View from The farms of the Upper Neahi village in Sainj valley

A Hidden Village In Sainj Valley That Sits By The Pundrik Rishi Lake

How often do you happen to drop by at a place that literally takes you back in time, or for that matter slows down the pace at which things move otherwise for you? The Great Himalayan National Park in the Sainj Valley nests in it villages that have kept their centuries-old cultures and traditions pretty intact – so much so that the villages still rely on barter and exchange of goods and services for their livelihood and sustainability. While most of the villages are hard to reach, the Upper Neahi Village can be reached after a half an hour trek from Ropa – the last motorable point.

An aerial view of a village in Sainj Valley
View of the Upper Neahi Village in Sainj Valley

The village sits beside the sacred Pundrik Rishi Lake. The lake used to be a paddy field until cultivation stopped in the 11th century, as legends have it, after a brawl between the local deities. The stunning lake is a marvel to watch in all different seasons as its color changes every 4 months—thanks to the grass that grows over it.

Pundrik Rishi Lake in Sainj Valley changes its color with season
Pundrik Rishi Lake during the Monsoon

In the golden haze of summers, the rains bring in fluorescence, while the winters adorn the lake with terraces of snow. All of it looks even more like a dream with a quaint backdrop — a tree island on the left, a wild forest on the right and mountains watching over from all sides.

A traditional Hmachali home in Sainj Valley
The village has houses as old as 11th century

Upper Neahi is home to houses as old as the 11th century. Made from Deodar borrowed of the dead trees from the National Park, almost all the houses in this village are tremor-proof and have survived some severe earthquake in the 1930s. The houses have their own mystical presence and the people are no different. You would easily come across 100-year-olds in the village and what follows is a streak of stories unimaginable!

An old woman in the Upper Neahi Village of Sainj Valley
Daddi would bless you roll and has stories from a century ago.

Apart from the cultural heritage that this village would expose you to, several waterfalls and treks from Upper Neahi Village offer you experiences and vistas to cherish for life.

The nearby Waterfall which used to be the cremation ground for the villagers

There is wildlife as rich and intense as it can get and mountains that yield you some of the most rarely found ayurvedic herbs.

Sunset in Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park as seen from Bawray Banjaray Home in Neahi Village

You can trek through the GHNP making Upper Neahi as your base. Some of the one-day treks include a trek to the Sarikanda Thatch from where you get to see an entire Banjar Valley and to Shangarh Meadow.

Villagers camping with Bawray Banjaray at Sarikanda Thatch

Check Out: Shangarh Meadow – The Home Of Sangchul Mahadev | Photo Blog

The skies would expose you to their true vistas on a clear night while the waterfalls around will be the best hangout spots you have ever chilled out at.

Festival in a village of Sainj Valley
Gurthe messenger of God for the villagers in action during a festival

What gives Sainj Valley its unique identity is not just how its people have opened their hearts and homes for travelers but its traditions that are as old as the Mahabharata itself!

A farmer working on his crops in Sainj Valley
However, the lower reaches of the region have got access to all modern amenities

The residents of the villages at higher altitudes have kept themselves from the outside world, some homestays have access to gharaats (the flour grinder powered by water and run on stones) and most interestingly, a lot of transactions are still bartered!

A weaver in Sainj Valley
She is weaving a Pattu – the famous Kulluvi shawl, takes almost 6 months for her to craft a fine one.

How To Reach Upper Neahi Village

From Sainj Market, a bus leaves at 11 am in the morning for Dehuri. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi for INR 800 or try hitchhiking. Shared taxis are also among the options to explore. A direct taxi from Aut to Dehuri would cost INR 1800. From Dehuri, the Village is half an hour hike.

Temple In Dehuri, hosts several large scale annual festivals

Best Time To Visit Sainj Valley

Monsoon, we recommend. One can come anytime as the village is easily reachable even during the snow!

