Teen Talay Retreat, Sikkim
Amidst the busy scheduled life, it is sometimes even hard to keep a calm and clear head, the fast pace of the city life usually is tiring. Whenever, I get drained off and feel loss of energy, I sleek myself to the place where time appears still, the place which is very close to nature so that I can release all my stress and let it blow off by the wild wind. One of my colleagues who recently had been for the vacation suggested me the place and that was exactly what I wanted so without wasting a single moment I did pack my bag and headed for Sikkim.
Sikkim, a small Himalayan state of India proudly shares a common boundary with the countries -Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Home to vivid varieties of orchids, rhododendron and red panda, it is also known for its rich culture and cuisine, the state has also won accolades for its organic mission.
Teen Talay Retreat lies just above the magnificent, Triveni (confluence of two rivers, Teesta and Rangit) and at the foot of Taray Bhir. If you love trekking through the beautiful teak forest experiencing the ecstasy of natural beauty of the Himalayan forest you will reach in just 15 minutes from Triveni. I am not a very good trekker so I hopped into a cab that carried me through the Teen Talay Retreat via road encountering wild butterflies and numerous streams. With the hike of an hour I was welcomed with the traditional organic refreshment. The lush green vegetation covering 12 acres of beautiful land the Teen Talay Retreat embraces its every visitor with utmost simplicity and hospitality. I was thrilled to see the rice paddy fields, banana plantation, bee-cultivation and varieties of Himalayan medicinal herbs.
Teen Talay Retreat has a very traditional and rustic way of serving their guest, it was amazing to know that whatever they serve are cultivated and produced within the premise. The cottages here are constructed with bamboo and clay with the veranda facing the picturesque landscape giving the authentic look of the Nepali culture. Cottages are attached with washroom and a typical Nepali kitchen with the stove made of brick and clay in which fire woods are used. I love the smoky flavours, it is one of my favourite flavor when it comes to drink and dine. When there is food and wine there has to be music. During the evening the Sikkimese folk singers and dancers did keep me entertained with their beautifully written folk songs that praised and thanked the land of “Ambotay”(the village where lies the Teen Talay Retreat). Pampering my taste buds with smoky flavor food and tongba (traditional millet wine) I was lost in the revering of the evening, following the evening with scrumptious early dinner in the heavy brass cutleries was perfect and to add to this spectacular moment was the traditional bed in which I found myself dead asleep in just a wink of an eye.
It was just 5 in the morning and the sky had already lightened up and as I came out of my cottage, I wondered if there could ever be another place in the world where one could experience such a wonderful morning. I stood mesmerized with those eye-catching beautiful wild big black and blue Himalayan butterflies that fluttered in pride, I felt as I was in the enchanted world. I was privileged to experience such a charismatic morning. A sip of the organic Sikkim Temi tea was a cherry on the cake. People here usually skip breakfast and prefer brunch, so I also started the day with a bunch of freshly plucked vegetables with locally cultivated rice, lentils, honey and dairy products.
My day started with the local site scenes at Tarey Bhir in Sadam, half an hour drive from Teen Talay Retreat and the scene was a treat to my eyes. The panoramic view of the unification of two rivers and the beautiful widespread of tea garden on the hill of Darjeeling and Kalimpong left me with the joy of serenity. Tarey Bhir is a gift to Sadam by its engineers and the architects, the path along the edge of the mountain top did remind me of the seven wonder of the world, the Great Wall of China. After the mesmerizing experience I moved to my second destination, the Rolu Durga mandir(Temple).
The Rolu mandir is located close to Triveni where the river Rangit flows into the river Teesta. Local people have the belief that goddess Durga protects the area from the evils and removes their miseries. It is also a myth here that if you lay down your wishes to goddess Durga it will be fulfilled, it reminded me of the famous quotation of G.K Chesterton, “He who has no sympathy with the myths has no sympathy with mankind” and me being an honest devotee pilgrim and with the faith in the myth folded my hands in reverence towards Maa Durga. It is not only the myths to be remembered but the interior of the mandir was not less than incredible. I was infused to the world of calmness and tranquility. Just opposite to the mandir were the stone walls painted with vibrant colors and one cannot forget the chattering of monkeys and chirping of birds that took away my emotional and peaceful state.
After this tranquil tour along with refreshments, my next destination was Triveni. Deep green, crystal clear water surged into the forceful Teesta forming a huge torrent was a real majestic experience. The confluence of the two rivers is known as Triveni or the lovers point. Lovers point because it is a saga that the rivers Teesta and Rangeet are actually lovers who after miles and miles of separation meet here at Triveni, opening their arms and surrendering to each other in oneness. These rivers are also known for white water rafting. The force of the river is so vigorous that it forms the white bubbles everywhere that gives a snow like effect. The nature has well managed and appreciated its beauty.
My day long touring ends here at the very romantic and emotional note. I set back to the Teen Talay Retreat as it started to dusk. The sun set at the horizon has a very divine taste, nature was everywhere, and I could see and feel it. From the window of the cab I did feel the breeze as it flirtatiously blew off my hair disturbing the person next to me. Listening to the Nepali folk songs and enjoying the organic sugarcane (Mrs. Sharma, the owner of Teen Talay Retreat had generously packed juicy sugarcane for me). I did doze quite off my senses. When I reached the Teen Talay Retreat it was already dark and the hostess in the Teen Talay Retreat welcomed us with yet another traditional refreshments. After cleaning myself I took a stroll around the Teen Talay Retreat exploring the organic vegetables field, livestock and traditional kitchen. While spending some time with the kitchen department I came to know that all the staff in Teen Talay Retreat were localities and I realized that this Teen Talay Retreat not only helped people like me to forget the work pressures and be emotionally and mentally attached to nature that would definitely boost up my spirit high but this Teen Talay Retreat is also the source of livelihood for all those working in the Retreat.
Teen Talay Retreat and its site touring was an unforgettable experience, choosing to engage with nature though for a brief time, yet did help me a lot to settle into a more peaceful space. It allowed my soul to touch the beauty and open my mind to appreciate and enjoy the moment. I bid adieu to Teen Talay Retreat with a promise to return again for another treat definitely for a longer duration.