The entrance to Jamala Village is reminiscent of the quote ‘difficult journeys often lead to beautiful destinations’.
When I first looked at the way to Jamala village, I stared ahead of me in both horror and awe. I had never imagined people lived in villages with such arduous entrances— you did not walk to Jamala village, you climbed to it. But, at the same time, I also couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty along the path, a stone pathway intersected by tiny gentle streams and lined on both sides by beautiful green plants, ancient trees and vibrant wild flowers. The whole atmosphere is so pure, so invigorating that no wonder its residents are able to climb those steeply inclined paths with so much ease.
Our way up to the village was filled with thrills. From coming across beautiful flowers, meeting the lovely people of Jamala, to catching the first sight of a quaint Himachali house- the entire experience was exhilarating.
And the destination, in this case, was even more beautiful than the journey. As I finally climbed up to the village and caught my first sight of Jamala village, a very cliched thought entered my mind. “Ah, so this is what heaven looks like”.
Jamala Village- Bejeweled with Ancient Architecture
The village, located in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, consisted of gleaming green rolling slopes, dotted with the most beautiful houses I had ever seen. All of this with the background of majestic mountains.
The houses in Jamala village are made using the ancient traditional architectural style of kath kuni, a structure made of alternating layers of wood and stones. This layering lends stability and insulation to the houses, so as to make them more resistant to the earthquakes and harsh climatic condition which Himalayas are prone to. While the houses have a graceful antiquity about them, their entrance is decorated with fresh, brightly blooming flowers- especially vibrant red or pink roses. Some of the houses also have a rustic kitchenette with a chulha and aluminium vessels on their sides.
The Central Temple
Villages in Himachal Pradesh are isolated hamlets, a settlement of households centered around a main temple mostly devoted to a local deity. Jamala village also follows this pattern- a dignified wooden temple is the main temple of the village around which the entire village is centered.
The Friendly Residents
The population density in Kullu is very low, so the village is nearly empty. You’ll come across a few villagers as you walk through the village. They brighten the landscape with the men wearing the traditional Kullu topi and women wearing colorful headscarves. They brighten your mood further with their friendly conversations, asking with interest about where you’ve come from and proudly asking if you like their village. And along with the villagers are their domesticated animals, roaming free with careless abandon in the open fields. I came across mountain dogs, amusing roosters, serene cows and a very hyper-playful sheep!
Orchard, Orchard All Around
Another characteristic of villages of Kullu- perhaps one they share with all their national counterparts- is the presence of agricultural fields in the vicinity. In case of Jamala village, this agricultural field is an orchard of apple trees, with a picturesque narrow path passing right through it so that you can immerse yourself in the orchard’s beauty.
As if this much beauty was not enough to satisfy the local deity of the village, they also studded the ground with colorful miniscule flowering plants to ensure the ground looks as beautiful as the surroundings around it.
Further ahead of Jamala village are the meadows of Badasari. You can see the trail clearly against the backdrop of the mountains. This trail is a steep one, often rocky and difficult in spots. But it is well-worth it for the Badasari meadows gleam with sparkling streams of water and the iridescent green and purple colors of the iris flowers.
The view from the Badasari meadows is equally breathtaking. The light green meadows, dark green slopes, the grey rocks, brown soil, blue sky, white clouds and multiple hues of the mountains create a serene palette of colors.
Nestled on one side of the Badasari meadows is a cricket field where local cricket tournaments are played. Young players from local villages come together to play in these tournaments organized by the local youth council.
The meadows also have a few quaint houses, bridges and other structures which make the whole place look as picturesque as a painting.
All in all, this less explored region of Himachal is a place which is so serene and so beautiful that it reminds me of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words,
“The Earth laughs in flowers”.
Allow me to humbly add to his words,
“The Earth laughs in flowers, and smiles in the villages of Himachal”.