Bitten by the travel bug, at some point, we all have thought to leave the urban-lifestyle for mountains. Just the idea of staying amidst those windy hills, a view to kill for and a hot cup of tea has lured us for years and years.
So meet this 83-year-old woman, who has been doing just that.
This is Chatri Devi, who’s been living in the Great Himalayan National Park alone, all by herself.
She doesn’t have electricity or a phone. She doesn’t even possess a clock and calculates time by the following the sun. This seclusion, complete isolation and wild animals do not scare her at all.
Leopards and black bears do come near my house, even with their cubs, but they never attacked me as I am not their prey. Why should I be afraid of them? They go on their way (pointing towards a thick forest adjoining her house), she says.
Great Himalayan National Park
Home to immense flora and fauna, the Great National Himalayan Park that is recognised by UNESCO for its incredibly rich bio-diversity.
The park is 754 square kilometres big, has 31 mammal species including leopards, the Himalayan black and brown bear, and the ghost cat – snow leopards.
It also has over 300 bird species, reptiles, hundreds of insect species amid rich Himalayan flora and fauna.
Chatri is not a loner and comes from a big family, which stays outside the park. To reach them, it takes near about 2 hours, but she is fine with living alone in there.
She is inseparable with the house and the only reason why she is sticking around is because she built it with her husband decades ago and a small piece of farmland where the couple grew wheat, barley, potato, corn and rajma.
The area was declared as GHNP in 1999 and she is the only person who refused to leave. When asked if she gets bored here in the park, an elated Chattri said –
‘These birds and animals are also part of my family. Every winter ‘jujuranas’ or western tragopans and gorals descend here. So I enjoy watching them.’
The woman is a remarkable example of how humans can still live in an area, governed by animals and not harm them for selfish motives.
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