As a little girl studying in one of the oldest convent schools of India, Mrs. Bhuvan Kumari always dreamt of having her very own little white walled cottage with a red tin roof in the valley of Jeolikot. She passionately reminisces about her scouting for the 200-700 years old typical Kumaon wood carved doors and windows (likhai work) to make her âwhite stone walledâ muse come to life. Fifteen years ago, she started with a single room on the insistence of friends and now provides an exquisite five roomed home to many eminent people, in the backdrop of the picturesque valley. Built on 8 acres of land of the erstwhile Vergamound Estate, emits Mrs. Kumariâs unique sense of tastefully done interiors coupled with an illustrious history from the times of Vivekananda.
He is known to have meditated under a tree which stood,now, where the sitting area begins. The property extends downhill in an orchard full of fruits, which has been reverted back into the forest, to keep the natural flora and fauna alive. It is easy to spot barking deer, birds and wild fowl who roam freely in the vicinity. With the essence of the old village house intact, this home has been restored meticulously. Different levels to the house form a mysterious maze, transporting you from one ornate space to another. Thoughtful gifts in the form of paintings from prestigious artistes and other visitors adorn the walls of the living room, keeping deeply formed associations alive. The bathrooms, unarguably, are most creatively done with bright cheerful paintings of birds to make that marginal time one spends in the bathroom, most memorable.
Paintings of parrots, pheasants, peacocks and large vivid flowers have an air of a delightful irrational imaginativeness splattered on the walls. Amusingly named âHanuman Orangeâ (a deep orange associated with the Indian God, Hanuman) doors which open up into the sit out form an ideal contrast to the white walls. Spotless bed clothes and fresh flowers are a must for Mrs. Kumari herself; a pleasure she likes to extend to her guests as well. A thoughtful surprise awaits you in bed, in the form of a hot water bottle on cold winter nights. A visit to the ivy clad Cottage is not complete without a walk down to the neighbouring tea shop with the three dogs accompanying you at heel. Spoken about with utmost reverence by the villagers, the oldest dog, Kallu Singh Ji, is often mistaken for a human being by most visitors. Though Junior and Nanhi Bai are also extremely affectionate, pets are not recommended to be brought along to avoid any conflicts. The staff, an integral part of the house, has been long associated with Mrs. Kumariâs family in Madhya Pradesh, and are exceptionally hospitable.
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