a walk on the ridge

Badadhar hike

Badadhar is a trail that leads you to a village named Chanson, about 4km from khetiyo. The hike is fairly uphill, but is through dense jungle. You will be shielded from the sun for the most part and the natural springs ensure that you dont really have to carry any water with you. Although the villagers do this hike in about an hour and a half, for the untrained traveller, it could ake close to 3 hrs. This could also be coupled with birding and wildlife spotting along the way. There are plenty of spots along this route, where a quick table can be set up for the guests to just relax to some hot chai while staring at the stunning vistas. Once you reach Chamsen, you ll be greeted by one of the residents there and a sumptuous garhwali lunch awaits you.

The local specialities like Ringora (a leafy vegetable that grows in the 2 months of monsoon),Chuu ( a pink mushroom thats found only this belt right after the monsoon). The giant cucumbers are another attraction here in the winters. A single cucumber can fill the stomachs of two hungry grown men.

You are free to explore the village, interact with the villagers (most of whom know hindi). The village sits at a fair height and gives you an overview of the southern edge of the Corbett national park. Chamsen is known for its bagpipers. Interestingly, bagpipes are an integral part of the culture here – perhaps a remnant from the days of the raj. All weddings in the surrounding villages are incomplete without a chamseni bagpipe. You can even learn how to play the bagpipe.

Chamsen also has a junior school and a high school. Interested guests can interact with the children. One can even take a interactive 1hr class with the kids who are otherwise shielded from the happenings outside the area.

A volleyball match can also be arranged at an extra cost (which can be recovered as garhwalis only play when there s money at stake). Some of the months have tournaments going on between the villages that are fiercely contested. If guests are visiting during those times, they could take part in that as well. The guests can choose to stay back the night at chamsen where they can sleep under the stars on comfortable charpoys or inside a gharwali home under slate roofs. Otherwise, the way back would be by road to Luthiya and an hour’s hike back to Khetiyo. Most of the path is in shade.

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