For years, Shivendra Sharma has kept the doors to his warm home in Gurgaon’s tony Sushant Lok open for friends, their friends and their friends.
Generous hospitality, a great selection of books, teas from Sri Lanka, a small but well curated music and video library, fine wine, great food, fresh spices and herbs grown on the terrace, inspirational stories – Shivendra offers an alternate view of the world.
Post spending a few months each of the last few years in Leh, largely conquering half a dozen 6000m peaks and discovering silk route petroglyphs, Shivendra has thrown open a Fine Dining restaurant (Café TBQ) cum a two suite Bed & Breakfast (Chalung House) on an urban farm , irrigated with glacial spring water, walkable distance from the Leh town epicentre.
The Chalung House farm has 180 degree views of the stok range of mountains, including Leh’s best view of Stok Kangri. The farm has a resident dzo, three cows, two cats, two petit dogs and dozens of birds, including magpies. For flora, there are a dozen fruiting apple and peach trees. Shivendra is cultivating lentils, spinach, maize, onion and several local salad greens on the farm.
We were the first guests at Chalung House, the two side mountain view suites are modern yet preserve the local culture, ceilings are traditional Ladhakhi made of poplar and willow wood, the bathroom is modern and clean. The rooms are aesthetically furnished with cotton bed spreads and towels, there are solar chargers, double walled thermo flasks for hot water, a carefully curated selection of tea and coffee for ready consumption.
There is no fixed menu, you eat whatever and whenever. There is a well trained local staff of four to ensure the resident guests enjoy the best hospitality.
Breakfast was simple and very basic –a three organic egg white omelette with yak cheese on toast, accompanied with pork and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil - silken tofu and local spinach. There was a fine selection of teas, including a highly recommended Jasmine tea.
Dinner was local rice, flat bread, smoked pork, local ladakhi lentils, flash fried aubergine chips and organic potatoes cubes, different types of local spinach sautéed in organic stone ground mustard oil, accompanied with two salads’ – whole turnips and assorted greens.
I stayed four nights. We plan to go there again in September.