Ever wondered about how it would be, to leave everything urban behind and take off into the arms of nature? Ever wondered how different it would be to wake up to the call of a rooster instead of the monotonous beep of the alarm clock? Ever wondered what milk looks like before our dear milkman goes chemistry professor on it? Ever made a note about wanting to live in a farm after retirement?
Well, you can experience all of it and don’t even have to retire! A farmstay vacation is a delightful way to spend a few days away from the maddening pressures of our city lives. They are very popular with travelers especially families who want a peaceful yet fun and educational way to spend their time off of work.
What is farmstay?
Farmstay vacations are generally styled after the age old bed and breakfast routine. They involve comfortable lodging with handmade quilts and simple yet innovative farm decor, generous food portions and highly affordable rates. The best part is, you don’t have to be there for the whole vacation. One can stay in the farm for how many ever days they wish to; be it less or more. It is hence very easy to get hooked to farm living once you have experienced it.
Although this concept is just catching on in India, there are plenty of farms that have already thrown open their gates for vacationers.
Sangla Valley in Himachal is home to one of the coziest home stays in the country. ‘The Apple Orchard Farm and Camping’ is situated in one of the most picturesque locations in the country. Nestled in the nature-kissed valley of the majestic Kinner Kailash range of the Himalayas, the farm is spread across fiveBighas (1 Acre) of apple orchards and provides 10 tents for accommodation. Run by a friendly family, its clean environs and proximity to nature couples up to make it an amazing stay.
And if you think that was it, you will be proved wrong as the fresh water of the nearby Baspa River is perfect for trout fishing. So if you want to take a stroll down the valley and camp in peace, this is the place to be! All this for just Rs. 1500/- a head.
The most important factor that makes a farm stay stand out is the affection and the kind of treatment that is given to the vacationers.
We always imagine a plump but happy-go-lucky grandmother figure and a cute little grandpa who wears suspenders when we imagine a nice cozy farm home. We often wonder if that is how farm families are and we won’t be disappointed as hosts at the farm are generally kind hearted people with a lot to speak about. They might not necessarily be old and brewing porridge all the time, but they always have great insight when it comes to educating children around the farm. For kids who have never been around farm animals, this could be a great opportunity to learn the knick knacks of farm life and about how items of their daily need take shape at the source.
Jyani Natural Farm in Fazilka in Punjab is among those places that let to taste farm life one on one. Agriculturalist and social worker Vinod Jiyani started farmstays in his property so that his guests can walk in any time and experience the rich country life of Punjab. Awarded the Organic Man of the Year 2010 award, he makes sure his guests get as close to country living as possible.
Spread across 130 acres of land, this farm produces many an organic product. Citrus, Guava, Grapes, Blackberry, Banana, you name it and they grow it in their fifty-acre fruit plantation. Housing over forty cows, their dairy farm is another delight to visit. Activities like horse riding, tractor rides, bullock cart rides and much more is offered at Rs. 2,300/- per night!
Among the things that we learn in the farm are the many ways to relax. Nothing can be as relaxing as lying outdoors on a cot and basking in the sun during a cold winter day or listening to birds chirping while sit by the brook. Being there, one tends to realise how blissful life without technology can actually be.
Be a farm hand!
When you speak about living in a farm, the first thing that comes to mind is the chores.
Working in the farm is not mandatory but one can volunteer to collect eggs, milk, fruits, take a dip in the pond with the farm animals, dig up a ditch for farm purposes, feeding baby farm animals etc. By the end of the day, the physical work, although not very tough works up a great appetite which is invariably satisfied by the organic food that is served.
The kids will have a blast as they can stay out as long as they wish to; something they cannot do in the city. Most of all, the lessons they learn living in a simplistic manner – do not waste anything, recycle, and reuse, compassion to other beings, attention to detail (yes! It’s not an easy job to run a farm) and many more- will be invaluable. Everything present in these farms is put to some use or the other!
Those who stay in these farms generally take a part of the lifestyle when they leave. The farm owners generally become friends for life for as the years go by, you end up visiting them every once in a while. The extended family experience is nothing but rewarding. How often do you get to go for a vacation and make friends for life? It is one of those things you wouldn’t want to miss out…
It’s a whole new dimension to a vacation and is nothing short of enthralling to experience it. So the next time you decide on a vacation, try adding this in your list. Befriend a few hens, feed a few new born piglets, get to know your world better… There is lot more to a farm than food grains and cow dung!
Located 130 Kms from Chandigarh, this sprawling 75 acre farm offers a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city’s pace. Activities include Jungle safaris, trips to dairy farms, visiting the nearby handicrafts bazaar and much more.
Located in 6 Kms from Madikeri in Karnataka, BB estate is a farm land located at a panoramic location. Here, one can easily get addicted to waking up to the smell of the coffee plantations on the dew strewn mountains on misty mornings. Key attractions include wild life safari, trekking and angling. The list does not end here.
Situated 240 Kms from Bangalore, The Elephant Corridor is a plantation home stay nestled in the midst of a 20 acre farm which grows coffee, pepper, oranges etc. It derives its name from the fact that it is located right adjacent to the trail the pachyderms follow to travel. It is also close to an elephant farm where one can bathe feed and pet a few elephants that come to bathe at the waterfall.
Located 26 Kms from Chandigarh, Deep Roots Retreat is a cozy farm in Punjab’s countryside situated within the boundaries of Mango and Guava orchards. Peacocks stroll about in the Mango orchards and numerous birds break the silence with their chirps. The tranquil one can experience here is almost unparalleled. Their history tours are abundant with details of Punjab’s valiant history and one always wants to know more!