Imagine it is a Sunday. You get up to a bright sunny morning. To an aroma of steaming hot large cup of tea with an uninterrupted view of the Dhauldhars (The large is important, small cups of tea don’t work for me). You savour the tea and walk down a flight of stairs to a sprawling garden filled with hundreds of plant and flowers, all different, tastefully decorated and ah the fragrances and behold the variety of colors! You walk around leisurely, click some pictures, do your morning exercises. Then lay in the easy chair and bask in the sun.
Soon you are hungry. So you go back to a aroma filled breakfast of alu paratha and home made achar. After a guiltily sumptuous breakfast, you have choices from 1) going back to sleep 2) reading a book 3) watching TV 3) playing a game or 5) going for a walk. The guilt and the great weather makes you choose a nature walk.
You walk by the flowing water, climb down the hill, feeling quite adventurous, (try as I might, can’t call it trekking), and keep walking as you reach the jungle with tall pine trees. Look all around you, trees and trees, tall ones, sunlight flickering through them and large boulders. Find the almost invisible trails left by other adventure seekers and keep walking till you reach the river. Sit down with your legs dipped in icy water and enjoy being one with nature, the solitude in the vast universe with only the sound of flowing water and chirping birds.
After some-time the sun starts hitting you from the clear blue sky above and you decide to move your sun-soaked body back to the romantic mansion aka “Romansion”.
Lunch is anything you choose, but is always enough, warm and different every day and served with a lot of love. After a lip smacking meal, the previous choices are back and now you decide to lounge on the sofa and read a book. The tough part is what to read from the 100s of books of all genres just lying around waiting for a book lover to embrace them, in the living area and in the library. After a while, you find something that piques your interest and settle down for the next two hours.
After the evening Hi-tea, you decide to do some brisk walking and this time you take a different route, just walking down the winding village street among the abundant green fields around and a breathtaking view of the mountains and the sky. Fresh after the walk, you decide to have a cozy evening playing games with your family. Again spoilt for choices. You can choose from 1) Carom 2) Ludo 3) Table Tennis or 4) Badminton.
Finishing your day with a light and tasty snacky dinner. By the time it is 10 pm, you are quite sleepy and can’t wait to rest your head on the soft pillow, only to get up at 6 am the next morning.
Gear change. Today is a working day. Post your breakfast of kanda-poha and cha, you take your laptop and settle down in a very comfortable chair in the library, put your feet up and work uninterrupted with steady internet.
About 15 years back, we had spent a holiday in a Swiss village. After several years, I found similar comfort in my India, in a small village called Chimbalhaar near Palampur, Himachal.
I love to travel and with all the lockdowns and current challenges, life had been drab for a while. So we decided to find a home somewhere in the hills, in the heart of Himalayas and stay put for a couple of weeks and enjoy the views and then some. What a decision at the right time! We spent almost 55 days here and have fallen in love with this quaint little town and this home where Amazon also delivers and 4G works in the woods. COVID apart, who would want to come back to the city where bird chirping is replaced with car honks. Totally isolated from the world, huge and beautiful property, and plenty of scope for nature walks and picnics.
And then it rains. The wind howls and the rains come pouring down and windows and doors bang and the place is even more beautiful, clean and washed and cold. And you wear a snug jacket and nestle in front of the TV with a heater warming you up. The place received a fair share of rains while we were there and looked even more breath-taking.
The property has been built in an old English style and has its own vegetable garden with organic fruits and vegetables and spices growing. And the narration would not be complete without mentioning the caretaker Ashwani, who runs the whole place and ensures you are very comfortable and feel at home.
Someone has aptly named in “Kaivalya”. I am pretty sure I am going to visit again in the coming years.
Palampur is not far away. I only dared walk once through its busy mall road (complete with the mask) with hanging wires, the Sun peeping from behind the mountains and a crowd. Palampur is also a town with tea-estates. Visiting a tea estate, tasting the variety of flavours and bringing home the Kangra tea is a touristy thing.
Since the country has been suffering and in a state of lockdown, we haven’t been really able to go around and see all “spots”, but I did not miss it. Sitting in the balcony and writing this blog makes me feel quite Ruskin Bond’ish. Well, said enough about the place- words cannot do justice- maybe some pictures can.