When you travel, you only want the best experience. So why choose a boxed up and regular hotel room when you can breathe fresh air in an expanse of open fields? Farmstays in India are on the rise, bringing back an organic way of living. They are giving us an escape and suggesting an alternative to an unhealthy urban lifestyle. Moreover, farmstays let us reconnect with nature, encouraging activities we would normally never do— like milking a cow, walking through orchards, riding a tractor, and more. Farmstays in India gives us a peek into our agricultural economy and the lives of the farmers who drive it. All of us cannot escape our city lives on weekdays, but on weekends and holidays we can make sure the smoke we see comes from a bonfire and not a vehicle.
Must-Visit Farmstays In India
1. In A Cottage And Around A Forest: Rainforest Retreat At Mojo Plantation, Karnataka
Located in the Kodagu district of Karnataka, the farmstay gets heavy rainfall and is surrounded by a forest. This results in the plantation being populated with a lot of trees and water bodies like streams. This also contributes to creating a green and fresh atmosphere and giving the organic produce distinctive flavours. Their organic farms are certified and they strictly follow sustainable farming. There are three different types of cottages, each priced differently, and you can choose among them keeping your budget in mind. All the cottages are surrounded by greenery and are solar powered. In farmstays like this one, you can take plantation tours, hand pollinate flowers, spot birds, go on treks and night walks, learn more about sustainable living, participate in farming or visit the Animal House. If all this tires you out you can sit back and relax. The plantation is spread over 20 acres and crops like coffee, cardamom, and vanilla are grown here.
2. No Phones Allowed: Off The Grid, Goa
The farmstay is situated on the border of Karnataka and Goa. Off The Grid offers a unique experience where you can get away from the constant ringing of your phone and step out of the virtual world. Off The Grid is surrounded by forests and has no electricity, telephone or internet. It takes the weight off your shoulders and frees your constantly busy hands. Towering trees, flowing streams and starry nights help you rejuvenate your body and mind. Situated in the Western Ghats, the farm stay is at an altitude of 600 metres and has perfect hill station weather throughout the year. The farm stay uses solar energy for electricity, water from a waterfall nearby and firewood from the surrounding forest. They produce herbs, pulses, vegetables, and salads. They have three types of accommodation—stream facing cabins, rooftop rooms, and a furnished tent. You decide if you want the stream to sing you a lullaby or want to go to sleep while counting the stars. You can spot wildlife like Indian gaur, Asian fairy bluebird, sloth bear, great Indian hornbill, white-bellied blue flycatcher, leopards and more, while trekking through the forests. Hidden waterfalls also make the place more interesting.
3. Taste The Sweet Nectar Of Paradise: Dewalokam Farmstay Retreat, Kerala
Dewalokam means abode of the gods, and as you step into the farmstay you realise that you are indeed in heaven. Owned by an old Syrian Christian family, Dewalokam produces fruits, milk, honey, vegetables, and spices through organic farming. You are welcome to visit these farms and go on spice walks and milk the cows. As Kerala is famous for yoga and ayurvedic medicine, the farmstay also offers sessions on yoga, meditation, stress management, and healing sessions. You can also swim in the freshwater pools whose source is a nearby well. The water is clear and healthy for your skin and hair. Other activities like bamboo rafting, forest walks, temple visits, birding, butterfly spotting and more await you in this farm stay. Since the farm stay is surrounded by the river, you can book an air-conditioned room that overlooks the peaceful waterbody and swaying trees. Farmstays like this one, use fresh organic farm produce to cook and serve authentic dishes from Kerala. You can also learn how to cook directly from the chefs in their cooking classes.
4. Under Thatched Roofs: Maachli, Maharashtra
Another distinctive concept, the Maachli allows you to get a glimpse of the life of the farmers who live in thatched houses. The cottages in the farmstay are simple and rustic. Maachli is located on the southern end of the Konkan coast of Maharashtra, in Parule village. The name of the farmstay translates to elevated huts in Malvani. Maachli is a word used to describe the temporary huts that farmers live in to protect their crops. The farmstay doesn’t just give the opportunity of staying amidst nature, it also lets guests interact with local villagers and discover their way of life and culture. The farmstay has plantations of medicinal plants, coconut, spices, mango, and betel nuts. You can take a guided walk through them or trek to the beach and watch the sun dissolve into the water. You can also get a special pottery experience by visiting the pottery village and trying your hand at it. Cooking is also done on mud stoves using whatever is grown on the farm. Maachli is one of the farmstays in India that tries to imbibe ‘village life’ in every aspect of the stay.
