Well the place do exist... when our vehicle crossed Bhimtal, Khutani... i started to nudge husband where are you taking us.... finally we stopped at Matia from where we needed to begin the trek. Our porters Ramlal and his mate were ready waiting for us. I think Ramlal is quite recommemded in trip advisor and they were patient and nice. I insisted on Maggi and coffee at the shop before we begin the trek ( those were the times Maggi wasn,t banned) so as to gather some strength before the hike.
Chotu appeared in the middle of the road and was a full time company
Not regular trekker... we climbed slowly...lots of rests in between, taking in the hills, my 5 year old did it well..and finally Steve,s cottage which we had booked. Honestly i was speechless, have seen nothing like it, one cottage atop a hill, nobody else near or far only Hemu our cottage attendant after Ramlal and his friend left. It was dark soon and husband sneaked inside fearing the chill, as i braved it for sometime. Sitting there alone i had a feeling hitherto unknown....
Lazy breakfast, bird watching and sometime together with husband. The cottage had an old world feel but spacious rooms, sitting room and a bedroom toilet for our maid suited us excellently. Hemu had lighted fire outside with twigs collected and gave us running hot water literally!! Only the natural spring water might not suit one and wise to pay Ramlal extra and carry some drinking water along.
Some more trekking...Hemu led us to the ridge, an awesome experience...just being at an edge!! Honestly pics could not do justice to the youth and vibrancy of Jiling.
Oriental White Eye
Grey Winged Blackbird
In all probabilities... Striated Bulbul
Lunch, dinner all cooked very home style... no extra spices or thick gravy and what we loved was the local chicken and mutton... soft, tender and melt-in-mouth. Post lunch we had heavy siesta while it rained heavily outside both the days. Evenings four of us including maid played snakes and ladders and ludo.. strange we do not have time for these small activities back home...
Crimson Sun Bird
A farm near by
Next day as we started trekking on the ' other' side as led by Hemu, after huge patches of dark forest all owned by Steve, the owner of our cottage, strange though entire hill and forest owned by a person and yet nature left all to herself, vintage, serene, unscathed... guess that,s the real magic of Jiling. Soon the clouds descended on us and fearing the impending rain we hurried along, though i would have loved the rain but a five year old and a vigilant husband... the road hardly existed and whatever was there had an incredible width. Hemu remarked once good that the clouds are there else madam if you look down... he had smiled impishly. Indeed...
Nobody wanted to leave Jiling and i didn,t want another trek downhill!! My five year old too wanted her next birthday here with Chotu... though the next moment she remembered her friends at school and the gifts!!
Green Backed Tit
We left Jiling only with a dream to come here again, be at one with nature and the mountains...there,s going to be a next time surely...
Koel..... pic taken from Lee,s Kitchen at Kathgodam