Mussoorie has always been near the top of almost everyone’s ‘must visit’ lists. At the foothills of the Himalayan range, the popular tourist spot is also known as the Queen of the Hills.
A mere 5 kilometres away from Mussoorie is India’s very own corn village –– Sainji. Yes, you read that right, corn village! At the surface, it may seem it is called so because of the vast amounts of corn grown here, and well it is partly true, Sainji’s love for corn goes beyond just its cornfields.
Across homes and structures of this village, it is almost impossible to miss the bunches of corn hanging from every heightened point –– balconies, door arches, terraces –– you name it, and it’s adorned with corn. This began, and still remains primarily to dry them, so the seeds can be used for following harvests, but over time, the practice has come to be their identity.
The families of Sainji live a simple life –– no commercial fancies and a hearty sense of community. Agriculture and harvesting is their life, and they live it to the fullest. Modest homes with utmost comfort define their lifestyle. Sainji is not a fancy holiday destination, but if you’re looking to be grounded, understand the simpler ways of life, and wish to truly understand the integration of nature and community, this quaint village is where you must come.
If you happen to visit in June, even though the best time to go is from September to December, you might just catch the villagers preparing for the Maund Mela. It is a fish-catching festival where they first crush the bark of the Timru tree to sprinkle it into the Aglar rivulet. The powder is meant to intoxicate the fish and make them easier to catch.
To have a fulfilling experience at Sainji, ensure you indulge in conversation with the locals, try their makki-di-roti (of course) with chutney, and allow yourself to slow down in an otherwise rapid life.
While Mussoorie certainly makes for a relaxing and sought-after vacation spot, take a day off to connect to India’s roots through villages like Sainji. The inhabitants’ amicable nature is sure to encourage you to do so, and of course, do not forget, you may not be able find copious amounts of corn hanging from homes anywhere else!
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