A whole week has passed since the arrival of the Nimmu team. Spring is truly coming into season here, with a crisp freshness to the air: the apricot trees and apple orchards are in blossom, the stream by the terrace has begun to flow again, the days are sunny and wearing a t-shirt is enough under the bright sunlight. The evenings are still chilly, shadowing the surrounding white mountain peaks. Nimmu House is in for a beautiful season.
From the orchard to the plate
Soon after our arrival we met with our friends – our neighbours in the village – Api Lay, Angshuk, Stenzin, Kunzes, Nurzam and Kune Sampel Pley, who told us of the great winter they had a had but are similarly eager to see Nimmu House’s doors open again, due to the economic and social activities it brings them and the whole village of Nimmu. Stenzin and Sampel have been busy planting cabbage, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, basil, cilantro and beans own gardens, and the first batch of fresh and organic vegetables will be ready within the next 15 days.
Stenzin followed the advice that Ramesh had so kindly given him and built a greenhouse, allowing him to grow his crops over the winter, which is great news for us as the wonderful Ladkhi spinach is ready for us to enjoy – what a treat! Stanzin has been busy as not only did he build the greenhouse and plant his crops, before Ladakh was consumed by winter, Stanzin prepared apricot oil, which is just perfect for the Nimmu House guests to enjoy a fruity massage.
From hibernation to preparation
Ladakh is waking up slowly from its winter months and there are still not many travellers in Leh and the Indus Valley. The Srinagar highway to Leh is still closed until mid-May which makes Ladakh very difficult to get to during these cold months.
As for us though, we are preparing Nimmu House and the grounds for the opening on Saturday 30th of April. Mona, Yandol and Dolam have been busy cleaning, vacuuming the house from top to bottom, although they keep saying it makes a lot, or even too much noise! When Span Rajeev is not in the garden picking the dead leaves, he has been busy in the kitchen cleaning and shinning the pots, pans, cutlery, crockery and glasses to guarantee a sparkle. Ramesh is as always busy, working with the plumbers, electricians and painters to ensure Nimmu House is ready for the arrival of it’s guests, after the long, harsh winter.
Ramesh was happy to arrive at Nimmu House early this year, and has been busy watering the whole orchard and taking special care of the gardens which are home to the flowers and herbs whose beauty and scent will no doubt continue to astonish and wow the guests. There’s another reason Ramesh has a big smile on his face though, and that’s because Maya, his wife, is the new Head of
House at Nimmu. Maya has over 20 years experience as a cook for expatriate families in Delhi and being of Nepalese origin, she has such diverse taste in cooking that she will happily prepare for the Nimmu’s guests the famous Tibeto-Nepalese momo, Japanese soups Mediterranean salads, pasta with pesto, Basque chicken, chocolate pancakes or apricot pie.
Dear Willy, our manager, has a big smile across his face, despite it being a bit tricky to see under that beard of his, and is happy to welcome the season he has been dreaming of for several months. After spending over 10 years in restaurant and hotel industry in the South of France and London, Willy was eager to begin a new adventure. And that is exactly what he has done! As manager, Willy arranges all technicalities within the restaurant, prepares the schedules and when he’s not busy plugging in numbers into his calculator he is learning Ladakhi. In the evenings Willy often has his head between the pages of books, learning about Ladakh, Tibet and Buddhism.
Festivals in Ladakh and the season highlights
There are countless note-worthy experiences here in Ladakh and in particular at Nimmu House, such as the beautiful bloom of the Nimmu House orchard, commencing end of April and early May: the blossom from the apricot and apple trees paint the orchards of Ladakh white and pink. Truly a magnificent sight!
- On the 20th of May, the full moon festival of Saga Dawa is celebrated across Ladakh.
- On July 1st, the Museum of Matho will be inaugurated. The museum, which has been an ongoing project since 2012, led by Nelly Reiuf and a motivated team of international volunteers, was founded for the preservation of cultural heritage treasures across the Himalayas. The first exhibition whill be open to the public in July 2016.
- The Festival of Lamayuru Monastery is held on the 1st and 2nd of July, and is an annual festival with fascinating religious ceremonies and graceful dances.
- From the 1st to the 31st of July 2016, the Hemis Festival will take place, which this year find resonance with a great event: the Naropa Festival, dubbed the Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas, which only takes place every 12 years. This must not be missed!
- The annual festival of the monastery of Karsha, the largest monastery of Kanskar, will be celebrated on the 31st of July and 1st of August.
August means the apricot and apple trees are ready to be picked and the fruits to be eaten, offering our guests the opportunity to taste the delicious pies, compotes, pancakes, jams and momos.
And last, but certainly not least, is the Ladakh marathon on September 11th. There are different distances to choose from ranging from 7km, half marathon, marathon, and for those brave enough: Khardung – the highest ultra marathon in the world: a 60km run at 3500m – 5350m altitude.
We look forward to welcoming you to Nimmu house for the third season.
See you soon in Ladakh!
Team Nimmu House Ladakh