The very first sight of the Sainji village made a deep imprint on my mind. The rustic look, the earthy smell and the colourful houses were enticing enough. It was a sheer visual delight. The golden coloured hung corns dominated the tiny village situated on a hilltop.
The courtyard was filled with red chilies and rice grains, sunned on those colourful rugs. The traditional Pahari wooden house added the much needed charm to this picturesque village right in the centre. It was during my recent visit to the Rokeby Manor in Landour, when I got to know about the corn village. The name was so intriguing that I decide to explore it the very first day.
The sound of giggles suddenly became louder as the women returned from the field and indulged in a leisurely chat amongst themselves. Those shimmered smiles of the women and wondering eyes, as if they were asking for my whereabouts. That shyness to start the conversation was evident on their faces.
I could not stay away from joining them in that candid chat without any hesitation. I did not realize when I became a part of them. Talking with the locals and sharing the laughter, I bonded with them so well that I no longer was a stranger in their land anymore.
Nestled on a hilltop in the Tehri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand, Sainji village is one of the prettiest villages I had ever come across. Only 20 km away from the famous tourist destination Mussoorie, the village will amaze you with its hanging golden corns in each house.
The villagers are using unique techniques to preserve it. They have mastered the art of drying the corn within their homes. They first let these corns dry and then preserve the seeds for the next year. While having a conversation with the villagers, I was informed that after harvesting these corns, these are hung in each house and they remain that way throughout the year to cultivate it in the next year.
If you pan around, all one can see are the bunch of corns hung upside down in each corner. Luckily I was there at the right time, since September and October are considered as the harvesting months.
The food habit of any place is conditioned by the weather and also the kind of crops that gets cultivated in the region. After wheat and rice, the maze is the one of the main agricultural crops this region produces. That’s why the use of corn flour is dominant in the kitchen of this region than other places. I don’t wonder anymore, why this village is called Corn Village.
I learnt that many of the luxury hotels in Mussoorie have started taking their guests to the Rural Tours, which includes a visit to corn villages like Sainji and Bhatoli , sampling authentic pahardi cuisines and getting a taste of the true rustic lifestyle of the people. By doing this, they are opening the villages to the world and also creating a kind of curiosity to explore these hidden places. It also helps in enhancing the economic development of these villages in many ways.
As I was strolling around the village, I came across an old woman. Far away from the hue and cry, the alluring landscape to fall back and the bright sunlight to accompany, the aged woman was simply enjoying her hukka.
With the traditional attire, wrinkled face, and a gracious smile on her face, made me wonder about the simple pleasures of life. Life seems blissful when you know how to live it without many hassles. When I approached her for a photograph, she was willing to pose for the shutterbug. The selfless love and the graceful smile of that old woman still lingers around me.
I came back with a sweet bundle of smiles on my face. The smiles that speak a lot of my abundant joy that I found in a tiny village like Sainji, far away from the concrete jungles.
Note : I was invited by Rokeby Manor , Landour
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