For those who have a knack for climbing things, be it a ceiling-high cupboard, a tree, or wrought iron gate, you might wa
UNRAVELLING THE SECRET THAT IS CHHAIMALE
Just in the outskirts of the valley is a treasure trove for weekend getaway- Chhaimale. Helping people discover this enchanting village’s potential is Chhaimale Resort.
For ages people assumed that there was no village beyond Dakshinkali. It was easy to assume so given the dense forestry around it. But as I made my way past the temple and up on the winding, snake-like road, I was in awe of the beauty the journey had to offer.
While the road is not particularly pleasant given all the dust and uncomfortable jolts it has to offer, the spectacular view through and through the journey more than makes up for it. Specked with small villages that offer a sneak at the laid back lives of its residents, the scene is complemented by the sweeping view of the rolling hills and the bird-eye vista of the valley down. And while you want to savour every bit of its divinity and half-heartedly wish it would never end, Chhaimale is only 4kms away from Dakshinkali.
It is an enchanting village, Chhaimale. Surrounded by soaring hills in every direction, it is a marvel in its own right. For long known for its delicious production of pear and lapsi, the village is now working towards creating a new reputation for itself. And it is around the corner from its main chowk that a resort is making its best effort to make Chhaimale a weekend getaway. Chhaimale Resort - The Pear Garden is a seamless blend of modern architecture meets traditional values. Spread across 29 acres of land, the resort premises is walled in by hills on all sides, making it a haven for nature lovers. The manager here, Sanjay Shrestha, tells me that the resort was built around the previous settlement. “Not a single tree was cut down, nor a house wall was broken,” he says. The humongous trees that dot the resort ground and the traditional houses that now flaunts cozy rooms are witness to Sanjay’s statement.
Yet the purpose of providing guests a luxurious holiday is not lost in the attempt to retain the old. Chhaimale Resort is as modern and sophisticated as any resort can be when it comes to amenities. The traditional houses have rooms that can accomodate from 2 to 10 people, and each has a modern bathroom attached to it. Along with three different traditional houses, of which one is intended to serve as a holiday house for large group or family, the resort also has cottages for those with a knack for cabin-in-the-woods feel, tents for the camping enthusiasts and three ultra luxurious deluxe rooms for those who like to live life king size.
With all the options that the resort has to offer, all of which is unique in its own way, it is difficult to pick out one. Each room type offers a stunning view of the nature around. Night falls over pretty early, with the only sound being that of the birds singing songs, the frogs croaking, the night bugs creaking and the wisps of breeze joining in the symphony. There is also the occasional rumble of trucks passing by to take note of, but it is all part of the bargain and sounds more like a mellow thunder really. While the resort doesn’t have many activities to offer, one thing many will find a must-do here is to lay down in the balcony armchair and soak in the pristine atmosphere as evening crawls in. And if that doesn’t help, there is always friends and family to make merry with, or the more strenous hike up the hill.
Sanjay tells me that the name of the place has to do with the six Malla kings who settled down in this place. The hike is part of exploring that particular history that reveils remnants of the Mallas to those with the eye for it. While the resort is enclosed in nature, a short walk up and around welcomes you to magnificent view of the valley and the hills nearby. Evening walks bring cool breeze that you wish you could bring back home. A stroll around the village is relaxing and will come as a much needed break from the chaos that is Kathmandu.
Chhaimale Resort houses a restaurant, bar and lounge too, which is proficient in delivering lip-smacking plates of goodies. One of the many specialities that the resort has to offer is “Chyampati BBQ” and locally brewed pear wine. The BBQ is not only delicious, but the making process is eco-friendly too. Instead of using coal, the restaurant makes the most of the resources available in abundance and makes the BBQ over burning chyampati- the seed of lapsi. This also adds a different flavor to the meat and is thus successful in pleasing the customers’ tastebuds as well as the environment.
But Chhaimale Resort is so much more than just what it has to offer to its guests. It is what the resort is doing for the village and its people that is so commendable. Almost all the staff at the resort are locals, which has improved employment opportunity immensely. The resort also utilizing local produce as much as possible to financially contribute to the community. So, as a guest at the resort, you not only have the priviledge to wind down and enjoy the beauty the place has to offer, you also have the honor of giving back to the host village and its people.
Note:The traditional holiday house that is purposed for large groups only was knocked down by the recent earthquake. The resort will soon also have a conference hall. Don’t forget to take home the delicious pear wine from the resort.