I always had envisioned trekking as activity reserved for people who do triathlons, or run up and down Mt Everest in an afternoon. Here in India our form of trekking means a walk in the woods. And that’s how we found ourselves one fine spring afternoon strolling through a nearby, most charming village, past the hot springs and up a gently winding path toward a waterfall.
The little village was built on a steep hillside and probably got its genesis from the hot spring and adjacent temple located in its center. Now it’s got its fair share of a multinational mix of cafes and tea stalls as well as an aging hippie or two. It seems that eating well and continuously is one of the prime activities here. Puppies and new born calves wandered about and children played a game that consisted of throwing a ball and knocking the top off small piles of stones. Women walked by carrying loads of firewood on their backs.
Beyond the village center, where the road ends, there are only narrow winding alleys with houses squeezed onto concrete terraces up and down the hillside. There are no open fields because of the very steep slope of the hillside. Therefore, each family’s cows simply live on the concrete terrace outside the family’s front door. As often as not, that concrete terrace on which the cows live also serves as the roof of the house on terrace below. All the concrete, rebars, gravel and other construction materials get carried to the construction sites on the backs of the villagers, both men and women. And all the cow manure gets removed from the village the same way.
There was always something interesting to look at as we made our way first through narrow streets, down mossy trails set next to meadows and then in the woods until the towering falls came into view. Apple and cherry trees were in bloom and bougainvillea flowed over many of the old concrete dwellings. Spring was in the air, which put a spring into our step until David decided a nap was in order.