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A Chirpy Christmas & Roaring Goodbye to 2020

Melange by Alaya: A curated experience through the dense jungles of Corbett, complimented by a taste of Kumaoni way of life for those seeking a mindful journey this festival season.

An approximate six hour drive away from Delhi there is a magical land, fabled for its black and orange striped inhabitants. Jim Corbett and its tigers have made many headlines and found their way onto several inquisitive travelers wish lists. All through this influx of attention, the people of the region have managed to preserve not only their tigers but also their Kumaoni culture. To end this dreary year with a roaring goodbye and a mindful welcome to the next one, Alaya Resort Corbett is bringing you the chance to temporarily move in next door to our esteemed striped inhabitants and the locals who have much to share.

Alaya is located in Village Kyari, Corbett Landscape, a little further off from the Corbett Tiger Reserve but it is the best option you can choose because our striped neighbors need their space. They are averse to noisy neighbors, just like us. The resort itself has a beautiful expanse of well-kept lawns, if you love your chai/coffee with the smell of fresh dew hanging in the air, the lawn chairs might easily become your spot. While the resort itself is an escape from this tedious year, there is more going on. Alaya is hosting the event Melange, with their marketing partner, E-Troupers, for the duration of 24th December 2020 to 2nd January 2021, this event is a curated culture and adventure experience planned for Alaya’s temporary residents. We have an itinerary of various activities that really bring forth the true essence of the festive season while taking us back to our roots of simple and mindful living. You could come join in for the whole thing or maybe a day or two on a weekend getaway. While there is a lot to make you fall in love with nature and Kumaon’s culture, there are also special events planned around Christmas & New Year celebrations (the mistletoe has been strung up).

In case your adventure bug tickles you a little too fiercely in the morning there is a wonderful guided walk organized, through a wooded jungle pathway, you can hear and identify quite a few chirps. The tour allows you to really be at one with nature and take this journey with experienced naturalists to direct your questions to. There are nature walks being organised regularly, one of the most exciting has to be the Titli walk, a butterfly expert talks you through the various butterflies you are bound to encounter, they are often resting amongst the calmness of the leaves, a small jolt to a bush and a ton of them just come fluttering out. One that you are sure to spot is a ‘small white’ butterfly with a single dot on each wing. For the daredevils who intend to make an acquaintance with the tigers of the jungle, Melange offers an exclusive jungle safari at the wee hours of the morning & afternoon, the Jungle Safari takes you through the jungle routes best known for the sighting of a prowling or leisurely tiger. While you learn so much, you also have the opportunity to give back to nature by being a part of the tree plantation drive, it may not atone for all the damage humankind has caused but planting a seed before stepping into a better year can only mean great things.

Speaking of better things to come, the curated event Melange also allows you to look back deeper into the local culture’s traditions and way of life. For the future can only become better when we take a page or two from the past. When staying at Alaya you get to experience and partake in the local Kumaoni culture of the Kyari region. Jyoti Ramnagar, a localite of the region hosts  extensive Aipan workshops, Aipan is a red and white traditional art form which is geometric, Madala-like and highly symbolic in nature. The background for the artwork is created using a reddish clay called geru, on which the artwork and design is meticulously created using a white paint like mixture made of rice flour. The design of these is usually handed down from mother to daughter, no tyar (the kumaoni word for festival) is ever really complete without an aipan. Another opportunity to peak into the local culture is the team cooking session where the Alaya residents have the chance to source the local produce straight from the fields and a Kumaoni Amma ji teaches recipes that are exclusive to the region. The feast is an experience like none other, especially since we are able to appreciate every step of the process before it arrives at our plates.

There are also some more workshops hosted by Safar Aur Nagme (experience partner for Alaya) like calligraphy, wreath making, cookie decorating and pottery that keeps your days pretty engaging but the best experiences start at dusk, there are small interactive bonfires that get you acquainted to the people staying there. There is a human library event that allows you to really learn about and from one another. Most of the nights have exclusive live performances, ranging from a romantic acoustic guitar session to a beautiful ghazal/sufi evening, the most exciting live music event is the Qawali night planned for the big 31st eve. Nizami Khusro Brothers will be performing, comprising the trio Sibtain Nizami, Saqlain Nizamia and Jamman Nizami, sons of Ustad Meraj Ahmad Nizami from the culture soaked region of old Delhi. While their prestige and reputation precedes them, this talented trio will ‘singing in’ 2021 for Melange.

The turn of the decade was louder than ever for most of us, yet it has taught us that the noise we surround ourselves with, drowns eventually. It is time to shift out of the fast lane, turn down the radio and listen to the calling of our own soul. We wish you a graceful exit from 2020 and a mindful 2021.

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