I still remember the evening when I sat wrapped up in a Naga shawl, with a kerosene lantern light my notebook and was surrounded by quiet nothings. It was my last night at Mir Bahay.
The evening when I walked into this quaint home, the first vibe made me feel warm. In the following 24 hours, I had experienced every form of mountain weather and I still held on to my initial impressions of the place.
Structured at three levels, Mir Bahay’s main villa is a common area which houses the recreational space. As I entered through the main door, the comfortable couches formed the sitting corner and as I panned my head, I caught a glimpse of the cosy fireplace, the wooden shelves with books and board games, and the mahogany dining table. On taking a few steps inside, there was a quaint and inviting corner bedroom (without doors) and a common bathroom. However, after my preliminary navigation across the villa, I was transfixed at the topmost level. A short flight of stairs led to the warmest and most charming part of Mir Bahay—the deck. Lit up with ample natural light from the windows, shadowed by the big cushions around the wooden parapet, the deck was my perfect hideout. Immediately, I knew where I would be spending my evening.
Beyond the main villa, lies the two guest cottages in the property. These cottages are spacious, come with attached bathrooms, adorned by intricate lamps, candle stands and vibrant rugs, traditional angethis (heaters) and welcome privacy. Every piece that I saw in Mir Bahay was handpicked maintaining the delicate vibe of the place.
My day here was blessed by a range of natural wonders beyond my imagination. I woke up to the magnificent, clear views of the Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot. I spent hours gawking at them under the strong mountain sun. Even though it had been more than a week since I was travelling within Uttarakhand, this was my first day of undivided attention from the sun. And there was no way I was going to breach the relationship.
Until the clouds overpowered the blue of the sky and the loud thunderstorms pushed me indoors. At this point, I tucked my book under my arm and climbed to the secluded deck. Curled up by the window, I saw the green landscape turn white with strong rain and hail in no time. As I moved into a slow slumber, the sound of the hail bouncing off the roof kept me company for a couple of hours. Once I awoke, the crystal white view outside stood as a stark contradiction to the blue in the morning.
Mir Bahay is the dream of Pritish Asthana and Deborah, his wife, who have travelled together extensively in their quest of making the ideal dream house. They have spent years in capturing the essence of the place and attempted to recreate it for their guests. Every stone and décor exudes their passion. In my experience, the warmth of the place stays intact and this idyllic getaway is the perfect example of how a dream can become a reality.
Deepak is the caretaker of the property, who always sports a smile. The meals are prepared by him and served with care in the common dining space. The evening when I was greeted by the hailstorm, I woke up to a cup of hot chai and a plate of delicious pakoras. Since their kitchen is freshly stocked up, I immersed myself in the hot, homely food. Weary of leaving the mountains the following day, I had a wholesome bowl of Maggi noodles, creatively made by Pritish himself. A self-confessed foodie, Pritish ensures that the meals served here are as fresh and warm as the scenes of Kumaon.
As I sealed off my last night in Mir Bahay, I stepped outside to the chill of the night. I made my way through the partially melted hail to see the full moon rising above the silver line of the clouds. And there it was—the Himalayan peaks glistening under the moonlight. In disbelief, I stood there dismissing the cold. And then witnessed a shooting star completing my view in the night of wonder.
Who said miracles don’t happen?
Good to know:
Getting there: Mir Bahay is 16 kms from Almora, about 7 kms from Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Most guests drive down from Delhi (approximately 400 kms) and enjoy the scenic views en route. It is correctly marked here.
Address: Mir Bahay, Sundarpur, Village Gadauli, Almora–Bageshwar Road, Almora, Uttarakhand.
Meals: Meals are prepared by the staff here. It is basic, delicious home food. If you are allergic to any ingredient, let them know in advance. All meals are served in the common dining space.
Others: The property is big and encourages outdoor activities (like painting, farming, games, music). There is an outdoor bar and fireplace. A day trip to the wildlife sanctuary can be considered, though I spent all my time amidst the natural climatic wonders. It is a pet-friendly and a solo safe property. They practice responsible travel.
Note: I was hosted by Mir Bahay and that did not influence my review of the place.