For the person living in a concrete jungle for over 8 months due to the coronavirus lockdown, it may get suffocating. To break this monotony of city life, a good idea would be to set out towards a rural setting and live beside a farm. India being an agrarian country, there isn’t a lack of farms here either. So, a farmstay would be an ideal way to unwind.
A farmstay means just that – staying in an actual farm. Not just that, you could also try your hand at some of the activities and appreciate the hard work it takes so that there’s food on your table.
Sure, the government has considerably relaxed the lockdown rules but it is done primarily to revive the economy. Granted, farmstays would be much safer than visiting tourist hotspots. However, the threat of Covid is very real, so use your discretion to decide if you want to go on a farmstay yet. If the answer is still yes, here are a few farmstays you could visit now:
ZeroStay Farmstay, Kanatal
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a home in the pretty Garhwal Himalayas, you could have just that (for a short while, at least) at ZeroStay Farmstay. It is located in the quaint village of Kanatal, Uttarakhand, which overlooks the towns of Tehri, Chamba and Dhanaulti and the popular Mussoorie. The best part is that Kanatal isn’t still under the tourist radar, so you can have your isolated vacation at ZeroStay Farmstay. Here, you can live amongst orchards, farms and lush green forests in an eco-friendly cottage – thus experiencing the Himalayas in their purest form.
Taking into consideration the pandemic, the best part about staying in ZeroStay Farmstay is that whether you’re going alone or with a group (the cottage can accommodate a maximum of 6 guests), you’ll have the entire farmstay to yourself. Remember to have warm clothes as Kanatal tends to get cold.
Things To Do:
Set out on hikes or walking tours to drink in the sights and sounds of the Himalayas.
Learn about the local culture and traditions.
You can lend your hand in the activities pertaining to the farms and orchards surrounding the cottage.
Rest and relax.
Rate Per Night: ₹2850 for 2 adults.
Vini’s Farm, Munroe Island
Perhaps your idea of escaping from the madness of urban life is to live on an island – away from every worry and reconnect with nature. If that’s what you’re looking for, head over to Vini’s Farm.
This island resort is in the Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam just off Munroe Island, and is close to the lake’s confluence with the Kallada River. You’ll be surrounded by Kerala’s typical coconut trees and water on all sides, leaving you disconnected from the city. However, you won’t lack for any modern amenities at Vini’s Farm.
This place is best for couples seeking solitude among nature. If you wish to, you can even rent the entire two-acre property to yourself! Living in the stilt cottage in the middle of the island while being isolated at Vini’s Farm offers the perfect blend of luxury and leisure.
Things To Do:
Vini’s Farm is primarily for relaxation amidst nature, but there are activities you can engage in.
Learn how farming below the lake level is undertaken here.
Bird enthusiasts can observe the various species that are around these backwaters.
You can try your hand at fishing and if you’re lucky, you could even have it for dinner.
Also, delve into the cuisine and learn how to cook the Malayali way.
Explore the backwaters and the surrounding villages on boats.
Rate Per Night: ₹14,155 for the whole island.
Krishna Ranch, Udaipur
For the traveler who’s always loved horses, Krishna Ranch in Udaipur is the perfect place for them. Located 8 kilometers to the west of Udaipur city, the ranch is surrounded by the Aravalli Ranges and shaded by hundreds of trees. The serenity of the place is only interrupted by the twittering birds and of course, the whinnying horses.
The key attraction of Krishna Ranch, obviously, are the horses. You can explore the ranch with the owners, Dinesh and Francine, and understand how the place works. Eventually, yes, you can interact with the horses in the stables or watch them frolic in the paddocks with their manes swishing in their wakes. Eventually, you get to climb on a horse and learn the basics of horseback riding. Also, you can enjoy the delicious Rajasthani cuisine with organic ingredients from the ranch.
Things To Do:
Ride a horse through the villages surrounding the farm.
Go camping at scenic locales close to the farm and experience rural Rajasthan.
Set out on a hike to the nearby Sajjangarh Palace through the Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary.
Rate Per Night: ₹2500 for 2 adults.
Mustard Seed Farm Cottages, Rumtek
The traveler who wants a blend of adventure and leisure while on the mountains can set out towards the Mustard Seed Farm Cottages in Rumtek. The journey to the cottages is through many villages and verdant paddy fields. The location will offer you breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayas while living in simple but well-equipped wood cottages.
A farmstay in its true right, you can get your hands dirty by lending a helping hand in the activities done in and around the cottages. But if you’re looking for adventure, these mountains don’t lack for them as well. There are tour packages that take you to scenic destinations. However, keeping in mind the tough terrain and thin air of the high altitudes, exercise caution before you step out.
Things To Do:
Engage in farming as well as animal husbandry – try milking animals and feeding the chickens of the cottages.
Experience tranquility in the famous Rumtek Monastery and see rare Buddhist art.
Sikkim sees over 550 species of birds. Go birdwatching.
Visit the holy Gurudongmar Lake.
Rate Per Night: ₹1710 for 2 adults.
HideOut Farm, Palghar
Located merely two hours away from Mumbai, HideOut Farm in Palghar is perfect for those seeking an alternative kind of lifestyle. Tucked away in the tiny village of Zadapoli, this family-run farm is the very manifestation of the words ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable living’.
You get to stay in brick-and-mud cottages or tents that open up to lush vegetation. The idea of HideOut Farm is to live as one with nature. So for nature and animal lovers seeking to live a primitive life, this is definitely the place to be. Also, the farm serves only vegetarian food, even excluding dairy, and processed food.
Life in HideOut Farm can be busy. You’ll be engaged in a variety of activities to help keep the farm running. If you’re a thrill seeker, you can have that too! Just be mindful to not do anything that might be unsustainable or polluting.
Things To Do:
Lend a helping hand by engaging in organic farming.
HideOut Farm is located in a tribal area. You may interact with the locals to learn about their lives and occupations, but remember to follow social distancing.
Set out on a trek.
Get in touch with your adventurous side by rappelling down a hill or kayaking down a river.
Rate Per Night: ₹2000 per guest.
Always follow social distancing norms.
If you feel sick before leaving, skip the trip, just to be on the safer side.
As Covid regulations change often, make sure that you’re aware of the interstate travel norms.
Call up your farmstay of choice to confirm if they’re open to the public, subject to Covid safety norms.
Have all the Covid travel-related documents and the Aarogya Setu app installed on your phone for good measure.
Travel in your personal vehicle to reduce risk of infection.
As far as possible, opt for cashless transactions.
If you develop Covid symptoms while on holiday or even while returning home, inform your farmstay and seek help immediately.