The golden hues of the Corn Village of Sainji

The houses of the Corn Village have a unique decor
Image courtesy: ©Ami Bhat

If you are ever in Mussoorie and looking for something out of the ordinary, then just hop into a car and drive out towards Kempty Falls. Go past it on the road that leads to Yamunotri. When you see the Garhwal English School, just turn right. You will arrive at a unique village that seems to glitter in gold. Welcome to the Corn Village of Sainji.

Unique décor of the Corn Village

Amid the green terrace farms are cute little homes that are decorated with bundles of corn. The doorways, the sloping roofs and the windows of the simple homes look quite elegant with these corn cobs. The villagers do this for dual reasons – one being the décor and the other being an ideal way of drying the crop for the next season.

During the harvest season, the village glitters even more with the surrounding fields enhancing the homes which have been rebuilt over time and are typical of a small doorway to keep out thieves. The interiors are devoid of furniture and the open space is used to put mattresses for the family to sleep.

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Life in the Corn Village

It’s a small village with just 35-40 families staying in it. Agriculture is the main occupation here and naturally, corn is the chief crop grown. Post the harvest the villagers sow other crops like potatoes and French beans in the empty fields.

Old ladies with hookahs and young ones winnowing the grains are common sights that you will see when you walk around the village.

Be prepared to be invited into the warm homes for a cup of tea. If you are here around lunch time, you are likely to be in for a treat. The piping hot corn rotis with some lip-smacking chutney made on earthen stoves is one meal that you can only enjoy here.

Festivals of the village

The village festivals are a time for not just the families of this village but the surrounding few too to come together and celebrate with gusto. Diwali is definitely one of the biggest. However, this falls a month later than when the rest of India celebrates it.

One unusual festival that this village celebrates is called Maund. It is an annual fishing festival that takes place in June. Two weeks before the festival, a natural powder made from the plant Timru is scattered in the river Yamuna that flows near the village. This causes the fish to come to the surface. On the day of the festival, the villagers come in to catch as many fish as they can.

There are many resorts in Mussoorie that have adopted the village and organize tours here. Alternately, you can drive here yourself and enjoy the fresh and fun atmosphere of the village. Though the villagers never ask for anything, it is a good idea to show your appreciation in case you opt for one of their home meals.