The ride up to Mount Narsing Village Resort Annexe is nerve-racking — especially for us from the plains. The young driver casually swings off the road (only by definition) at the fascinatingly-named Babyla Hotel onto a sheer dirt track. The trusty vehicle huffs and puffs up importantly to reach the resort and I am immediately captivated.
There are prayer wheels lining the approach and delightful cottages built around a rolling green on top of a hill. A profusion of riotous flowers grabs my eye even as I try to outstare the remote, icy mountains. The cottages are named after peaks and I am assigned Everest. Each cottage has a balcony for more spectacular views.
The cottages are rustic with basic amenities — hot water and electricity. The wood panelling works as excellent insulation. The jungle theme is echoed in the fixtures from the mirror to the pelmets. I am snug as a bug in a rug with a sweater, woollen socks, jacket, muffler and shawl apart from the two thick blankets. The smiling girl dressed in track pants and a tee shirt (I feel cold just looking at her) arrives with the steaming pot of tea and looks understandingly at my “plains” reaction to the cold.
Just as I settle in with a big, fat book, the rain comes pouring down. I sit on the cleverly-constructed balcony and listen to the rain drum a rousing tattoo on the roof. The lovely roses bow their multi-hued heads to the fiercely-lashing rain. Time slips swiftly by on its winged chariot (thank you Mr. Marvel) and I realise it is time for dinner.
The restaurant reminds me of a cosy den or the common room in a boarding school. There is the telly, a stack of well-thumbed books including travel books, Sidney Sheldon's “Rage of Angels” and a Russian book, super-comfortable, hardy, wooden chairs and tables, a glowing fireplace and a row of Tintin prints on the wall. All from “Tintin in Tibet”, the prints show the Yeti running away with Chang and Capt. Haddock getting startled with Tintin's repeated cries of Chang!
I order a full Sikkimese meal for dinner and as casserole upon casserole of steaming, hot food sails in, I can only sigh in utter contentment. The night is cloaked in a seductive, addictive silence.
I find myself awake at crack of dawn by city standards though the ever-smiling staff at the resort are already about their business. There is the frisky puppy (imaginatively called Puppy) gambolling on the lawns. I take my book and sit with a cup of tea at one of the benches on the lawn and watch in awed silence as rosy-fingered dawn (wonder if Homer's ‘Odyssey' included Sikkim) touches each peak of the Eastern Himalayas from Mount Narsing to Kanchendzonga. As the hills come alive with the golden light of a new morning, I realise I have been holding my breath at the heart-breaking beauty. That, my friends, is a view to die for.
How to get there
The resort is accessible by road. It is 65 km from Gangtok and 126 km from Siliguri.
It costs Rs. 2,200 for a super deluxe cottage for a night. Meals are extra. For further information and reservations contact Yuksom Tours and Treks, Borong House, Yalung Retreat, Below Hotel Rendevouz, Gangtok, Sikkim. Call 03592-226822, fax 03592 202766, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Log on to www.yuksom-tours.com
Things to do
If you are the sight seeing type, there is plenty to see in south Sikkim from the Mane Chokerling monastery to the Temi tea estate, the bio-diversity park, the Bermelli Falls in Borong, the Rangit Dam site, the sacred caves of Lho Khandesangphug and the towering statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse. You could also just hang out and commune with the mountains as Nature puts up a stunning sound and light show.
MOUNT NARSING VILLAGE RESORT ANNEXE
KWEZING ROAD, RAVANGLA, SOUTH SIKKIM
USP: Serenity, eye-popping views