As if this wasn’t mouth-watering enough, they also said electricity was sporadic (and only available in the common areas), the internet almost non-existent, and we would have to walk the last few hundred meters. “There’s no road that reaches The Goat Village”
Yum, yum, yum!
Hard to reach roads and a prospect of a “digital detox holiday”! We knew this getaway to The Goat Village, deep in the Garhwal mountains of Uttarakhand, was going to be a special time.
It’s a long, and dare we say, arduous drive
We smiled. This was a definite “Welcome to the Himalayas” sign. It was us – visitors, and them – the mountain people. What to us was something extraordinary was “just another day in life” for them. We were now in the land of the people who called these mountains, home. Our favourite kind of people, our favourite kind of home.
A change of jeeps happened at Uttarkashi. We were now driving next to the river Bhagirathi, more through villages than mountains. By the time we got into the final jeep for Raithal, where this centre of The Goat Village is located, everyone knew everyone else. We were introduced to a magic jeep here. One that’s filled to capacity. There’s no place to budge. Yet, when a hand is waved at it, space is “created”. It didn’t take us too long to break this magic code – the jeep had an open-air berth! Yup, the youngsters just moved on to the top to make space for the elderly of their village – or the “outsiders” – people like us!
The Goat Village in Raithal
If we say that the 5-hour long drive, as beautiful as it had been, wasn’t tiring, we would be lying. We were, in fact, exhausted by the time we opened the gates of The Goat Village. And – now that you know we don’t lie – what stood before our eyes took our breath away. We forgot we were tired. We wanted to run with joy. Jump with excitement. Shout with delight. It was the kind of beauty that fills your heart and then pours some more. It feels like floating in what can only be called a slice of heaven.
It was probably all of it. We were travelling to the Himalayas after 4 long years. Obviously, we were excited. This was our first time in the Garhwal part of the Himalayas. There was excitement, anticipation and that now familiar feeling of not knowing what, how, where next. And then be where we were! I felt like a little girl waiting to be gifted a doll but receiving a whole dollhouse instead!
”Doing nothing” at The Goat Village
A big part of our “doing nothing” involved eating lots of fresh, organic, indigenous food. Agriculture is the focus of the Raithal centre of The Goat Village. Encourage the farmer to grow the indigenous mountain crop instead of shifting to the commercial crops and provide a marketplace for their produce. This not only preserves the “micro-culture” of the region but also makes the youth consider the option of staying back in the mountains instead of migrating to the cities. It’s a self-sustainable and eco-friendly model to generate local employment. And in the process, instil a sense of pride in the locals to continue living their traditional, and healthy, lifestyle.
It was a life well lived and “doing nothing” done right!
Top tips for visiting The Goat Village
- Getting there
- The Goat Village is located in the Garhwal mountains. You need to first get to Uttarkashi via Dehradun (like we did) or Rishikesh. Public transport in shared jeeps is available. The state transport bus also runs once a day. Visit the green people website for all the details.
- If you think you’ll be unable to walk the last mile, let the people of The Goat Village know. They can make arrangements for a horse accordingly.
- Be prepared for all kinds of weather – these are the Himalayas, after all. We went in the monsoon when the weather was pleasant. A light sweater in the night was enough. Rain jackets are a must. It can rain anytime.
- The Goat Village is operational in winter as well, when the place is covered in snow. While they can arrange for thick warm blankets, they don’t have the facility of heaters in the room. Carry enough layers and warm wear if travelling in winter.
- You can visit The Goat Village all year round.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Remember, you are in the deep Himalayas.
- The cottages are built to make you feel comfortable. They are warm and the bathrooms have running water.
- But be prepared to rough it out. Something as natural as a fallen tree branch can disrupt the water supply. Don’t let being exposed to the raw elements of nature spoil your holiday.
- Explore the local delicacies that the chefs at The Goat Village prepare with great love. You can even get some raw material back, just let them know.
- ATMs are available, but they might not work. Keep cash handy.
- A few mobile phone networks work at The Goat Village. While the intention is to “digitally detox”, maybe you need to inform someone of your whereabouts. Tell the staff at The Goat Village, they’ll be happy to help you about.
- Nothing!, farming, reading, talking. Go for walks in the village or in the forest. Talk to the locals – they are a chatty lot!
- You can explore the villages further ahead – like Barso, even Harshil, or go all the way to Gangotri (we will write about this soon!).
- A trek to the high altitude meadow of Dayara Bugyal can easily be arranged (coming soon!).
When to travel to The Goat Village
What to expect?
What to do at The Goat Village?