Colourful prayer flags fluttering in the wind, gurgling springs, chirping birds, the varying shades of green and flowers dotting the landscape in every colour possible. This is what meets the eye at Mayal Lyang homestay.
When we planned our tour of north Sikkim, Dzongu was suggested by a discerning few as one of the must-see places. And we are glad we accepted that piece of advice.
No doubt we enjoyed our stay at Lachen and Lachung, but our stay at Mayal Lyang Homestay in Dzongu was easily the high point of our holiday.
We arrived at the homestay rather late on a dark rainy evening.
Gyatso Lepcha (who owns this place) and his family warmly welcomed us with cups of hot tea followed by a hot delicious dinner comprising of stinging nettle soup and other dishes hitherto unknown to us.
We were woken up early the next morning to birdsong and the gurgling of running water. At first we thought someone had left a tap running, but it turned out to be water from the numerous springs. “Mayal Lyang” means land blessed by God in the Lepcha language and it is truly so.
Blessed are the people and the flora-fauna of this land. We saw an amazing variety of exotic birds feasting undisturbed on the fruit trees around the homestay as well as on the short walks we went on. The very fact that the birds didn’t fly off upon our approach told us their existence has never been threatened by the local people.
The rooms at the homestay are neat and comfortable with wide beds and have sit- outs facing the path to the river. Rooms are not ensuite, but the three common bathrooms are clean.
Gyatso and his family made our stay very enjoyable. His mother even packed a bag of the juiciest home grown oranges for us for our onward journey. Every meal was something we looked forward to as they comprised new ingredients, sometimes picked from the wild. No dish was repeated. We found the people warm, generous and absolutely uninterested in commercialising the place.
Gyatso’s nephew Dorji accompanied us everywhere educating us on the different medicinal plants the Lepchas use. He accompanied us to the local monastery, where we shared delicious grapefruit with the monk in charge and his students. We also trekked up to a village across the newly formed Mantam lake to take a look at the Khangchendzonga mountain range.
Gyatso our host at Mayal Lyang spent a lot of time with us relating the Lepcha history and their fight to preserve this pristine region. There is a bookcase at the homestay full of books about Lepcha culture and history. The Lepchas are the indigenous people of Sikkim, truly in tune with nature, and seem to be a contented lot. In fact, there is a milestone just at the entrance to the homestay which reads “Happiness – 0 km”, and we did find happiness here.
The two nights we spent at Mayal Lyang were vastly insufficient to get our fill of this place and we definitely intend to go back for a longer stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience the local culture up-close. Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the locals of Dzongu, the Lepchas, by living as a part of their family. Hike, trek, eat organic food, meditate, angle ... find peace at Dzongu. ... more less