Juhal: A Small Paradise Near Guwahati City
This is a beautiful story about a beautiful place. I had to go somewhere out of the city buzz to get some fresh air, solemnity and obviously good food to gorge on!!! While riding towards the hills I found a sign named as “Juhal” which means “kitchen” in Assamese. It had this wonderful Assamese vibe right from outside. People from Assam can really feel the coziness and the ethnicity attached with it and I am always drawn to such rawness being a girl brought up in a city.
A small doorway through a flight of bamboo stairs leading to a bamboo hut that have these chairs and tables inside with electrical amenities, some ethnic food and vessels around hanging as show pieces to show what our tradition represents; surrounded by this picturesque trees bearing fruits and flowers that will give you a visual of nature as well as love for creatures such as birds, tortoise, turkeys, butterflies, fish living together as a family. It’s a whole new world inside and I feel myself as Alice in Wonderland. A small village, with an open kitchen , all these ladies are working together to cook these delicious Assamese cuisines with love and merriment. The view and smell of the smoke itself gives you the drool.
One of the main reasons that this place holds a special place in my heart is because of the owners and the workers who work there. Mukul Uncle who is a very gentle and kind person as well as the owner of Juhal has this special motive behind setting up this eco-friendly family/friends getaway place. He is a social worker and had his own NGO. But, after a certain period of time due to the limitation of work, he thought it would be better if he did things in his own way and be a cause of hope for the people of the society. He started Juhal, to give a means of income to those Women who are being domestically abused and left alone to be dependent on those abusers. This initiative gives its visitors a fulfillment of life by eating the food cooked by them and spending time at that serene location. The motive of Juhal inspires me as a person to think for the welfare of the Women and make use of the resources available around us.
Speaking of resources, I would be pleased to drive your attention to another attraction of this remarkable place. THE FOOD!!! Oh!! How do I express?! One of the specialities about the food of this place is that the supplies are local produce and are gathered together by the workers every morning from their village. Be it the fish or chicken, the duck or the ferns, the greens or the vegetables, everything is organic and home grown which makes the food even extra special and delightful.
They also have the special homemade wine made from fermented rice which is known as “xaaj”. Sometimes they infuse it with guava or other seasonal fruits which is very experimental and a slash of newness thrown into the people’s taste buds. One of my favorite things to look at will be the presentation of the food. You get the rice served in clay pots, the vegetarian food platter comprising 4-5 homegrown vegetable’s fry, a bowl of dal and your choice of meat or fish. The food when it is brought in front of me leaves me nothing but just drooling like a dog. LOL!!! What a reference I know!!
But you wouldn’t get the experience worth it if you just read it, there is something more to be known. The homely experience, the warm gesture of Mukul Uncle and his wife(that is specially possible for me though haha) and the beautiful greenery all around. I am that girl from the city who looks for an escape nearby and this is my paradise near Guwahati city. You will find Juhal at Sonapur opposite Dichang Resort, Guwahati. Let me know in the comments how your experience goes!