Terence Lee visits Gorkha Gaun and is mesmerised by its natural elegance
For only a fortunate few, does opportunity knock twice. I missed the chance to visit Gorkha Gaun last year due to a busy schedule, but when a second opportunity presented itself, I made sure I did not miss it this time around.
Taking the morning bus from Kathmandu to Gorkha we reached Laxmi Bazaar in Gorkha around noon and were welcomed by our host Salil, who escorted us up the hillock to where the resort is peacefully perched, blending beautifully into its rural setting.
The first impression of Gorkha Gaun is its rustic simplicity. Having seen amazing pictures of the place, I felt I knew what to expect. But being there in this scenic natural paradise is a whole different experience.
This is that perfect place where time, deadlines, meetings and the hustle and bustle is easily forgotten. This is that retreat where everything is so natural that you begin to just appreciate the gentle breeze as it sets the petals of flowers a flutter.
The cottages are homely and ensure a comfortable cozy stay. They offer an amazing view of the rolling hills of Gorkha and the mighty Manaslu in the north. The rooms are really bright because of the large windows that offer such a spectacular view right from your bed as you wake up.
The cottages celebrate local construction traditions. Stones, boulders and mud have been wonderfully crafted together. The stone slates for the roof and floor come from nearby areas and elude a local charm, while the room retains a very natural feel with wood and bamboo furnishings. Simple elegant luxury and uniqueness combine to also ensure the lightest footprint on the environment.
The rooms have no televisions or air conditioning and lighting is from cleverly designed lamps with energy saving LED lights. The attached toilet has hot and cold water and the copper basin is a delightful touch. The private patio outside each room is the perfect spot to soak in and enjoy stunning views of the lush green valley and surrounding natural splendour. A sign in the room requests you switch of appliances when leaving the room to conserve energy as the resort is committed to conserving water and energy. The resort generates its own solar power for 80 per cent of its operations. The owners are conscious about being a boon to the local community rather than a burden or competing for local resources.
The restaurant sits at the highest point on the hill overlooking the cottages and offering a 360 degree view of everything around. The high Himalayas in the north, the town of Gorkha on the other hill which shimmers with lights at night and the lovely community forest just behind the resort, this is the place to see and get a feel of everything that Gorkha has to offer.
After a delightful Nepali lunch and a short rest we set out to explore the villages around the resort. These Gurung and Magar villages retain their cultural
heritage and the huts and hamlets are unique in their traditional design and usage. Children share the courtyard with chicken and goats. Villagers go about their
daily chores and when our guide Tek Bahadur stops to point out things for us, families are ever ready to welcome us.
Gorkha’s charm and rural tourism advantage are these smiling faces and warm hospitality. An offer to stop for tea or to try some local alcohol or food items is also not uncommon. This is an experience that tourists desire. The experience of a Nepali village and rural hospitality is something that many from Kathmandu may also have never experienced.
Tek Bahadur and most of the staff are from nearby villages. There is nobody in all these villages we hiked through during our two days stay, who does not know him. He is a treasure trove of information on Gorkha and led us on delightful trails through villages and woods, across a river and never ran out of information to fascinate us.
Dinner is always an exciting anticipation at the resort. Chef Manish Sharma, who has worked in France, lays out great continental fare. Breakfast, lunch or dinner he exceeded our expectations. His meals are never planned far ahead and depends on what’s fresh and what is available locally from these villages. At Gorkha Gaun that’s how it works. Once there you can work out the kind of activities you would like to do at your own pace from the wonderful options such a location offers. A visit to the old city can also be arranged.
My last evening at the resort was spent just sitting in humble silence and watching the sun go down. I must confess I have never experienced a more beautiful sunset. In that silence I realised how much Gorkha has to offer. There are so many things that can be written about Gorkha and Gorkha Gaun and still it would not do the place justice. I believe that it has to be experienced. You have to visit the place to experience the difference.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping that opportunity knocks a third time.
To plan your trip to Gorkha contact
Gorkha Gaun Resort, Shikhar-08,
Laxmi Bazar, Gorkha
Call: 98010-84605, 98010-7760
Log on to gorkhagaun.com
A version of this article appears in print on June 23, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.