Colourful Tibetan flag, the beautiful Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture and the constant rolling of the prayer wheels; that’s Dharamshala in short- the seat of Buddhism, once ruled by the Katoch Dynasty. This was not my first visit to Dharamshala, so all I wanted from this holiday was that it should more on the relaxing side, no rush, no hurry. After a little search, I found this 115-year-old MUDHOUSE built during the British era- Ballu Homestay.
Without a second thought, this was the place that I chose as my hideout. After exchanging a few messages, this place was booked. Cut to Dharamshala, Ballu Homestay is barely15- 20-minute cab ride from the Dharamshala bus stand.
The first glimpse was enough to know this hideout was just right. Perfectly hidden from the hustle bustle of the city life, with the exotic view of the mesmerizing snow-capped Dhauladhar range, Ballu Homestay is run by Abhishek Madhukar.
STAY A BALLU HOMESTAY
Build in 1903, the place gets its name from the matriarch who lived here ages ago. Due to her life-size nose ring ‘bali’ she was referred as “Balu”, and here we have today’s double storeyed Ballu Homestay. Surrounded by nature, Ballu Homestay smells of warmth. Pretty pink bloom, the chirping of the birds, the lush green carpet of serenity and not to miss the two happy canine Bibi n Begum, there will not a single boring moment.
The homestay has 3 quaint rooms (2 double room and 1 family room) which are cozy rooms with bare minimal furniture inside. Mud walls, few electric plug pints, and a rack make for the room. Basic and minimalism are the core theme of this place.
The constant sound of the stream flowing next to the house leaves you craving to walk down to the river a take a dip. A serious advice- Don’t Miss It. Either sit on its boulders, wet your feet or jump into the river and you know you have tasted BLISS. All you would end but the craving is stay a little longer and not head back. you also get to meet many locals who walk down to the stream from the Norbulingka side too.
FOOD AT BALLU
But once back rest assured that best of a home cooked meal would be ready for you.. I was lucky to have gone in a time when Abhishek’s mother was there too, and hailing from Bihar, she made some of those authentic treats like Sattu Paratha, Bihari style Keema, Sprouts salad, Tadka wali daal and so much more that I could barely remember. and yes, those varieties of achaars (pickles).
Since the kitchen is open if you are an enthusiast like me then head to the kitchen and try your hands in atleast making a nice cup chai as Bibi n Begum loiters around you for the company.
None of the rooms have attached toilets. There’s a western and Indian toilet and a bamboo bathroom – with a geyser and bucket, while the other bathroom has a hot shower and a WC. All are situated outside. Keeping the theme of the mudhouse intact no toilets have been incorporated inside the rooms.
Double Rooms: Rs.1500/- per night
Family Room: Rs.2,300/- per night
Extra person- Rs 500 /- per night
This is not a paid promotion.