Tuesday, May 17

Travelogue - In the lap of Mother Nature

The ever increasing demand for naturally rich and absolutely Eco-Friendly resorts in our time makes the Singpho Eco-Friendly resort a highlight for tourists due to its peaceful, panoramic and purely organic ambience

Mother Nature is spread around with all her beauty and fecund stretches of land in the North Eastern states of India. On the way to the Singpho Eco-Friendly resort, one can see the waves of rice farms, fruit orchards and green carpet of tea gardens in a way that beggars belief. The greenery in this part of the country is well envied by all and is the best of three worlds. It has the most clement weather merged with the most breathtakingly varied landscape, and one can enjoy their lungful of clean air that is a relish for people coming from smoke-chambers known as the metropolitan cities.

The Singpho Eco-Friendly resort is located in the midst of the forests on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We started our journey from Mumbai and took a flight till Dirugarh in Assam, which is the nearest airport to the resort. Our intent was to spend our weekend in this Paradise of Silence away from all the hassles of being a city dweller. It is located around 60 kms away from the airport, near a town named Margeritta, so we booked a cab to enjoy the endless beauty on the road while we reach our destination.

The resort is AKA Bamboo Resort as the complete residential structure is made out of bamboo cut out in various patterns. The resort stands on stilts that are high enough to allow easy passage to an Indian elephant. The floor, walls, tables, chairs, beds, mats and every other item in the resort is made out of bamboo. The thatched roof gives it a cool atmosphere and merges so well with the surroundings. Singpho resort is named after its owners, Mr. Rajesh Singpho and Mr. Manjenong Singpho. It is a family run resort, and is maintained by the Singpho family as a whole.

The resort is harbour to various wild animals that are used to staying in touch with humans and do not harm them. The domestically wild Langoor is one its special attraction. The resort also has cats and fishes living in a symbiotic environment to give us a message that despite our diversities, we can sustain in this world in perfect harmony.

The style of food preparation is completely traditional. They use traditional wood stoves to prepare food, however, the choice of the cuisine depends on the guest. We had to tell them in advance about what we wanted to eat. We ordered for roasted chicken and one gravy item to go with the local rice.  But, when the food served, our surprise knew no bounds. It was served in the ethnic Arunachali way. It included, the Topla Bhat, with rice wrapped in one of those leaves that resemble banana, roasted chicken poked in sticks made out of fresh bamboo, Thai gravy with white curry, boiled leafy vegetables and raw salad. The local alcoholic drink known as Apong was served in special glasses made out of cut bamboo. The natives have named these glasses as Chonga in their dialect. The food was savoured to the last grain to be precise.

One can relish the food with the violin being played in the back of the kitchen. The co-owner of the resort, Mr. Rajesh Singpho, plays violin for the entertainment of the guests and for his own merriment. He kept on playing it for us while we enjoyed the amazing lunch along with the local stories.

The women of the household that owns the resort also indulge in handloom weaving. The handloom is placed beneath the resort structure and the women sit around to work on the same. They sing along the folk songs to keep themselves entertained while working. The materials woven by them are worn by the household members as well as are available for sale to the visitors of the resort.

The resort is surrounded by tea gardens that are again owned by the Singpho family. The garden is purely organic in nature and no chemical fertilizers are used for enhancing the crop. The family has also set up a vermin-compost pit in order to supply the need of organic manure for these farms. The Singpho brothers also take their time out to educate the locals about the benefits of organic farming and have employed some of them to assist in their tea garden and factory. They also sell the organic tea produced from their farms to the tourists in small home-made pre-weighed packets

So much for the clean air and beautiful surroundings filled with outrageously generous landscapes. The resort has a cool but relaxed buzz of the bees and the birds to give us a feel of Mother Nature’s lap. Towards the end of my stay in the resort, I found out that the north-east of India has a lot to offer to its people. The weekend got over in almost a jiffy and I didn’t even realize that it was time to pack my bags and leave this peaceful place for the noisy and rush-hour life yet again.