The Incomparable Papersali

We Were There

Leaving Haldwani after breakfast on 6 June 2017 we drove leisurely for about three hours, had lunch en route, and reached Papersali at 13-00. Beforehand we made arrangements with Gopal's Binsar Retreat. When the car stood before the Retreat, Gopal came out with his shy but welcoming smile which told us we made no mistake. And after alighting from the car when we stood for a while to look around the place where we would stay for the next three days, it was sheer joy.

Gopal's Binsar Retreat


Initially Gopal gave us the option of staying either at his place or at any of the Cottages at  Khim's Guest House, the latter needed a little down the hill walk. We opted for the former. As seen in the left, it's a four-storied buliding kept immaculately clean. Guest rooms are in the third and fourth floor overlooking either the motorway or the hillside on the back. We took a backroom on the third floor. All the rooms are clean and comfortable to ensure enjoyable stay. Dining spaces are in both first and second floors, while the kitchen is in the second. To while away time one may walk along the road either to Almora or Binsar; or walk easily down the backside hill, or  simply go to the roof and remain there as long as mood permits. Rooms are all provided with long Verandahs to gaze unmindfully to the hills or horrizon and be lost in the abundant greenaries and croonings of birds. 

Around The Retreat

Down the Hill Walk To The Khim's Guest House

Khim's Guest House

In early 1980s a Westerner living close to Almora advised Khim to build a cottage within his vast land to allow a few visitors to live amidst the salubrious climate of Almora and be lost in the solitude of the  hills. Khim did exactly as he was told. In no time a small and rustic cottage came up within the land he inherited from his ancestors. As time  went by guests increasingly began to visit his place which today with more Cottages has become Khim's Guest House, moderately known within and abroad India. Today his foreign guests outnumber the Indians, may be this has in its root what the former prefer while travelling to distant places.

Glimpses of Cottages at the Khim's

The Hub 

This is the main house where Khim lives with his family. Gopal with his family lives further down the hill. Food and other services to the guests at the cottages go from here. Though many prefer to visit this house and meet Khim while having their teas and meals. The house has a beautiful Shiva Temple adding sanctity to this restful ambience. A few simple guest rooms as below are also adjacent to the house. 

The Story of A Library

At Khim's place a marvellous collection of books in three racks, well stacked and dust free, awaits the book-lovers. This had made me curious. I took one book by William Dalyrimple before coming out in the open terrace and asked Khim about the collection. His story follows. Once an American guest suggested Khim to keep books for his guests . Later the same American send some books to him to start with. This was the beginning. As the number of guests grew with time, so were the books. For the foreign guests seldom care to take their books with them when read.  But gradually the volume and variety became unmanageable for Khim. Guests began rummaging for what might interest them leaving the rest in more disorder. Then came a Canadian couple to stay for a long sojourn. They were academics and hence not ready to allow such misfortune to the books. With their loving care the books were classified and orderly placed in the shelves as we found them now. 

Who Host With Care

Khim Singh Bisht

He is mostly a silent man with a ready smile to please and serve his guests. He is loved by the frequenters, mostly from the West, many of whom keep on coming to Khim's and stay for more or less longer periods. He started it in early 1980s and since then his Guest House has gained both in size and reputation. 

And His Son

Gopal followed in his father's steps. Alongside looking after his newly opened Retreat, he helps his father too in running the Khim's Guest House. Staying with Gopal never feels like one is away from home. For apart from his place or the simple food he serves - it is his attitude - he never believes that his guests are one-timers.

The Essential Trio

Pankaj

He is as nice as the food he cooks. His kitchen by all means keeps the guests pleased and happy.

Sundar

Apart from serving food, teas and whatever you need, he is always there within seconds whenever you require.

Rohit

He keeps the Guest House immaculately clean and the guests pleased with his silent presence..