We have just returned from yet another delightful stay at the Himalayan Trout House, a cute lodge in Nagini village, run by Shefali & Christopher Mitra, who (in the interests of full disclosure) have now become friends, rather than simply lodge-owners.
I am a little unsure how many times we have stayed with Shef and Christopher – 6,7,8 times? – and we are the newbies in our fishing group, some of whom have been staying there for 14 years. So this is a long, happy relationship.
The lodge, as the name implies, caters for trout fishermen, who are drawn to the lovely Tirthan Valley and its clean rushing waters, but there is no “requirement” to fish. I have never touched a fishing rod in my life, but am still made to feel welcome and at home there. And that is the key to the success and charm of this little hotel – you never actually feel as though you are staying in a hotel, but rather as a very welcome guest in someone’s home. The dogs flop, there is a fire in the chilly evenings, people drop by for a drink, for lunch, for a chat, and in the evening Christopher gets out his guitar and a sing-song inevitably follows.
When we arrived at the Trout House last week, after a beautiful drive up through the hills, there were 3 other groups staying there, 2 of whom we had met there last year, so it was more like a reunion than anything else. Hugs all round. Exclaim how the children have grown in a year. Greet the gillies, all local boys. Admire the new kitchen extension. And then sit round the fire with a glass of wine and catch up on the news.
For fishermen, there is all the infrastructure you need, including the possibility of lessons, of renting equipment, of buying any flies you need, and of course, there are the knowledgable gillies. You need a licence to fish, but Christopher does all the paperwork for you.
For non-fisherfolk like me, there are long walks to be had, along the narrow road that connects the little villages, strung our along the valley. Walking through the villages is a pleasure – especially if you live in an aggressive city like Delhi, as I do. People greet you, children wish you “namaste’ automatically, the local bus driver slows down and waves. A delight.
Or you stretch out in the eating/general hang-out area and read the afternoon away, with only the sound of the river for company.
There is a range of accommodation (check their website for details), and we have stayed in almost all the rooms over the years, and they are uniformly cosy, spotlessly clean, and with great bathrooms. On our first visit there (in 2007) we even stayed in a tent, with Ready the family dog barging his way in every night and sleeping with us, too…I swear Ready remembered me when we arrived last week. As well he should.
The food is home cooked and delicious. To be honest, I cannot tell you too much about the variety of the menu because I have the same thing for dinner every night, year in, year out – trout. Too delicious.
Even though the trout fishing season is drawing to a close for this year, the lodge stays open until December, and re-opens in March, when we fully intend to return.
Cannot praise this charming place, and the even more charming Shefali and Christopher, too highly.
Personally recommended, over many years. (And in case you were wondering, no, the Mitras do not know I have written this review. I know they read my personal blog, but the subject of this review blog has never arisen with them.)
And obviously we always pay our own bills.
Oh yes, there’s wifi too.
For rates, bookings, any further info, check their website.