The corn village of Bhatoli is very near Mussoorie and one can reach here by road easily. A perfect day trip with family or alone, the minute you set foot in this village, you will be amazed at how colourful and clean it is. The houses are painted in bright hues but what strikes the eyes immediately is the rows are rows of ripe corn hanging from these houses. The brilliant yellow of the corn against the colourful exterior of these houses and the lush greenery all around, especially during the monsoons, paints a picture one cannot easily forget. This is only made more vivid by the boldly coloured sarees that the women of this village wear.
Being the primary bread winners (something we regularly seem to find in traditional mountain villages), the women are everywhere, going about their daily tasks. Chances are, you will also be called into one of the homes by them and invited to lunch with them. The houses are made of wood, a produce of the mountains, with very low doors to deter thieves from entering. The doors are ornately crafted and look hundreds of years old. Although most locals are now turning to pucca houses made of brick and mortar, nothing can replace the old-worldly charm of these traditional houses. As you sit inside one of the houses marvelling at it, you will be served the staple meal of makke ki roti (corn flour bread) and walnut chutney. The meal is simple and delicious and it is easy to see that corn is the staple crop here.
Lines of step-farms lie beyond the houses and post-harvest, they are used in various forms. The ripe corns are hung outside the homes to dry, so they can be ground into flour. This is also considered a status symbol as more the amount of corn displayed, the wealthier the family is supposed to be.
The village is a small one, with limited residents and houses. However, the experience is a delightful one. As you navigate through the spotlessly clean streets of the village and imbibe the simple and laid-back vibe, you will realise that the mountains are really what our hectic lives need. Taking kids along on this day trip is also a great life lesson for them without the hassle of an arduous journey. Take loads of pictures against the vibrant background and create memories of a place that is seemingly lost in time.
Our client, Chetan Panchal, had this to say about his experience to Bhatoli :
Wanting the kids to step out of the luxuries of the Marriot – Mussorie we decided to visit the Bhatoli village which is 22 km away from the hotel.
The kids were apprehensive about the experience but once we entered the village, the warmth of the simple life and the hospitality of our hosts swept us away and we felt like we were coming home from a vacation.
Unwind Outdoor once again had organised this experience for us, and we thank him and our hosts for letting us into their homes and for cooking a meal for us.
Thank you very much to you and your team for arranging this fantastic tour. One of the best pick from this tour was your meticulous planning and promptness of service. All arrangements were fantastic, be it a delivery of vehicle at Chandigarh airport, hotels particularly at Chandigarh, Leh, Nubra, Pangong. However the best was at Jispa, Kargil and Srinagar for different reasons. Jispa was simple but authentic with very tasty food.
Rajesh & Gauri Natu
Graphic Designer, Apple
Sunil, after I ran 21k Marathon I bragged about it for years. The same is being repeated again, with my ambition to drive across the Himalayas, which was almost faded with Srinagar under curfew. You and Chetan were the spark to our fire that we could do this drive and without a single trouble. Driving is a passion but driving thru places where there are no roads is trouble, but your breakup of program and awesome car condition helped us actually sail thru. Three cheers and five stars.
Absolute Networks, Mumbai
Wow. wow, wow. What a experience! We took the route of Delhi - Jammu - Srinagar - Leh - Sarchu - Manali - Delhi. Sunil Kapoor gave us excellent service which includes his next to new 4WD in immaculate condition and all hotels were top class. Coming from Australia, we were bit nervous in start but when we met Sunil, we had full trust and all went very positive. Sunil gave us perfect instructions and everything was according to plan. Thank you Sunil and your team for our one of the best experience in life you have provided us.
Director, Webential, Australia
Eight of us from Sri Lanka got Sunil to arrange a self driven tour to Leh and we are very happy with our decision. He was punctual, trustworthy and met our expectations. The service provided was very professional. As foreigners it’s hard to arrange such a tour by ourselves and Unwind outdoor filled in the gap perfectly. All places we stayed were nice and decent. Should specifically mention about the two Scorpios which we instantly fell in love with. They were very well maintained ...
Friends from SriLanka
After days of research, we finally came across a facebook page called ‘Unwind Outdoors’. It seemed like our dream was going to be finally true. Very reasonably priced and Sunil from Unwind was like a know-it-all person.
The itinerary was so crisp and so very well laid out that there was no reason for us to worry other than coping up with nature’s fury.
Clifford Chance, Delhi
We did a SUV self drive trip from Chandigarh to Ladakh and back organized by Unwind Outdoor.
Highly recommend Unwind Outdoor as Sunil and Manpreet took care of everything we needed (car, hotel bookings, sightseeing and food recommendations, permits) and everything was organized seamlessly. Sunil was very patient with all our queries, giving suggestions and options to suit our preferences.
Ashish & Neha Thadani
Great to see the know-how of the Unwind Outdoor team regarding every aspect of the Srinagar - Leh - Chandigarh self drive trip. From weather conditions, to road conditions, to health/clothing requirements, and also driving instructions - Sunil and Manpreet are warm, meticulous and knowledgable. Villa Himalaya in Sonamarg surpassed all our expectations and ensured that our expected standards for the rest of the trip were extremely high.
Symbiosis Law School, Mumbai
Thanks Sunil for arranging a wonderful trip. Everything went well and we were in good hands with friendly and competent drivers. Accommodation was good and tents were comfortable beyond our expectations. We didn't have problem with food choices. It was a totally rejuvenating vacation and experience for us. Thanks from us in Singapore!
We had an amazing 9-day from Manali to Leh. Serene, breathless and picturesque. High altitude sickness was a big issue for us but we were in good hands.
Unwind Outdoor was superb in arranging and coordinating the trip. Taking care of all arrangements and checking-in on us. Kudos to Sunil and his team.
Assistant Director, Jurong Town Corporation, Singapore
We travelled as a couple & completed a self drive trip from Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Nubra-Pangong-Tso Moriri-Sarchu-Manali-Delhi. Itinerary was meticulously designed to be a mix of adventure and comfort. Hotel choices were best. Support was available at all points in case of emergency.Vehicle provided was top notch. Thanks to Mr. Sunil Kapoor for personally putting in efforts to maintain such high standards.
Nikhil & Neha Mazumdar
Manager L&T, Mumbai
Six of us (two families) travelled to Leh in Jul / Aug 2015 and we had an excellent experience with Unwind Outdoor. From the very beginning of our excited planning phase, Sunil has been willingly suggesting us options, number of days, places to visit etc. He has all the knowledge of the terrain, passionate about trekking and traveling himself, so he understands travel-crazy people such as me and my quirks.
We landed in Leh in time for cloudbursts and flashfloods and landslides (along with mud and rocks sliding too). Despite Nature's fury, Sunil and Skarma made sure we were utmost safe and comfortable. These guys are just not into travel business, they help people fulfil their travel dreams. Truly! Go guys!!
Barclays Bank, Bangalore