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STEPPING BACK IN TIME: WILD MAHSEER, ASSAM – THE ROVING HEART

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.

Wild Mahseer Silver tips bungalow

Stay in the Silver Tips bungalow at Wild Mahseer

We arrived at Wild Mahseer in the night after a 5 hour drive from Guwahati. Drained and greasy after an entire day journey, I was just looking to settle in while light fruit cakes and cookies appeared, right away. And, Assam’s very own Assam black tea as 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 furnitures 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.

Wild Mahseer

Sitting area

Bathroom Wild Mahseer

Glass walled bathroom

I arrived in First Flush, a dining space with high-roofed, white framed, glass-panelled windows just in time for dinner. The daily menu customarily comprises of Indian and continental dishes. Locally grown organic produce is essentially used while cooking. 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 as well as healthy.

First Flush Wild Mahseer

First Flush – dining area

First Flush Wild Mahseer

First Flush – dining area

About Wild Mahseer

Wild Mahseer is an award-winning heritage home stay with an old world charm surrounded by lush plantations that makes it an ideal getaway for tea lovers. In total, Wild Mahseer has 5 bungalows, the most opulent one being the 110 year old heritage bungalow with its own library, photographs of the prized mahseer(fish), fireplace and gorgeous decor that puts most of the characterless 5 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, about 30 mins south of Arunachal Pradesh state border, it is a relaxing retreat in the heart of nature and makes you feel part of the history. Not surprisingly, some of their guests are world-renowned environmentalists, wild life conservationists, anglers, Hollywood film crews, members of International Diplomatic Corps, and so on.

heritage bungalow wild mahseer

Interiors of Heritage Bungalow

 

heritage bungalow wild mahseer

In the entrance of Heritage bungalow

Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark

Apart from being a first class heritage home stay, what makes it even more special is its continued efforts in conservation and spreading awareness about its native flora and fauna. Also, its eco-friendly way of living. It is part of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark which was inaugurated last year. As a result, Wild Mahseer, as part of Balipura Foundation has a vision to live, love and learn from nature and 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, conservation of  elephants in Kaziranga, afforestation and concepts of ethnobotany(human-plant interaction) which seemed to be pretty interesting. 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!

Wild Mahseer Botanic trail

My gang – Vidya, Shruthi and I while on the botanic trail.

Herbarium Wild Mahseer

Herbarium and Seed bank in Wild Mahseer. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Things to do in and around Wild Mahseer

  • 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, 70+ trees, 100+ herbs, birds, butterflies and insects and so on can be found here. 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 to 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. Further, river rafting along the Jia Bhoroli River or trekking can be done here.
  • 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 – a certified green village by Indian Green Building Council(IGBC) belonging to the Mising tribe(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, and eclectic variety of plants (ranging from almonds, sandalwood, ghost pepper, ayurvedic plants, diversity of bamboos to lipstick leaves and mouth freshener plants).
  • Arunachal Pradesh – Wild Mahseer can serve as a stopover while heading to Arunachal Pradesh.