Our long pending experience of the much heard about Ri Kynjai finally happened in November last year. About 20 km from Shillong, Ri Kynjai is located at almost the end of a left car turn along the highway to Guwahati. Or looking at it differently, from a point of view of someone coming from Guwahati, the end of a right turn away just before the bridge to Shillong. The road turn gives way to an uneven path paving through little thatched huts (flaunting Dish TV connection!) with kitchen gardens, fish lakes and - at the time when we went - laughing children practicing their Diwali stunts. After much plodding in a jerking car, we finally were at the gates of Ri Kynjai.
Nestled in beautiful seclusion in the heart of green, with an obviously experienced execution of an excellent sense and taste of architecture, this token of serenity stood out on first impression.Even the bell boy’s ordinary facial welcome note and his unenthusiastic lugging behaviour didn't spoil our excitement.
Inspired by Khasi heritage, we noticed pretty, little thatched cottages planted around the resort . We went down an interesting flight of varnished stairs landing us at the reception.
|A traditional thatched cottage at the resort|
Pic taken from ri Kynjai
|The main resort|
Our room was simple and spacious, very much to our "baby-in-tow-guest" satisfaction. The balcony facing the calm Umiam Lake gave us a slight but sharp nip of the on-going season. We stepped back into our room, concluding that the balcony’s true calling was probably during monsoons and the faintly summer affected season that the region is blessed with.
|This was how our room looked like, sans the striped cloth on the bed! |
Pic taken from Outlook (travel)
If hotels were judged by their restrooms, Ri Kynjai would have scored a 5/5. I particularly love the sprawling bath area with the local wooden stool or lyngknot that inspired some good exfoliating deeds the next morning.
The lunch-less trip from Shillong had left us famished. As we ordered and waited for the food, we gazed at the sensible minimal warm interiors and the thoughtful fire place (an amazing piece to which I dedicated a complete blog ) in the room. All this and that closed 'French window' hint of the Umiam Lake, in symbiosis with the placid hills gave us a celebrated sense of serenity and we felt like a thousand miles away from noisy paced Shillong.
The food came in just on time and beat our "gorgeous-places-always-serve-sad-food" experience. The guy who served was equally efficient, friendly and well-mannered. I’m sure he was not good friends with the bell boy.
In the evening, we got a speck of the 45 acre experience of the resort. Typical to any hotel of its kind, Ri Kynjai has its local version of a spa, a souvenir shop and a lovely coffee and dining area. With local shopping done in Shillong and spa being a ridiculous idea in that season, we headed to the restaurant for some tea to beat the cold. As we were sipping lovely masala chai, the lake facing us was a lovely misty, evening shade of green, giving the place a sense of unusual peace. The aptness of naming the place "Serenity by the lake" must have been inspired by such a moment.
|Balcony view of the Umiam Lake|
|My favorite : The electrical fire place|
As we discovered, the place in the night looks a beautiful illustration of a Khasi fairy tale. It was the perfect marriage of blessed nature and architectural elegance.
Pic taken from Ri Kynjai
The next morning, we woke up early enough to see some dew left on the grass, just below our balcony, where tea leaves were swaying in soft morning breeze. And tuning in to the pleasant sound of breakfast coming up from the restaurant, we planned our morning adventure.
The off and cold season justified the clever prepare-to-order, with not much spread complementary breakfast. Fresh from the pan puri sabji-cutlets made such a deadly breakfast duo and it was all that we had, accompanied by cups and cups (and more cups) of hot masala chai.
After that happy, lovely morning sun basked breakfast, we set off for our scenic trek down the village surrounding the resort. Crystal clear water gushing from road pipes (so clear that it seemed to be sourced directly from the lake rather than via the government water tanks), the seasonal marigold blossom, downy chicken trundling, the sound of crickets and those happy kids, full of exuberance, oblivious of the cold, running with minimum body cover, made one prosperous picture of the humble dwellings.
We got back along the winding trail of hanging flowers and tea leaves, with traces of interesting stone and wood work.
By noon, with our short resort holiday coming to our end, we proceeded to complete the check out formalities. Far happier souls this time at every step up the polished flight of stairs - bell boy included.
As we drove towards the gates, I had one last look at the resort, locking away like one beautiful secret of the woods. It was a short holiday but a memorable one. A not-so-hospitable but a very palatable one.
And yes....A busy but a serene one.