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New Year Celebrations in a Himalayan Village

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  • Village Shankhdhura

    Near Munsiyari, Uttarakhand (map)

    30.071518 80.237343

  • Splendor of Panchachuli through every window, Glistening calm water flowing in every brook.

    How about celebrating your New Year far away from the city's hustle bustle while witnessing the snow clad mountains and sipping your masala chai, while having in-depth conversations with pahadi people? Let's embark on an Odyssey to a village which is too beautiful to be real, where you stay in authentic pahadi houses where every rooms offers a breathtaking view of sky touching mountains. How about doing some folkdance and have a open air meal with locals? How about exploring their jungles, bird life, organic farming and eating organic meals?

    Shankadhura, steeped in a history of being along an ancient trade and pilgrim route with a present which is uniquely rural and rich in both cultural & natural diversity, is a small village in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. Set amidst the majestic towering Panchachuli peaks, on the banks of Gori river and located close to the tri-junction of the international borders of India, Nepal and Tibet, the village offers a unique frontier flavor.

    Rural Odyssey, along with the people of this breathtaking village in Gori valley, offers you an unforgettable experience. You can share your life experience with them to help in making a positive impact in their lives and aid in earning a livelihood for a better future. Families welcome you to share your cooking skills, learn to solar bake, cook with fresh ingredients and ‘get back to the basics’ for those so inclined. One can learn to weave with wool on traditional looms, weave baskets using montane bamboo – crafts that are seasonally engaged in and are integral to the community that is highly dependent on its forests and rich natural heritage. We invite you to come and have this authentic and unique cultural experience!

    TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

    Pahadi Homestays: Stay in a beautiful spacious home stay with a Kumaoni family, where they will happily invite you inside their kitchens and pamper you with lip smacking traditional food. Our rooms will be private and updated with all the basic modern amenities.

    Majestic Panchachuli Peaks: Get possessed by the breathtaking snow-clad Panchachuli Peaks.

    Farm Walk: Understand their organic agricultural practices. Pluck some fresh cucumbers, lemons, corns, carrots and taste them. Feel free to pack some samples to bring them home.

    Organic food: We will be served fresh organic meals, during our stay in the village. Kumoani ladies pluck home-grown vegetables from their farms, for every meal.

    Maati Sangathan: Women are the powerhouse of this village. At Maati, interact with the worker’s to know about the functioning of this enterprise. We can also shop handcrafted woolen fabric including Pashmina and Angora, and locally grown organic food products.

    Bird Trek: The region has 326 recorded bird species. Be ready to spot some beautiful and rare birds that will make you fall in love with nature once again. Therapists say that bird sounds work as a brain spa, so be ready to be left rejuvenated after the trek.

    Community get-together: This is the time when we’ll have some fun moments with our whole village family. We’ll have lunch with community and dance to Kumaoni beats with villagers.

    New Year Celebrations: How about celebrating New Year with such beautiful people?

    DETAILED ITINERARY

    Day 1:

    After an overnight journey from Delhi, we will reach Haldwani around 5 AM, and will start our journey to our host village in a Traveler van. The journey enchants you with a picturesque view of old mountain towns of Nainital, Almora, Seraghat, Berinag and Thal, and Kalamuni Pass (~9000 feet above sea level). We will finally descend into the Gori valley and reach village by early evening.

    It’s a beautiful drive as you drive past the Kosi River near Almora, Sarayu at Seraghat, and Ramganga at Thal, and finally, enter the Gori Gangawatershed. We will make stops on the way for refreshments and meals (breakfast and lunch) at nice food joints, with breathtaking views all over the place.

    We will be welcomed by our hospitable hosts and splendid Panchchuli peaks. To rejuvenate you, we have arranged for twin sharing rooms (in the homes of native people) with clean fresh linen and duvets, and attached western bathrooms with running water. All the rooms are comfortable and quiet with a view of majestic Panchchuli peaks. We will end the day with a freshly prepared organic dinner with our hosts or in private as per your wish.

    Day 2: Exploring the Kumaoni mountain village

    We will start the day with introductions, introducing ourselves to each other and the village folks, discussing briefly about the Gori valley and the life there. We will walk around the village understanding the region’s seasonal farming practices and interacting with the village communities. The guided tour through the village will tune us to the seasonal agricultural practices. This will give you an insight on how the locals have stuck to the methods of organic farming, despite harsh conditions, and still live a content life.

    Post lunch, we will visit Tribal Museum which is founded and managed by Mr. S. S. Pangtey. The museum is his life’s work and dedication towards preserving and protecting the local Bhotiya Tribe (a scheduled tribe that used to trade with Tibet). A half-day visit to this museum will give you a glimpse of the old Bhotiya culture which once flourished in the region.

    In the evening, there’s an optional visit to Munsiari Bazaar, Nanda Devi Mandir and Danadhar. The Bazaar is set between three villages and is a one-road Bazaar. Seek the blessings of the local goddess in the temple and get a bird’s eye view of the Gori valley from the vantage point of Danadhar.

    Day 3: Forests and Conservation

    Today, we start the day with a guided tour of the village and get to understand the Village Community more closely. As we walk around, we will visit few homes of various social and caste groups, understand the cultural and architectural aspects, witness the traditional weaving on looms with wool (maybe try it as well) and learn about the civic amenities such as water sources and innovations in the use of solar power.

    Women are the powerhouse of this village. Alongside managing the home stays and working in fields, they also run an enterprise “Maati Sangathan”, a collective that run across 50 nearby villages. We will visit Maati Sangathan where you’ll get to interact with the village women to know about the functioning of this enterprise, and can also shop locally produced handicrafts including finely woven pashminas and other woolen wear, furnishings, and locally grown organic food products.

    Post lunch, we will have a small get together with the village communities. You’ll get a chance not only to get familiar with the local folk music and dance forms, but also experience them.

    Day 4: Bird Trek / Natural History walk

    We will spend the day leisurely with nature, walking on the stony pathway with a stream running along to the Mesar Kund (a pond nestled in an old Oak forest). Mesar Kund has a very interesting folklore associated, which will be described during the walk. On the way, just before the ancient Mesar Kund, the village community (with their bare hands and efforts) has built another pond, also known as the Mesar Kund (the new one) to keep the water stream running through the village throughout the year. With every step, view of Panchchuli will take our breath way, and it keeps getting better and better!

    We will continue the walk to Budgair Dhar above Mesar Kund and those fit enough can walk up to the Bugyals (meadows) of Lalsingair at around 10,000 feet. You can easily notice therichness of Flora and Fauna in the valley, comprising of over 326 recorded bird species, 36 mammals, and 2,200 flowering plant species.

    Day 5: ADIEU

    Today after the breakfast, we will say goodbye to the village and its wonderful people, and trace our steps back toward Haldwani. We will reach Haldwani/Kathgodam around 8-9 pm. From there, we will board our overnight bus to Delhi.

    COST

    INR 17,000/- from Delhi to Delhi 

    Contact 

    [masked]/[masked] (SMS/Call/Whatsapp) for any queries.

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