This post is a photo story of a unique village – Saur in Tehri district of Uttarakhand that lies in Garhwal Himalaya.
What was once a village with more than 2000 souls, in the present day there are only 12 homes occupied by families while the other dwellings around them crumble. Saur village (a 400 year old habitation) sometimes resembles a ghost village with the majority of the old houses unoccupied amid overgrowth of greenery; the unexpected sight of these vibrant painted homes is a welcome surprise.
Saur is set in a valley riddled with streams amidst pine and chir forests and is surrounded by mountains. Since the village is a bit off the main road, the blissful sounds of birdsong and the rustling of pines is interrupted very rarely by a moving vehicle.
These frescoes here were painted under the Wise Wall Project and are an astonishing and valuable collection of folk tales, village anecdotes and community knowledge.
Every mural painted on the houses of Saur village is unique; but none more so than the tiger mural; which is spread across five houses. In fact, I was only able to spot it when I saw the houses from a considerable distance. To hear the folk tale behind the classic mural, the best way is to hear it from one of the villagers itself.
The festivities of the bride’s wedding family are depicted poignantly in these paintings. Weddings in Garhwal are a boisterous affair and are attended by the entire village dressed in their finery.
I was a bit disheartened to notice that a majority of the houses of the village were unoccupied and roofs of a few homes had started caving in with the vagaries of nature.
It is possible to experience the true joys of village life in Saur as one of the original inhabitants of the village has restored an old house and converted it into a homestay / heritage stay. The restoration has been done keeping in mind the traditional construction methods and aesthetics so that the house has a charming and rustic feel, with all the modern comforts.
Good to Know
If you are thinking of making a trip to Saur; the distance from Delhi to Saur Village – 315 Kms and the distance from Dehradun to Saur Village – 100 Kms.
Did you know / ever heard of this mountain village, Saur?
P.S : I was in Saur on assignment.
17 Comments Add yours
Wow, this is just amazing! How wonderfully the villagers have expressed their stories and their lives! I feel inspired to paint the walls of my house now. Though it’s sad that the houses are crumbling and abandoned. Can’t the state government declare it a heritage site?
So glad you liked checking it out! The Project Fuel guys have really done a wonderful job in collecting and then narrating the stories of the villagers in the form of lucid murals. Its a sorry state of affairs in Uttarakhand; particularly the Garhwal region where the number of ghost villages keeps increasing as more and more locals move to the cities in search of livelihood options for a so called better standard of living.
It’s the same all over the country, maybe all over by the world. We also see a very small reverse migration happening, but I don’t know if it’s a real thing, or a good thing. So many of us migrants are rootless! My husband and I, being retired, are trying to put down roots, but we need to withdraw that one toehold we have in the city.
It’s so great that you have recorded these murals for posterity, Shubham.
I am glad that the heritage homestay guys invited me to visit Saur village for an assignment; that said I’d be happy to visit the place again and report on the changes (if any). Hope you guys are well, Aliza. Always nice to hear from you.
This is such a nice, pleasant read, Shubham… thank you for coloring up our moods 🙂
Hehe, so happy to read this! Thanks for the heads up.
Wonderful work. Just wished drop a remark and say I am new to your diary and revere what I’m perusing. A debt of gratitude is in order for the offer
You are very kind, thanks!
This is first time I have heard name Saur village. I didn’t know that such beautiful village exists in UK! hanks for sharing these pictures and information, Shubham.
Thanks Arvind bhai! This was a long pending post, glad that I was finally able to publish it.
Thought of a village of ancient time, and make it as hereitage one is realy 👍. I had a chance many States to visit Nagaland few different rural areas of 3 districts, I asked the people there they have so good healthy green nature well managed and clean why they are not developing these beautiful area as tourist attractions with a good rural connectivity roads. This will improve the exchequer of state.
I believe in save heritage and sour village did it unbelievable painting.
It would be really awesome if each place could develop their own unique ideas and promote the destination to attract tourism that ultimately benefits the locals.
This is excellent shubham. A great example and perhaps this shud be done in many other villages of Uttarakhand which has the same story of mass outward migration. Appreciate your work there.
Thank SJ. I really hope with the wealth of cultural heritage that Uttarakhand has, we find a way to salvage it and transform a way for tourism to benefit the locals.
Great Blog post. Really exciting. Keep up the good work.
Many thanks, Dhruv.