Nestled atop the pristine Kumaoni village of Salla-Rautela near Shitlakhet is Nayalap. The property includes luxuriously cozy tents set up in a clearing surrounded by oak and rhododendron trees. The Shitlakhet soundscape is such that the mornings and nights are so quiet that the wind rustling the pine needles sounds almost like ocean waves.
On a windy day, you can hear the wind before you feel it, and the quiet of the night is only broken by a faint sound of the village dogs barking, or the faint banging of the metal utensils that the villagers use to keep away the animals from their small patches of vegetables. The clear night sky is host to a dazzling array of stars, which mirrors the lights of Almora that are visible on the distant horizon on the ground. The summer night is often punctuated by the sound of some bird which chirps away, whose name is a mystery for an accomplished birder to solve!
The mornings are a host of different sounds, starting with the black birds known as the thrush, scurrying around looking for acorns. The village slowly waking up, and the cattle going to graze. And then the faraway sounds of the school children singing. If it is quiet you are after, then in Nayalap
your own thoughts would seem like noise after a while. To be able to soak in such calm is definitely meant for the sages that Kumaon has had a history of being home too, and each moment spent here ingeminates its name as ‘dev bhoomi’!