Hello wanderers! We are out with yet another edition of the ‘In 48 hours…’ series. This time we’re here to give you a slight taste of the Assamese tea and North-East India at this heritage bungalow-where history is your host.
11:00 A.M: We left the city of chaos and took a break from our routine life and landed at the Guwahati airport. It was a much needed break to escape and surrender ourselves to the lush green forests and the ambient cold atmosphere of Assam. We had our pit-stop for lunch at the Misa Polo Club which was established in 1888 as a social Polo Club for the planters and British District Administration heads. As we entered the place we were in awe with the subtle elegant interiors and the quality of the space. We couldn’t stop mesmerizing the fine details and the artifacts present there. .
3:00 P.M: Finally after our long ride, we reached ‘Wild Mahseer’ also known as the ‘Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark’. True to its name the entire property had surrendered itself to the meadows and silent giant trees as the winged beauties welcomed us with their chirps. Our exploration with this place was just beginning and we were already overwhelmed with the start! The humble staff guided us towards our bungalow called ‘Ambrosia’ which offers contemporary creature comforts in a period setting, a large hall, a spacious dining area with a veranda to immerse yourself and unwind to the nature it belonged to with two cozy and large rooms!
4:00 P.M: Unpacked and refreshed, we were up for our tea tasting session with Mr.Prashant Sehgal, our first activity of the day to be conducted at the ‘First Flush’, the central dining area surrounded by huge trees dancing to the tunes of the gentle cold winds! He briefly explained us about each of the tea varieties under the categories of orthodox and CTC tea meticulously and its growing culture in the green carpets of Assam. Assamese tea is all about the purity of the leaves with some hot water and sugar as per taste.
5:00 P.M: After our enlightening session, we head out to our bungalow where the staff had made us some hot tea and bhajiya’s ready to be served. The tasting session definitely impacted us and we couldn’t resist having tea the pure way and must say, we didn’t regret a bit! We sipped our warm tea at the veranda as the sun set and the atmosphere went cold.
8:30 P.M: As we braved the cold weather, it was time for dinner. We warmed ourselves as the bonfire was lit beneath the moonlight adjacent to the ‘First Flush (Dining Area)’. Our hot cup of delicious mixed vegetable soup was served while we discussed our experiences with the fellow guests of Wild Mahseer. Our dinner comprised of Aloo Matar, Paneer and Capsicum sabzi with fresh vegetable salad, Roti, Dal,Aloo Bhajiya’s and to end our meal with smiles, Biscuit custard for desserts!
10:00 P.M: Looking back to the moments we spent at the property, we tucked in ourselves to the warm and cozy blankets and slept away to the silent night until the sun rises where nature turns out to be our alarm.
8:00 A.M: A good sleep and recharged for the upcoming day, our morning tea was served alongside some biscuits and vibrant, fresh flowers to brighten up our day as Mr. Deepak, incharge of the guests experience at Wild Mahseer guided us the agenda for the day at the property.
9:00 A.M: After a hot cup of tea, morning conversations and a delighted and eager soul to explore more, we proceeded towards the ‘Eastern Himalayan Botanical Garden’ tour where more than 100 species of plants and trees are taken care of. From ‘bamboo trees’ to ‘mimosa/ Touch me not’ plants our tour was guided by Ms.Sangeeta of the Balipara foundation team which takes care of the natural and human habitat of Balipara and promotes the ideologies of Eco-tourism.
9:30 A.M: At the closing leg of the tour we visited the seed bank of the foundation where abundant types of seeds are stored and showcased for ones knowledge and the ‘naturenomics’ where one can buy handicrafts made locally like notebooks, silkworm sarees, jewellery and what not!
10:00 A.M: We ended our tour at the ‘First Flush’ with a flavourful breakfast buffet consisting of hot fries, toasted bread with jam and cheese, kidney beans in tomato puree, and mango juice to end it all! The breakfast was something suitable to everyone’s preference further not making us worry about our belly’s condition!
11:00 A.M: Our mentor to the whole stay, Mr Deepak guided us through the lush green tea estates around. He explained about the various conditions and grade the plants are grown and pluck by the hardworking tea leaf pluckers. It almost felt like a still green ocean with a faded horizon while the sun rises and sets by. One could simply admire and walk-by these garden for hours!
1:00 P.M: After our long walk through the tea gardens, it was time again to fill our hungry bellies with some warm food straight from the kitchen cooked by the trained local staff who are empowered to work for a better living. Fresh aloo and pumpkin sabzi with roti, dal and a delicious ice-cream topped with Chikki was a delish one could savour!
2:00 P.M: We were greeted by the lovely team of ladies from Balipara Foundation for a special presentation consisting of a video explaining about their work towards empowering local culture and its traditions while reviving the lost natural resources through community involvements. The guests at Wild Mahseer can be part of its many workshops or tours that are conducted to promote eco-tourism in the Balipara region.
3:00 P.M: It was time to visit the elegant colonial bungalows of the property, Golden tips-called after this precious brew, Silver tips-delicate and immature buds plucked during the first flush, Ambrosia– a stay that offers contemporary creature comforts in a period setting. Last and the most precious ‘Heritage Bungalow’- steeped in over 100 years of rich history. Set in the midst of the Addabarie Tea Estate, which is a perfect refuge for visitors keen to recreate the experience of the old-world British planters’ lifestyle. As we entered each of the bungalows one could experience the subtleness of each space delicately crafted through antique furniture, side pieces, paintings collected over years of period.
6:00 P.M: Our evening cup of tea and snacks have been served by the humble stuff. Fresh,hot and strong, the tea definitely revived our day!
9:00 P.M: Our day is about to come to an end after having our dinner at the ‘First Flush’ with some fresh potato soup, alloo pumpkin sabji, rice, dal and some warm rotis reminding us of our freshly cooked roti straight from the tawa at home!
9:00 A.M: We woke up to the cozy morning, and the shimmering shadows of the plants shying away from sun while the birds danced to the tunes of the cold wind. It was time to start packing our bags before left for our Mishing Village tour and further towards airport. We were packing memories and moments with nature that we never experienced before until we visited Wild Mahseer and its exceptional stay.
11:00 A.M: A heavy packed breakfast consisting of cheese sandwich, mango juice and some fruits boosted our energy for the journey ahead of us. We reached the village, the greenest in India and interacted with the locals of the Mishing tribe talking about their culture, traditions, local drinks and food. The tour to the village was not only a stellar experience for people like us coming from the urban jungle to the greenest village of India but also sets an example of the dedication of Balipara Foundation and Wild Mahseer towards the community upliftment!
11:30 A.M: This stay was definitely different, Wild Mahseer was a place where you could instantly connect to the locals, the staff and the guests hailing from various corners of the world. It was an experience one simply couldn’t put underneath the bracket of a “Hotel”.
Until next time! Adieu!