The Himalayan mountains hide many mysteries, but one of the better-kept secrets is the village of Osla. Hidden in the Kumaon range, very far from the modern civilisation, this village will make you feel as if you have travelled back in time.
The villagers don’t believe in the modern government and do not follow its rules. They still have a king, who visits them once a month. With 250 houses and 600 residents, this village follows its own rules and customs.
It does not believe in any God other than the Kaurav brother Duryodhan. While he was one of the main villains in the Indian epic Mahabharata, he is worshipped in this strange little village. And when the king visits, the whole village gathers to offer him prayers.
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The village is the last halt for the trekkers heading to Har ki Doon. This beautiful trek takes you through some of the most panoramic passes in Uttarakhand. AndOsla adds to the charm of the trek.
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Below the village, the river Supin passes through some gushing rapids. Each home has its own cattle and goats for milk, and a small piece of land to grow potatoes and rice, which is the staple diet. When the summer arrives, all the men trek uphill to the meadows with their livestock. And spend the entire warm months there. This partly nomadic village is completely cut off from electricity and other modern amenities.
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All the buildings are wooden with some intricate carvings in some. The houses are specially designed where the family stays in the upper storey and the livestock in the lower storey. To spend a few days in these special houses is an experience in itself.
The only way to reach Osla is by foot. You have to trek 15 km from the village Taluka, which is a day’s trek from Sankri, the base village for Har ki Doon. The villagers are happy to host trekkers in their simple abodes.
If you love quaint off beaten destinations, Osla should be a priority on your bucket list.