USP: Silences and scenic views
Sitting in a pool of darkness and silence can be addictive. I have just watched the sun disappear spectacularly behind a hill. For a split second before that, it looks remarkably like one of Raza's paintings.
Hillsborough does that to you — fills you up with artistic thoughts, creative impulses and, if nothing else, immense zeal to finish ambitious projects. Before I know it, the big, fat, William Dalrymple book ‘The Last Mughal' that I had struggled with for months is struck off my to-read list. Not just that, I play cricket with the caretaker's kids, and take myself off for a walk to the nearby Rallia dam. Of course, there may be some panic moments in the evenings when you grope for the remote and your hands come up empty (there is no television). But, pick out a star and see who blinks first, and time just flies.
A lovely home-stay, Hillsborough is done up tastefully. Comfortable chairs everywhere, a great view and wooden floors. There are some striking black-and-white and, sepia pictures on the wall, and patchwork quilts, throw rugs and tapestry cushions complete the warm and glowing feeling.
One can book at Hillsborough by getting in touch with Tranquilitea, the tea people, who work towards sustainable tourism. They also organise leisure walks in picturesque locales. If you are ecologically inclined, and don't mind getting your hands dirty, you could pitch in and help them clean up the area. They recently had a major drive in a nearby temple where there is an annual pilgrimage. Till recently, visitors would leave a trail of garbage in their wake. But, this time Tranquilitea put up posters and placed garbage bins along the route, and littering was at a minimum! Hillsborough is just one of the gracious homes across the Nilgiris where Tranquilitea provides its guests accommodation.
Things to do
If solitude and laziness is not your thing and you seek something that gives you a bit more of an adrenalin rush, you could trek, sight-see, take photographs, watch birds, visit artists in the region and may be, even play golf or ride a horse. There is a wonderful tea-tasting ceremony that will allow you to try out the varieties of Nilgiris tea.
How to get there
Hillsborough is approximately 8 km from Sims Park on the Kotagiri road. Someone from Tranquilitea will guide you to there from Sims Park. Or, call for detailed instructions.
It costs Rs. 2,500 per night per room. Meals are extra, and provided by the caretaking staff. For details and reservations log on to www.tranquilitea.in, or call 09443841572. You could also email your enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org