This post is a photo story of a unique village – Saur in Tehri district of Uttarakhand that lies in Garhwal Himalaya.
A ‘painted mountain village’ – Saur has murals painted on the walls of village homes.
What was once a village with more than 2000 souls, in the present day there are only 12 homes occupied by families while the other dwellings around them crumble. Saur village (a 400 year old habitation) sometimes resembles a ghost village with the majority of the old houses unoccupied amid overgrowth of greenery; the unexpected sight of these vibrant painted homes is a welcome surprise.
Saur is set in a valley riddled with streams amidst pine and chir forests and is surrounded by mountains. Since the village is a bit off the main road, the blissful sounds of birdsong and the rustling of pines is interrupted very rarely by a moving vehicle.
These frescoes here were painted under the Wise Wall Project and are an astonishing and valuable collection of folk tales, village anecdotes and community knowledge.
Every mural painted on the houses of Saur village is unique; but none more so than the tiger mural; which is spread across five houses. In fact, I was only able to spot it when I saw the houses from a considerable distance. To hear the folk tale behind the classic mural, the best way is to hear it from one of the villagers itself.
The festivities of the bride’s wedding family are depicted poignantly in these paintings. Weddings in Garhwal are a boisterous affair and are attended by the entire village dressed in their finery.
I was a bit disheartened to notice that a majority of the houses of the village were unoccupied and roofs of a few homes had started caving in with the vagaries of nature.
It is possible to experience the true joys of village life in Saur as one of the original inhabitants of the village has restored an old house and converted it into a homestay / heritage stay. The restoration has been done keeping in mind the traditional construction methods and aesthetics so that the house has a charming and rustic feel, with all the modern comforts.
Good to Know
If you are thinking of making a trip to Saur; the distance from Delhi to Saur Village – 315 Kms and the distance from Dehradun to Saur Village – 100 Kms.