Stay at Shepherd’s in Sutol

The shepherd’s wife cook dinner in her Sutol home in Garhwal Himalayas.
The shepherd’s wife cook dinner in her Sutol home.


On September 4, 2014, reluctance bruised expectations. Sutol was reluctant to spare a bed or a room for visitors because the Himalayan village was expecting the relatives who wanted to experience Nanda Raj Jat. My expectations of getting a bed for a night in one of local establishments- a house, dhaba, or lodge- therefore fell flat.

I stopped looking for a bed for a while. Then my porter and I tried again with different people. And re-requests healed the expectations.

A shepherd agreed to provide a bed and a meal for INR 500 per night, per person.  The simple small house was covered with mud at the ground floor. The first floor had a spacious room with wooden and mud work. It had one bed that was bigger than a standard single bed but shorter than the standard double bed. It was clean.  It was sufficient for one person. There was no other furniture except two-three shelves in the walls. The house did not have a washroom either.

The shepherd’s wife cooked food on traditional earthen stove using wood fire. She had just three guests who did not sleep in the house. Actually most of the people were up almost whole night watching the performances. The young playful daughter of the shepherd amused everyone with her attempts to be photographed and re-photographed. The wife cooked simple spicy dinner from potatoes, rajma beans, and refined flour.

Everyone thereafter walked to the performance venue and enjoyed the folk presentations. But I could not sit through the performances more than two hours. I returned and reposed against the closed door until my host returned in the morning but much before sunrise. Then the host allowed me to sleep in the top floor room.

Desperate knocks at the door killed brief deep sleep of 3-4 hours. I jumped out of bed. The open door showed me the bright morning sun. I got ready, paid, and left. Gratitude for the energizing sleep grew. I began the bumpy jeep and public bus ride to Karanprayag around 8 am.

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