5. Celebrate Tribal Culture: The Konyak Tea Retreat, Nagaland
As beautiful as tea plantations look in pictures, they feel even better when you visit them in person. Across an expanse of 250 acres, the Konyak Tea Retreat has tea plantations and orchards that grow lime, ginger, chillies, guava, and seasonal vegetables. A visit here also encourages you to embrace Konyak lifestyle and culture. Phenjin Konyak runs the farm and in her spare time documents the tattoo patterns used by the Konyaks. She is the great-granddaughter of a headhunter called Ahon. Through the farmstay, you experience the Konyak tribe’s culture through their food, exclusive crafts, and by visiting the locals. You can participate in the daily running of the farmhouse or work with local farmers in the paddy fields or milk some cows and goats. The Konyak tribe’s heritage is also present in the special smoked meat that they prepare. Located in the Mon district, the farmhouse is stone-walled with two bedrooms and an open dining hall, giving off a cosy feeling. It is situated right in the middle of the farm, so you are surrounded by gardens and the sweet sounds of birds chirping. You can also visit the farm stay on special occasions like Aoling festival, Spring Festival on 1 April, and Orange harvest where you can pick the oranges right from the orchard, between mid-November to early January.
6. From the Fields To Your Table: Abasa Homestay, Arunachal Pradesh
An organic farm and homestay, Abasa is hosted by an Apatani family. The farmstay is situated near Ziro and is run by Kago Kampu and Kago Habung. You can use this experience to learn about the age-old paddy cultivation techniques of the Apatani tribe. They also organically produce seasonal vegetables and kiwi, cash crops, cabbage, and more. They also have a kitchen garden where they grow tomatoes, lettuce, baby corn, and chillies. There is a drain that runs across the farm so they have plenty of fish as well. Rice and fish are the main ingredients of their staple food. They also cook traditional dishes like a chutney of roasted sunflower seeds called dani apu komoh or kormo pila and suddu yo where tender bamboo stems are used to cook chicken and egg yolk.
7. Backwater To Drench You In Peace And Calm: Oyster Opera, Kerala
While visiting the tranquil backwaters of Kerala is a dream for someone, you can amp it up by living on a farm surrounded by the Valiyaparamba backwaters in Kasaragod village. The farm is dedicated to oyster and green mussel farming. It is one of the farmstays in India that reflects true sustainability, as the host Gul Mohammed, a national award winner, shared his new farming techniques with local coastal farmers. He managed to give 6000 farmers a livelihood because of the farm. The farmstay is built with natural materials and is completely eco-friendly. You can live on floating huts, elevated huts or traditional huts. They are named after sea creatures like Snail, Crab, Clam, etc. The farm involves the whole local community with even the women pitching in, running the kitchen and doing other domestic chores. The open-air baths, houseboat rides, canoes, and nature around you are enough to detox your mind and body.
8. Amidst The Orchards: Citrus County, Punjab
Citrus County is a farmstay run by Chhauni Farms that is spread across 70 acres. It is situated in Hoshiarpur in the foothills of the Shiwalik range. Hoshiarpur is famous for being a quiet town and known for their handicrafts. The citrus orchards on the farm were planted by the host’s (Harkirat Ahluwalia) grandfather over 50 years ago. You can experience the rural life of Hoshiarpur, visit the dairy farm, pick fruits from the orchards or just play golf, and enjoy your vacation. Punjab is famous for its delicious food and flavours. There are culinary tours that the farmstay offers to help you learn Punjabi cooking and delicacies.
9. Leopard Safari At A Farmstay: The Country Retreat Farmstay, Rajasthan
A farmstay at a remote location in the Pali district, The Country Retreat Farmstay is spread across 130 acres. The accommodation is luxurious with air-conditioned bedrooms designed with typical Rajasthani interiors. You can experience the culture of Rajasthan by visiting the Ranakpur temples, local villages, and attending Rajasthani cooking classes. You can also explore the wildlife on a safari. Additionally, you can go bird watching, cycling, farm tours and other activities. You can also trek to the nearby Elephant Rock.
10. Modest And Experimentative: TIEEDI Earthy Dwellings, West Bengal
TIEEDI Earthy Dwellings was started near Darjeeling as an attempt to retrieve the bond with nature. This Indian farmstay wants to build a forest garden and practise permaculture. They also practise forage farming where they forage and harvest produce from their organic forest gardens. The hosts started this endeavour after quitting their corporate jobs. They also take up projects and experiment with different techniques of enriching the soil’s nutrients like companion planting and sheet mulching. You can go on a forest walk and learn more about these practices. There are also workshops on bamboo weaving and yoga. The accommodation mixes traditional methods and new age utilities to provide a comfortable experience. The dwellings were built using local resources and artisans. As you look outside from your dwellings, you spot green everywhere. You can also volunteer with TIEEDI in creating sustainable spaces, revive dying rivers and conserve the forests.
At Farmstays, It’s Just Nature And You
Farmstays like this manage to relax us but also help us see an alternative organic lifestyle that we can lead. While we take too much from Earth, we rarely give anything back. This way of life helps take care of ourselves and the planet by changing a few habits. You can inculcate sustainable habits when you buy organic vegetables from farms that help farmers too. You can reduce food waste, cut plastic use, and use appliances that are energy efficient. Also, remember to take care of yourself and strive to achieve your health targets.