In the lower Himalayas of Uttarakhand, I hiked many kilometers through dreamy villages, terraced valleys, deodar forests, secret rhododendron trails, and swaying yellow mustard fields – a journey that gave me a peek into the soul of rural Kumaon, and through it, my own.
Loud Hindi music blares through the silence of the valley, carrying the wind with it. Women dressed in their most pink and jazzy attires walk down the path to a village hut below, big smiles pasted on their faces, their eyes fixed on their toddlers who keep running faster than their fancy heels can take them. This is not your usual day in Peora, a small village quietly tucked away in the forests of Kumaon in Uttarakhand. It’s the day before a wedding, and the entire village seems to be rejoicing, dressing up, laughing, singing, dancing, feasting and celebrating.