“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
― William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire
We all desire to move to the mountains to have a better perspective of our life. And the saints and sadhus do vouch for the mountain air and its benefit to the body through enlightenment; while we mere mortals find ourselves light and elevated after our rendezvous with the mountains.
“among the clouds
we shared a cup of tea
the mountain and me”
― Meeta Ahluwalia
Should you want to travel to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh then take a detour and read this first! Why? Here are some things you need to know before you travel and get the maximal benefits out of it.
- Travel to BE: We travel to lose ourselves and in the process find ourselves. The best travels are the ones in which we are what we are – not tourists but merging into the local milieu. That is why the best way to experience this is through boarding at homestay rather than at a hotel.
- Travel for LOCAL: Localized experiences are more rewarding than touristy destinations. Sampling kumaon food in homestays and picking up the untraveled roads actually lead to better understanding of the local life and how the local population copes and thrives in the place.
- Travel to STAY: To have the feeling of “stay”, homestays are best and so are experiences of staying for a good period of time by indulging in local activities, fairs, festivals to gain a good perspective of the holistic ways of that place. Even a week of stay should be so well experienced by you that you should feel ‘uprooted’ when you go back.
- Share GLOBAL: Documenting your experiences of local life and activities (and not just well known spots and tourist places) in your travelogue (written journal or blog) should help you enliven the memories again and again. Sharing them with the world helps put incremental happiness on your journey and breaking of perceptions sometimes. In the covid times, Amanda Sodhi recently was on 12 month, 11 cities and 1 suitcase expedition and her experience sharing has not only made people sit up and notice but also realize their misconceptions. Her spread out of her experiences in Kashmir is one such example. One cannot imagine Kashmir to be beautiful after all this strife and bombardment, yet she chronicles her journey there and leaves us readers wondering. (Her IG Profile Link: https://instagram.com/amandasodhi
Now shall we proceed further with the planning and staying? For a well-rounded experience you can check out for small homestays that can actually help the local people earn some income. Earnings in the mountains are seasonal, so whatever the locals earn through the people who travel there, they save on that for those months when they can’t venture out and work.
One of the homestays is run by Jubin Mehta at Bir. Jubin writes about the mountain experiences and his travels in his blog: https://jubinsblog.com/aashram-space/ He also has a publication which has beautiful stories from the mountains. Check out : https://jubinmehta09.wixsite.com/aashramspace
A small note before we drop the pen……
- Respect the local culture and customs. Best is to ask and follow them.
- Be responsible and don’t litter. Be eco-conscious when travelling.
- Don’t haggle and bargain with street vendors. If you feel the price is hiked, don’t buy, simple. Search for someone else.
- Don’t be overenthusiastic and nosy with the locals. Some people may not want to reveal everything or like to be intruded upon.
- If you are combining your trip with a festival or fair in that place, best is to have a local guide who can help you understand what is going on and the importance of it.
- Smile and enjoy!