The worst part about 2022 was the volume of things I lost, and the best part about 2022 was all the things I gained especially towards the end of the year. In the nail-biting cold of the end of December, we stayed the last few days in Sari Village, Uttarakhand. And that was one of the best New Year celebrations that I have had.
Before I share more about Sari Village, Uttarakhand and nearby spots, let me first explain you my relationship with cold. Even though I love mountains, and I come from Delhi NCR, I like Summers more than Winters. A temperature of 20 degrees celsius to 35 degrees celsius suit me perfectly. And I possess a tolerance of plus/ minus 10 degrees. So, I can easily weather 10 degrees celsius in winters and 45 degrees celsius in summers. The moment the temperature begins to shift further on either side of the spectrum, I begin to feel uncomfortable. And this discomfort transforms into immobility when the mercury drops to 5 degrees celsius or below.
The temperature in Sari Village touched minus 2 around 29th December 2022 when we were there.
And yet I just did not survive, but enjoyed the surroundings, the pure air, the free sunlight, and the freshness of the mountains, in great measures.
Let me share.
1. Excellent Home-stays/ Resorts in Sari Village with incredible hospitality
Most home-stays in Sari Village have a view of the mountains. You can enjoy the morning Sun, the sunlight during the day and the star-lit sky at night. The hosts usually cook food in the kitchen of their homes and serve hygienic, delicious and healthier food. 🙂 Yes, the chai tea might need customisation and an increased amount of ginger. Once you explain them, they adjust.
Our homestay was run by a group of 4-5 guys on a day-to-day basis who cooked, cleaned and tended to the guests. After the first few failed attempts, they nailed the art of chai making and served me energy-filled, cardamom-scented and ginger-based chai tea. Cups and Cups of those – over plates of pakoras, bakery biscuits and the rising Sun.
We are simple and non-demanding folks and usually make the best out of what’s available to us. But if you like massive customisation, do not worry. In our homestay, the families next-door kept asking for one thing after another: more hot water as there was someone inside the bathroom and using the geyser, customised food such as the fried version of eggplants on the side of their meals, boiled eggs cut open in the form of a salad with just the right amount of chopped tomatoes and onions, more chairs, more tables, more ashtrays, and maybe a loudspeaker because I could hear every single word of their conversation. And the owners obliged to everything.
2. Numerous trails for a nature-lover
If you love hikes and long walks, this place is a treasure trove. All you need is a walking stick, a bag pack with essentials and two legs, the rest will be taken care of. The locals will guide you on which route to take. The trees will give you directions. And a new hike will show itself at regular intervals 🙂
All you got to do is to walk, and have a spirit to explore.
3. Popular hikes nearby: Deoria Tal, Chopta, Tunganath and Chandrashila
Sari village is nearby Deoria Tal. From our stay, the Deoria lake was just 3 kms away. And the famous Chopta trek was only 22 kms. away. Yes, the same Chopta trek that leads to the famous Shiva Temple, Tunganath, and then further up to Chandrashila that offers uniquely gorgeous views.
4. Go searching for Monal 🙂
Don’t know what a ‘Monal’ is?! Oh, it’s one of the most beautiful birds with extremely vibrant, and colourful plumage. If lucky, you can spot a group of ‘Monals’ happily running about. As is usual in wildlife, the male ‘Monal’ is more beautiful than the female ‘Monal’.
It’s the national bird of Uttarakhand, and hence commonly known to the locals.
Some innocent tourists who are not into ‘bird watching’, mistake the ‘Monal’ for a small peacock. 😀
5. Free Sunlight, Mood Upliftment and the Gift of time
There’s something calm about the mountains. When I visit the altitude, it settles me. Less thoughts, lesser heartbeat and no anxieties. I feel every moment passing by, and find adequate time to focus on the rivers flowing by, the surrounding sounds, the trees, the fallen leaves and myself.
For both the days that we were there, I spent 6-7 hours (probably more) out in the open, under the shining Sun. To the right of my room, there was a tall tree that had shed most of its leaves. I had read the ‘Zen’ book the day before and decided to try something that the book recommended- having a conversation with the tree. 🙂 🙂
I spent both the days with such ease that I knew right then that 2023 was going to be kickass.
Sari Village or Saari Gaon serve as a base camp for the Deoria Tal trek and is only 20 kms away from Chopta. When it snows in Chopta, many people prefer to stay in Sari Village amidst the heat, the comfort and the nature.