When I landed in front of my Silver tips bungalow in Wild Mahseer, I was so in awe of my abode for the next 2 days that I almost lost my backpack if not for a virtuous cab driver who came back to return it.
We arrived at Wild Mahseer in the night after a five-hour drive from Guwahati. Drained and greasy after an entire day journey, I was just looking to settle in. Just then, light fruit cakes and cookies appeared. And, Assam’s very own Assam black tea as a beverage. Incidentally, once the liquid and aromas hit my senses, I was back to my old pleasing self(!!).
I entered my room to portrait frames and porcelain plates of colorful birds hanging on the walls, curtains, and pillows with birds printed on it and a glass walled bathroom. I then sensed a pattern in these rooms, all rooms are themed with either birds, animals, fishes, flowers or plants. Apparently, the wooden furniture and the brilliant art pieces are personally handpicked by the owner’s wife. All in line with its rich heritage of the colonial era. Wild Mahseer is a perfect fusion of history and class tucked into a 22-acre sanctuary. It gives you the feels of an ancestral family home.
I arrived in First Flush, a dining space with high-roofed, white framed, glass-paneled windows just in time for dinner. The daily menu customarily comprises of Indian and continental dishes using locally grown organic produce. Chola Batura for breakfast and healthy spreads of tomato curry with aromatic Assamese Joha rice for lunch delighted me. They sure know how to make food tasty AND healthy.
About Wild Mahseer
Wild Mahseer is an award-winning heritage home stay with an old world charm surrounded by lush plantations. An ideal getaway for tea lovers. In total, Wild Mahseer has five bungalows, the most opulent one being the 110-year-old heritage bungalow. This bungalow boasts its own library, photographs of the prized mahseer(fish) and a fireplace. Furthermore, the gorgeous decor puts most of the characterless five-star hotels to shame. Consequently, the bungalows are named after types of tea: Ambrosia, Silver Tips, Golden tips and First flush.
Located in Balipura division, in the outskirts of Tezpur, it is a relaxing retreat in the heart of nature. And it makes you feel part of the history. It is just about 30 mins south of Arunachal Pradesh state border. Not surprisingly, some of their guests are world-renowned environmentalists, wild life conservationists, Hollywood film crews, and so on.
Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark
Apart from being a first class heritage home stay, its continued efforts in conservation make it even more special. They are also building awareness about its native flora and fauna. Part of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark inaugurated last year, it promotes an eco-friendly way of living. As a result, Wild Mahseer, as part of Balipura Foundation has a vision to live, love and learn from nature. As well as, work towards creating interdependence between nature and economics.
With naturenomics school, botanic gardens, orchidarium, and propagation of rare plant species within the campus – it is well on its way to make Assam a greener place. Dr. Gita Dutta of Balipura foundation, with a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology, detailed us about the conservation of plants, and elephants in Kaziranga. In addition, detailed about the afforestation and concepts of ethnobotany(human-plant interaction). I was well astonished at the initiative they were taking for a greener future.
The entire staff is very friendly and strive to make sure you have a wonderful experience. They took us around the property and to the nearby national parks and villages as well. Now, the only regret I have is that I didn’t stay here long enough!
Things to do in and around Wild Mahseer
- The botanical trail features thematic sections for nursery, orchidarium, herbarium and seed bank, bamboo septum, medicinal and aromatic plants, fern house, aquatic plants, economically important plants, agroforestry and bird and butterfly attracting plants. In total, with over 70 trees, 100 herbs, birds, butterflies, and insects it is definitely a botany lovers idea of a vacation.
- Naturenomic bazaar selling pure organic clothes and accessories.
- Tea tasting – Tasting an assortment of Assam black tea.
- Visit the surrounding tea plantation and factory.
- Cooking classes
- Bicycle rides
- Balipura Saturday Market
At a short drive from Wild Mahseer
- Check out the duck that flies – White winged wood duck in Nameri National Park. Additionally, depending on the season, you might spot migratory birds here. If you are looking for a slice of adventure, head for trekking or river rafting along the Jia Bhoroli River.
- Kaziranga National Park – a world heritage site, the park hosts two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned rhinoceros.
- Ethnic village tour – Drive to Baligao, 10 mins away from the Jia Bhoroli River. It is a certified green village by Indian Green Building Council(IGBC). Evidently, it belongs to the Mising tribe( a second largest ethnic group in Assam and originally a hill tribe from Tibet and Mongolia). Most noteworthy aspects of this village are the brilliant handlooms woven of silk and cotton by the villagers. In addition, the eclectic variety of plants (ranging from almonds, sandalwood, ghost pepper, ayurvedic plants, diversity of bamboos to lipstick leaves and mouth freshener plants) is sure going to surprise you.
- Arunachal Pradesh – Wild Mahseer can serve as a stopover while heading to Arunachal Pradesh.
For more information, check out – http://www.wildmahseer.com/. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below 🙂
PS – This post is in collaboration with Wild Mahseer. Needless to say, all opinions here are entirely my own.