“Would you like to buy some handmade woolen items?” She called out, as I strolled the tiny Buddhist village of Bagori near Harshil. Most houses around me were beautiful, old, and wooden, and were locked, so I was a little startled by the call.
Suggested read: Harshil: The Charming Himalayan Valley
I followed the voice, it led to a kind face looking at me over a low wooden door that was still closed. She was holding some very colorful hand-woven socks and hats in both her hands. I smiled back but politely refused the offer, to which she said, “no problem, come, have tea with us and I can also show you our apple gardens”. I thought over for a second and accepted the invitation, for I would know, see and hear more things by interacting with a local than by walking around on my own. She opened the tiny wooden door to her house and welcomed me to share a few moments of her life in that pretty Himalayan hamlet.
Behind a small front yard stood a beautiful, wooden, ancestral house of about 100 yrs old! I walked around feeling glad about accepting the invite. She then showed me her house and made some black tea for us. She told me there was no milk and sugar (I was totally okay with that, in fact, I prefer it that way esp. on travels) in the house as they were just back a few days ago and were still settling in. The entire village migrates to lower altitudes during the bitter winters (which is why most of the houses were locked, their owners were yet to come). It snows quite heavily in winters, depositing over 10 feet of snow! Her family too migrates to another village near Uttarkashi.
Also read: Harshil to Mukhba: A Leisure Hike
We chatted over the tea, she asking me the usual questions an outsider/visitor is asked. I was keen to know as much as I could about the place, their life, but of course, I couldn’t ask it all at once. So I just let the conversation take its own course. She then showed me her apple orchard, in the pic, we are at their apple orchard, and next to me is she with her husband.
I ended up purchasing a winter hat for mom, alright (which she absolutely loved), it hardly cost me anything. It is also a good way to support the local economy and the hard work of these simple mountain people. We chatted some more, clicked some more pictures (and selfies). When I was finally ready to leave, (after spending more than half an hour, I think) she said, “if you are free in the evening, join us for dinner”.