A hike, a little mist and a couple rolling pine cones away is a clearing in the wilderness, called Jilling Terraces. Once an apple orchard, Jilling is a hill adorned with many terraces that now serve as homes and hideaways. It’s removed from the world by a 2 km uphill trail that passes cabbage and tomato plantations, gated cottages and a scarce few village dwellings. There are shrubs along the way, mountain dogs for company and many a view of the valley. The fresh mountain air and the smell of the great outdoors is as inviting as this middle-of-nowhere cottage. It’s a home stay with a twist of B&B life, stirred well with a touch of the solitary. (Note: The colours in these pictures are so rich, I was contemplating toning them down to keep them from looking fake. But I decided against it- and this is the exact shade of green you’ll see when you visit during the monsoon)
Jilling Terraces is an hour’s walk (depending on your speed and stamina) from your final stop by road- Village Matial. The road uphill will take you to the welcoming, cozy stay that is part rustic, part homely. The cottage faces a valley that is mist-covered during the monsoon, snow-covered during the winter and bright green during the summer. Should you visit during the monsoon season, you will find the clouds often descending to settle upon this cottage. A light drizzle will make your evening coffee a dab more invigorating. The staff at Jilling Terraces is a warm, chatty family with stories, recommendations and general banter to offer.
There’s a closeness to nature that one enjoys here at Jilling. Open the door or the window, and fresh air will fill the room. Tune in to the silence, and you’ll hear the buzzing crickets, the flutter of a moth’s wing, and a bird song from a nearby branch. The hills come alive here at Jilling, a far cry from busy hill station streets and mall roads. It’s an experiential stay for those who choose to switch off from the noise of everyday life. There are bugs, birds and wild flowers existing in perfect, green-tinted harmony. A hermit’s dream come true, and the city dweller’s break from life, Jilling Terraces does make time pass by slower, among the morning hikes, the lazy afternoons and the sunset chai- making every moment count.
There are 5 rooms at Jilling Terraces, and a cottage for people who are traveling with a bunch of friends. Washrooms are generally a pain point in the hills, but not here. Their washrooms come well-equipped, clean and tasteful. There’s a dining room that also doubles up as a living room with books, cozy reading nooks, a wall full of board games, and comfy couches to plonk oneself on. A long table in the centre of the room accommodates all guests- so everyone can dine together, connecting over dinner table chatter. The meals are all home-cooked and delicious. These simple but well-cooked meals are light and served fresh, taking into account guest preferences.
They have a make-shift badminton court and a basket, should you be tempted to occupy yourself with something other than mini-walks around the area. There’s a ridge and a sunset spot a short walk away, as well as a temple that – I say from experience- is a scary trail down the other side of the hill. I would recommend it for the experience though!
Jilling is your excuse to get up close with nature, to stop and breathe for a while and spend some time disconnecting from technology and connecting with the world around you. It’s a place where peace comes unannounced, calm goes without saying and you stop and take a moment to hear the whispers in the wind.
Disclaimer: A big thank you to Jilling Terraces for hosting my stay. My opinions, as always, are my own and remain uninfluenced.