With a three day weekend upon us and the prospect of staying in dusty Kathmandu was heavily outweighed by the opportunity to take a two day break somewhere pretty. So we headed 1.5 hours east of the city to stay at an organic farm, near Namobuddha, a famous buddhist stupa, which is largely in the middle of nowhere except for holy holidays when the crowds descend. This was a quiet, winter weekend and a great time to go to get away. However, our stay at Namobuddha resort didn’t get off to the best of starts. (This is becoming a trend!) This time it was the weather, which turned bad almost the moment we checked in, and it started raining and raining, which was odd because it is the cold, dry season here and there hadn’t been even the threat of rain for a couple of months. We spent the reminder of Saturday afternoon huddled up reading and napping, and remembering to enjoy the enforced rest that the weather brought. By nightfall, despite the continuing rain and darkness, we made our way tentatively over to the restaurant for dinner. It was traditional and charming, lit by candles but also heated by two electric heaters so it was cosy and pretty. The vegetarian the dinner was good, and we ate great plates of it from trestle tables, shared with the small group of other guests. After dinner, we stumbled the few meters home with our flashlight and the remainder of the resort remained undiscovered, hidden from us by the bad weather and dark.
The next morning the weather was clear and we awoke to this extraordinary view….I had no idea!:
After chasing views of the Annapurnas (twice) with only limited success, suddenly we were treated to an amazingly clear, other-worldly scene of mountain majesty that only National Geographic usually delivers. I sat and ate breakfast in awe.
What was extraordinary also, was the “cloud lake” below us, which complete obscured the valley. It felt like we were flying over Nepal, looking down, but only seeing the mountain peaks that had broken through the clouds. Interestingly, later in the day the fog below started to lift and slow hugged the mountain peaks, until the scene was total reversed with the mountain tops obscured and the valley below revealed. It was like watching the world from God’s control box.
The little cottage they gave us was delightful. Robert called it a hobbit house and it was just like one. Built of stone, with really well crafted local architectural features, it was both charming and functional. The ceilings were purposefully low, making it easier to heat. and the windows were designed to let in as much light as possible while providing the least opportunity for heat loss. Everything was scaled down to fit with the beds being almost on the floor and the chair legs shortened to about eight inches. The steep wooden staircase let up to a bedroom upstairs with windows so so low you couldn’t see the sky. The staircase was also convertible, with side panels that lowered to close off the stairs, offering privacy and a way to keep the hot air trapped upstairs at night.
After a freezing cold visit to Bandipur last month, I was prepared with slippers, blankets and hot water bottles. But actually the house design, along with a small electrical heater worked really well at keeping the temperature in the house very comfortable. Even the bathroom had an old-fashioned wall-mounted heater …the kind that we had when I was a kid before central heating. It’s electrical coils poured out intense heat at the pull of string so you could dry in comfort after a shower.
At the back of the resort is the organic vegetable garden, with a small greenhouse, which is charmingly kept. The crunchy granola part of me just loves seeing food grow. Although I haven’t been able to realistically grow vegetables for years, I loved visiting them at the organic farm we belonged to in NJ. And the organic farm is one of the few things I really miss about our NJ life.