The hotel was built from the remains of an old stone house, which itself was originally built more than 150 years ago by an American Pentecostal Mission, one of the many different Christian missions set up during the British Victorian era. Taking a walk around the hill, which covers about three-square kilometres, takes one back in time, as it still comprises several old houses and cottages which were originally other missionaries’ residencies, latterly leased as private family homes. The infamous earthquake of 1905, which decimated around 80,000 buildings in Kangra region caused major damage to the original stone house of the Eagles Nest, leaving the building inhabitable for decades to come.
At Eagles Nest, when you walk into the forest surrounding the property, the very history of the hill walks with you. Our desire is to create an experience which takes you to the past – the tranquillity, the aromas, and the pristine wilderness, albeit with comforts of a cosy retreat at your disposal.
Down below the western end of the hills lies Forsyth Ganj, a small village where the church of St. John in the wilderness can be found.
The Church, breath taking in its architecture, was originally decorated with beautiful Belgian stain-glass windows, and was historically famed for being the final resting place of Lord Elgin (Vice-Roy of India: 1862-63), as well as a church attended by Captain Francis Younghusband.
Captain Francis Younghusband, the young British Army Official who went on to notoriety as one of the first Europeans to enter Tibet, as the leader of the British expeditionary force to Lhasa in the year 1904. Younghusband subsequently went through an extraordinary volte-face, renounced violence, and embarked upon the pursuit of mysticism, Buddhism, and other esoteric faiths. He went on to found the World Congress of Faiths to promote dialogue between religions.
Bo & Shiela
When Bo first visited the hill, locally known as Dhongri, he was mesmerized by the enchanting beauty of the raw wilderness. One of his visits turned into a stay at the Carlton Cottage in the 1970s. Though working and settled down in London, Bo and Sheila started visiting the hills 1985 onwards for regular holidays, extending their stays at Eagles Nest every time they visited. They loved their frequent trips and would virtually camp under the stars, in the broken down, dilapidated old house. Their affection for the wilderness led their way despite there being no road at all from McLeodganj.
Bo and Sheila were ecstatic on having found out that the owner wanted to sell a large piece of the Eagles Nest land and forming a Himachali Company, purchased the land around Eagles Nest. In the 1990s, they started the process of rebuilding the hotel. The building taking shape in front of them seemed like a forever wait, as it came with its own challenges of constructing with locally available material in the middle of a jungle! The spirit with which Bo and Sheila build the hotel still remains the essence of the Eagles Nest Hotel with the original stable – barn still being used for the Horses. Sheila continues to be a part of the Eagle’s Nest Family and make everyday at Eagle’s Nest better than the last for all its guests.