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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.
I’m grateful to 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 arrived. And, Assam’s very own Assam black tea served 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. Additionally, curtains, and pillows with birds printed on them 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. And, in line with its rich heritage of the colonial era.
All in all, 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 Indian and continental dishes using locally grown organic produce. 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 homestay with an old-world charm surrounded by lush plantations. An ideal getaway for tea lovers. In total, Wild Mahseer has five bungalows. And, the most opulent one is 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 the Balipura division, in the outskirts of Tezpur, it is a relaxing retreat in the heart of nature. In addition, it makes you feel part of the history. Not surprisingly, some of their guests are world-renowned environmentalists, wildlife conservationists, Hollywood film crews, and so on. Undoubtedly, the best place to stay in Tezpur.
If you are heading to Kaziranga National Park or Arunachal Pradesh(30 minutes from the border), make yourself at home in Wild Mahseer for a few days. You can thank me later.
Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark
Apart from being a first-class heritage homestay, it continues to promote an eco-friendly way of living. As part of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, they are building awareness about its native flora and fauna. And as a result, Wild Mahseer, a Balipura Foundation subsidiary, has a vision to live, love, and learn from nature.
It has a naturenomics (nature and economics) school, botanic gardens, orchidarium, and also promotes rare plant species within the campus. And 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 efforts. Most notably, 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 strives 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. Also, has a fern house, aquatic 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 lover’s idea of a vacation.
- Naturenomic bazaar sells pure organic clothes and accessories.
- Tea tasting with 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. 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 which is 10 mins away from the Jia Bhoroli River. Especially on the map as a certified green village. Evidently, it belongs to the Missing tribe. ( a second largest ethnic group in Assam and originally a hill tribe from Tibet and Mongolia). The 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 is sure going to surprise you. Including and not limited to almonds, sandalwood, ghost pepper, lipstick leaves, and mouth freshener plants.
- Arunachal Pradesh – One of the remote and lesser-traveled states of India.
If you are convinced now, then go ahead and book yourself a treat.
2021 Update: Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, Wild Mahseer isn’t accepting any bookings now. Bookmark this fabulous heritage stay for when it’s safe to travel.
Disclaimer – This post is in collaboration with Wild Mahseer. Needless to say, all opinions here are entirely my own.