A Nursery Named Norling

Several years ago, in the month of July, we went on one of our trips to a place called Bomdila. It’s a hilly town in the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh and like all places in the foothills of the Himalayas, the weather is cooler and the plants, prettier. Despite the time of the year there was no rain wreaking havoc on narrow hill roads. Getting away from the heat of the plains was a wonderful respite. We drove by ponds where water-lilies vied for blooming space. When the ascent started, wild, pink begonias ran riot spilling over the road banks. As we went higher my young sons whooped in delight as streams of water tumbled down the steep mountainsides. The sprays caught the light and little sun bows danced in front of our eyes. On the narrow roads we crossed countless vehicles stuffed to the gills with tourists. Down below, the roaring ribbon of whitewater rushed on its endless journey.

The mountains, the spectacular mountains, evoke in me a deep sense of reverence. On the distant peaks, prayer flags fluttered gaily. In July, Bomdila was a floral delight. Most homes had begonias and fuchsias growing in all imaginable kinds of containers…clay and ceramic pots, oil and food containers and in buckets. Nasturtiums spilled out of straight and straggly fences, and pansies seemed to go/grow wild!!

Near our hotel I noticed a sign that said Norling Nursery with an arrow pointing towards its direction. The next morning we made our way to Norling . We passed by a little spring, a feature of most hilly or mountainous terrain. The nursery was on a hilltop with a magnificent view of the mountains and the valley below. Every imaginable hue burst out of containers, and of course most of them were plants not suited to the plains. While the lady showed us around, her husband made two steaming cups of tea for us. Sitting there, surrounded by exotic blooms, and the whisper of the wind in our ears, the glitter of sunlight on the river below, and the prayer flags in the distance….it was beautiful! The conversation veered towards Tibet, they spoke about fleeing their homeland and the atrocities inflicted on their people. They even lent us a copy of the autobiography of the Dalai Lama. They said we could leave the book at the hotel’s reception and that they would collect it later. We thanked our gracious hosts, paid for the plants we’d selected and left. This is one nursery visit I shall cherish…

In the evening at one of the shops that we went to, when I mentioned my visit to Norling, the shop owner asked me when I would be leaving. When I told her the time, she asked me to pick up a begonia plant from her shop. The next morning I walked down to the market where she had a lovely plant ready for me! She absolutely refused to accept any money!!

Before I went to Bomdila, the images I had in my mind of the place were of red apples and snow. This was due to two girls (siblings) from my school whose father was posted there, and they often gushed about the apples and the snow. But after my visit, I have some more endearing images of my own….

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About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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11 Responses to A Nursery Named Norling

  1. Sharmila says:

    i was n still is fascinated by north east region esp. AP …. i am told that in the uphill forest there’re many variety of floral n fauna that are found in those forest only …. would love to visit the place some day.

    Do u still have those plants …. r they still alive !! (sorry – but i mean if u have them do post their pics. would love to see them :))

    • kanak7 says:

      Sharmila, there are many areas in AP worth a visit. The views are fantastic! A.P. is also known for its orchids but I haven’t travelled in the interiors to actually get to see them in the wild.The plants did not survive the weather here in Guwahati. There were several changes in our compound in the years following that trip and the yearly flooding caused a lot of damage. Sorry…no pics.:(

  2. What an amazing account, Kanak. You have brought a vivid memory to life for all of us!

  3. This trip sounds wonderful, almost like a fantasy!! I can almost see it in my mind wit your vivid descriptions. Did you not take any pictures?

  4. Andrea says:

    Kanak, you really write very well, you’re very effective storyteller. I can visualize every part of the trip and my mind went ahead as if at the end i will be reaching Shangri-la! But i don’t remember you mentioning how long was the trip. How i wish to visit that area in this lifetime. BTW, Tibet is one of the places i’ve fantasized so much but no chance to visit, maybe that area looking at the distant Himalayas can suffice for it, at least. So where are the photos. We need them badly to substantiate the enthusiasm you put in our heads, please!

    • kanak7 says:

      Andrea…thank you so much! If I remember right the drive takes 5-6 hours depending on the state of the roads. Our region isn’t best known for its roads!;) But that was after a stopover at the town of Tezpur. I haven’t been there in years but when the kids were small, part of the summer vacations were usually spent in the many places in the Himalayan foothills. No photos Andrea…that was much before I actually started handling a camera. But there will be some photos coming in the future, for sure!!!!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Nursery at the hilltop? I know it is wonderful. The Rose Garden situated at Cameron Highlands here is one of them. I enjoyed myself admiring the flowers there and really felt ‘on top of the world’ then. Your felt the same way? I can imagine big smile on your face all the way to your car… LOL 😀

  6. Sharmila says:

    yeah – the orchids !! i just see them on the Discovery Channel … i thought they can grow easily in ur weather – sad it doesn’t. N sad about the yearly floads too as it damage ur hard work in the garden but living near the river is interesting too 🙂

    Enjoy gardening !!

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