The dire weather warnings were, as it happened, a storm in a teacup, and whilst there was some rain, the arrival into Kathgodam was a cool relief from the heat of the plains.

 

village home stays with The Folk Tales
Forging for wild berries in Kumaon

My hosts for the two nights were the wonder Lalit and family – staying in their Anglo-Kumaoni style farm house, with an impressive 100 acres of farmland, a river to take a walk past, a herd of about 18 cows (all of them part of the family and lovingly looked after) and the friendly Blackie the Dog who, when not following us on our walks, was busy chasing off the Black-Faced Langurs who were there to eat the mangoes which were ripening in the trees above us.

village homestay with The Folk Tales
Getting stuck in down on the farm

What was lovely about this stay was not only the close interaction with the family, and the quick bond that grew between us, but that the stay on the farm was also quite immersive – thy set me to work! Tending the tomato plants, helping make the curd, whipping up some lassi, making fresh mint and ginger chutney, and even milking the cows (I may have grown up next to a farm in Wales, but this was my very first time milking by hand!).

immersive travel in india with the folk takes
A new addition to Lalit’s family – a three week old calf

We were very privileged to be able to hear local musicians perform a part of the Jagar Ritual, which is a form of ancestor spirit worship practiced in the hills of Uttarakhand. The ritual is conducted to commune with the gods, and is done so through the medium of music and the singer will enter a trance like state during the chanting in order to communicate with the gods, and in turn it is believed that they communicate through him. This is not a performance for tourists, as it is a cultural and spiritual ritual which is taken very seriously in the hills, and so we were indeed very lucky to be able to witness just a small part of the ceremony.

traditional spiritial and musical rituals of India
Local musicians who perform the music and chants for the Jagar Ritual

The location is breathtaking, slow paced Kumaon village life, starts early and sunrise, with a cup of chai watching the kids make their way to the village school, and ends with a bonfire under the starry sky. In between there were plenty of walks (amazing how much you can do in a day if you start the day off at 6am!) and plentiful and delicious Kumaoni home cooked food.

It was an absolute privilege to spend time with Lalit and his warm and welcoming family – an experience which I hope will not be my first and last with The Folk Tales – Discover Rural India

Find out more about The Folk Tales and the Village Trails and Experiences they offer in some of India’s most beautiful and offbeat destinations on our website;

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