Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glenburn Tea Estate

Our last stop in India was at the Glenburn Tea Estate, a large working tea plantation at an altitude of 3,200 feet in the Himalayas.  From our room we could see Mt. Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world at 28,169 feet.  (For reference, Everest is 29,029 feet.)

We had to get up early in the morning to see the mountains, because by 7 a.m., they are cloaked in cloud.  It really brings home the tales of climbers who wait for a break in the weather to make their final ascents on these huge mountains.

It's hard to express how awesome these mountains are.  That picture above was taken from 130 kms away.  On the first morning, we missed the view of the full mountain, but we now suspect the very tops of the mountains were visible that day and we mistook them for clouds.  Your eye just doesn't look that high for mountains, until you see the full range and realize "Oh my goodness, those mountains really are touching the sky!"

Burra Lodge  at Glenburn is the original bungalow built in 1859 by a Scottish tea company, and magnificently restored by the current owners.  The Water Lily Bungalow (shown at the left) was built in 2008 and has been furnished with antiques and tasteful decor, right down to traditional antique baths and gorgeous teak floors.

Our room in the Water Lily Bungalow was named the RungDung Suite after the nearby river. 
That window seat was my favourite spot to sit and read and absorb the mountains.  My husband chose the patio for the same view.

One of the lovely features of Glenburn was the large dinner table which seated all 18 people staying there.  (There were several children as well, who were fed before the grown-ups.)  Glenburn is very popular with expats who live in Delhi and want to escape the chaos for a serene holidays, and most of the guests fell into this category.  Our place cards seated us with different people each night and the conversation was lively and entertaining.

Another great thing about Glenburn was the wonderful gardens.  We hadn't seen a lot of flowers growing in gardens in India.  (In fact, I was always curious where those thousands of flower petals came from for all those rangolis we saw).  But Glenburn was a refreshing burst of flowers for souls starved of flowers.  We talked to the gardener one day, who said he had been taking care of Glenburn's gardens for over 50 years!  Here are some of the lovely flowers:

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