apple orchard and soak in the sun, while the chef whips up delicious lunch for you. A picnic lunch in the nature would be nothing like a lunch in an air-conditioned café.

If you love food, cooking and eating both, then take the cooking class specializing in Himachali cuisine. Learn to make local delicacies from local women and Ritesh’s wife, Neelam, who is a brilliant cook. I can still think of that delicious meal whipping up in the kitchen.

There is no end to the activities you can indulge in or experiences you can have at ShivAdya. They have a very exhaustive list of experiences to choose from.  You just need to decide what’s your heart is up to in that vacation. Spa, bonfire, trout fishing, mountain biking. Literally, whatever your heart desires.

Now, some facts before I sign-off.
•  ShivAdya is on the Manali Naggar Road, about 12 kilometers from Manali city center.
•  You can reach by an overnight Volvo from Delhi, take a train till Chandigarh or a flight till Kullu.
•  For more information, reach their website or call any of the numbers - 8894348935, 8894346935, 9805405535
Do not forget to have a long chat with Ritesh and Neelam. Their love and passion for the place might inspire to go for your own dream too.


  1. Very well composed & wriiten document, Naina. I completely endorse each & every aspect of your articulate description of this most wonderfully unique new destinstion which I had the good fortune to visit & also indulge in their true culinary expertise with Ritesh, earlier this summer. May GOD Bless this lovely couple & their family as well as this wonderful place in Mother Nature


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