Review: The Kothi, Gurdaspur
The old-worldly Kothi, set at the top end of a tree-lined driveway merging with viridian grounds efflorescent with colour, is a happy marriage between traditional Punjabi and colonial design motifs. It was once part of a rambling ancestral haveli that is today an amorphous result of expanding families and their need for privacy without losing all connectedness.
The rose-blush of the facade is a striking contrast with the ivory of the front porch where polite, nimble-footed retainers usher you into the shabby-chic elegance of the living room. High, photograph-lined walls punctuated by windows, doors and ventilators enclose deep chintzy seating and period furniture bunched around a fireplace. Glass-topped tables sport personal memorabilia, a bookcase takes up one corner, across from which is a music console nearly always playing soulful Sufi.
The adjoining dining room exudes a classic country air complete with rustic furniture, and a deer horn trophy harking back to a time when shikaar (hunting) was not considered a dirty word. A hand crafted dining table takes up most of the space here, yet finds few takers to eat off its surface.
Most just prefer the delightful nooks and crannies in the sunny outdoors where the hosts will gladly set up at meal-times. Dinners are best served, and partaken, at the kitchen table while a gently fired clay-oven keeps you warm.
Three cosy double-bedded rooms with modern en suite bathrooms come cheerfully furnished. Located on two levels, they are fronted by arched verandas opening onto/overlooking a central courtyard. The roof, once you navigate your way up a step-ladder, provides fabulous scenes of the surrounding village.
Special mention must be made of the food; simply seductive, home-cooked, wholesome food that promises to lure you back to the hospitable charms of the Kothi. Be sure to rise to addictive tea and stuffed paranthas dripping freshly whipped butter, lunch on their signature sweetened rice with aloo-wadi curry, and sign off the day with saag and makki di roti.