Stay Options: BAWRAY BANJARAY HOME, Jhilli Neahi Village.

So this was pretty much a fine summary to help you know the village. We did have a travelogue of our first interactions with the valley and the village, but we lost it to a website glitch. Below, is a further sneak peek into the village. Take a look:

Women in Sainj Valley
Breastfeeding is not a taboo in this village!
People of Upper Neahi Village in Sainj Valley
People are cheerful, welcoming. They would actually care for your food and whereabouts during your stay.
Camping Stite Upper Neahi Village
That’s where we usually camp! It’s an island, of trees!
Waterfall in Sainj Valley
Our usual hangout spot in the village
Villagers are very cheerful and interactive.
Full of warmth and stories!

And here is a little bit from our social handles – photos from the moments we interacted with the village.

Suggested Read: Shangarh – The Picnic Land Of Kullavi Mythology

View this post on Instagram

आ गया है एक और सोमवार और समय है इस हफ़्ते के #bawraybanjarayguide का। आज हम आपको लिए चलते हैं हिमाचल प्रदेश की सैंज घाटी के एक गाँव न्याहि में। . How often do you happen to drop by at a place that literally takes you back in time, or for that matter slows down the pace at which things move otherwise for you? The Great Himalayan National Park nests in it villlages that have kept their centuries old cultures and traditions pretty intact – so much so that the villages still rely on barter and exchange of goods and services for their livelihood and sustainablity. While most of the villages are hard to reach, the Uppar Neahi Village can be reached after a half an hour trek from Ropa – the last motorable point. . The village sits beside the sacred Pundrik Rishi Lake which was once that paddy harvest source for the village. The lake changes its colors with seasons. Apart from the cultural heritage that this village would expose you to, several waterfalls and treks from Upper Neahi Village offer you experiences and vistas to cherish for life. There are houses as old as 11th century, wildlife as rich and intense as it can get, and mountains that yield you some of the most rarely found ayurvedic herbs. . You can trek through the GHNP making Upper Neahi as your base. One of the one day treks include trek to the Sarikanda Thatch from where you get to see an entire Banjar Valley. The skies would expose you to their true vistas on a clear night (photo 1) while the waterfalls around (photo 2) will be the best hangout spots you have ever chilled out at. STAY Options: BAWRAY BANJARAY HOME, Jhilli Neahi Village. More info on how to reach and what to see in the comments. #sainj #sainjvalley #himachaltourism #hrtc #villagesofindia #culture #mountainculture #explore #offbeat #stars #milkyway #astrophotography #yoga #waterfall #hiddenvillages #kullu #himalayas #nightsky #skyporn #moi #backpacking #backpack #wander #wanderlust #travel #explore #travelblog #travelphotography #monday

A post shared by बawray बanjaray (@bawraybanjaray) on

View this post on Instagram

ना ही तो ये हैवंस गेट है और ना ही हम उसे ढूँढते फिरते हैं कहीं। ये तो वो नक़्शे पर जो हिमालय क्रेसेंट की लकीर है जो छप गयी है कहीं अंदर भी, जिससे फ़ोटोज़ में खिंचते फिरते हैं हम हर कहीं। शुक्रिया @salonibhatia12 फ़ोटो ज़बरदस्त है ।😄 #bawraybanjaray. #thehimalaya #himalayanmountains #moutainhouse #himalayanvillage #himachal #himachalpictures #himalayasofindia #indiantraveller #indiantravelgram #indiantravelsquad #indiantravelblogger #indiantravellers #travellersofindia #nomadsofindia #travellikealocal #travellifelove #nomadtravel #highonhimalayas #himachaltourism #instahimachal #himachalgram #himachalstories #himachaldiaries #travelinggram #jannatehimachal

A post shared by बawray बanjaray (@bawraybanjaray) on

We would keep updating this page from our social media feed. Also, to know more about places to visit in Sainj valley, ask us questions in the comment section.

Facebook Comments