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.
You’re forgiven for cursing the sun gods for the signature Delhi heat. But thanks to them, the long weekends of Dussehra & Diwali are beckoning you to ditch the sunscreen, lose the ice stock, drop your sun hat, and set out for a breath of fresh air.
In a country of 28 states, each with its signature culture, food, language, history & landscape, it’s not easy for a traveler to scratch the tourism surface of India beyond the golden triangle. The need of the hour, as recognized by Indian Tourism, UNDP and a string of social entrepreneurs, is to develop sustainable, responsible travel initiatives in high-potential regions of rural India.
Perched in the cradle made by the Himalayan foothills to the north and the Shivalik range to the south, Dehradun is that small valley where you can tell the season by looking at the flowers in your garden. You can see your flight hovering over mountain tops when landing in Dehradun, and you are gradually lowered into a misty land where green is the predominant color. Often shadowed in the eyes of visitors by the hill-station of Mussoorie, the valley is what glitters with sunrise, sunset & Mussoorie’s night lights after dusk, everyday. This valley is what I call my home town. It’s what you dream about when fast city life stops beckoning, where you don’t have to rich or successful to be popular, where everyone lives in a house and doesn’t call it a bungalow, where there’s a leechee tree in every backyard, where you don’t go out late in the night because you love tucking away at home, where you look forward to the chilly winter so you can bask under the day sun. Everyone …