Where The Kumaoni Village Life Embraces You
My cabby was a bit skeptical about the homestay that I was supposed to stay in Deora village. He was concerned about my safety. He even ensured that there was really a homestay and the right person had come to pick me up by asking me to call up the original guy who had been my point of correspondence. Well, the place in Deora village (Almora) where I was supposed to get down was a bit in-the-middle-of-nowhere kind, and the homestay was still 3 km away. Devendra, one of the brothers, who owned the homestay, came to escort me. I just wondered how he would manage to carry my luggage (I don’t travel light).
Deora Village Homestay – The authentic Kumaoni homestay
Anyway, we started walking. Even though I was out of breath within no time and my throat was parched, I didn’t forget to admire the blue skies and the pine trees. After trudging for about 20-25 minutes, I reached my homestay in Deora village, the authentic village homestay where you get just the basic amenities, no frills. I remember it took me a little extra effort to climb the last staircase to get inside the portico of my room. A typical village home in Kumaon has stairs with big staircases to enter the house, while the lower storey is for the cattle to stay.
As soon as I arranged my luggage and settled on the chair in the portico, I was asked if I wanted a cup of tea. Of course, why would I not? It was so comforting. I had forgotten the long journey I had taken from Nathuakhan to reach Almora and then Deora.
Also read: The Colours Of Kumaon – In Photos
I wasn’t looking forward to doing anything particular that day. I freshened up (the village toilets are a little away from the house), admired the malta trees that I had been seeing all along, sipped tea, looked out the window and soaked in the bucolic life of Kumaon. There was a kitchen underneath my room, which oozed smoke all the time. I had a quick peep inside it. The other family members, other than my host, sat there to cook food and boil water. They smiled shyly at me.
As the day descended, it was time to kindle some fire and warm my hands. The woods were arranged in the bukhari (heater) and I was all curled up with a book (there was no internet, so I had no option but to read). Well, the evenings in the mountains are about early dinners. There’s an absolute quiet after 8 o’ clock. It would get extremely difficult for me to kill time post dinner, as there’s nothing much to do. Anyway, I slept well.
From Deora Village to Palyun – A trek through the villages
The next morning was a beautiful one. I was looking forward to a thrilling day. Yogendra, the main host of Deora village, had suggested that I should visit their other property as well, which was in another village called Palyun. The idea was to trek through villages (not the main road) to reach Palyun homestay. It was a 4-5 hour trek that involved mostly straight and downhill walks. The last two kilometres were mostly uphill, though.
It was definitely one of my most epic travel experiences. Although my entire Kumaon trip was planned, visiting Palyun village was totally impromptu. We started at around 11 in the morning after breakfast. I have to admit that I was a bit embarrassed about my suitcases. Devendra had called a young chap to carry the big suitcase. (I had no idea I’d end up trekking!) Anyway, the first few kilometres were quite easy. We passed through a village called Chhani. Most of the places that we crossed are not on map. There were open fields, small temples and river streams along the way. Fortunately, I got internet at some spots, which allowed me to post stories on my Instagram.
We took a lunch break at a charming old temple complex with a huge banyan tree in the middle of it. It was so nice of my host to prepare my plate (parathas and fried chickpeas seasoned with coriander), as I lingered around and clicked photos. So, a delicious rustic meal added to the joy of trailing through villages.
My host had plucked a few lemons (there are many lemon trees in Kumaon), which promised a refreshing drink later. After walking for 5-6 km, Palyun could be seen from afar. The last leg of the trek was quite strenuous. I’d stop again and again to get my breath back. It’s usually the last part of something, which is the hardest. Wouldn’t you agree? The last 20 minutes were so funny. I’d see every home and think that this is the one that I’m supposed to stay at. But, it took longer to reach my destination.
Savoured the Kumaoni hospitality at Palyun Homestay
Palyun Homestay was beautiful. We reached at 3:30 in the afternoon. So, I still had lots of time to enjoy some sunshine. The homestay was similar to Deora homestay in style and structure. But, it was more secluded. It was a different kind of solo travel for me. I walked the countryside, on an unfamiliar path, with two strangers. And later, I stayed at a village home, which was somewhat in the middle of nowhere! I had the entire homestay to myself, as I was the only guest that night.
Well, I savoured the Kumaoni hospitality. From a refreshing lemonade to a crackling bonfire and a hearty dinner later in the evening, I felt a great amount of gratitude for everything that was bestowed upon me by the two men, who were my companions that day. The two men didn’t speak much, but did their best to make me feel comfortable.
The most rewarding part of the trip was the sunset. It was like fire in the sky. I think it was one of my best sunsets, even though there was no orange ball to see. It was like the strokes of intense hues sprinkled in the sky.
Practical information: You can get in touch with Yogendra at 9456362437 or email – firstname.lastname@example.org to book your stay. Deora village is around 4 hours from Kathgodam station.
These village homestays are meant to give travellers authentic Kumaoni experiences, and thus, they offer basic amenities like a clean bed, clean washroom and simple local meals.
Do you enjoy exploring villages?
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