Eat-Pray-Love at These Organic Farms.

Prakriti farm, Punjab, India

By Shivya Nath.

My tryst with agritourism started on the countryside of Punjab. On an impulsive weekend trip from Delhi, a friend and I de-boarded the train at the station of Abohar (298 km from Chandigarh) and made our way to the fruit farms around the pind (village) of Ghallu. 

We would stroll along the farms at the break of dawn, when the blooming cotton fields glowed like fresh snow and orange orchards swayed in the wind; we climbed trees and feasted on half ripe guavas; we jumped the rope enclosures to watch singhadas shying away from the sun. On the way home, the aroma of freshly cooked aloo paranthas made our tummies rumble, and breakfast marked the start of another day of the heart-warming country hospitality and slow life in Punjab that my grandparents always talked about.

Activities on an organic farm in India
Farming Activities
Every now and then, I try to go back to the basics; live on a farm, help a local family with daily farming chores, take my food from farm to table (and for once, know what I’m really eating), and appreciate the simple joys of life. Below is my recommended list of organic farms in India, to help you escape the maddening demands of city life too:

Nirvana Organic Farm, Rajasthan

Nirvana Organic Farm, Rajasthan, India
Nirvana Organic Farm, Rajasthan
An hour from Jaipur, Arvind’s organic farm is nothing short of an oasis. Years ago, he bought a piece of barren land, and nurtured it into a small forest used organic farming methods devoid of any chemicals. He revived the nutrients of the soil such that the trees and seasonal crops would survive even the harsh Rajasthani summer. Now managed by a local farmer and his wife, the farm offers world-weary travellers a chance to experience Rajasthan’s folk and farm culture in simple but cosy thatched roof huts. You can help till the land and harvest the crops, look after the cattle, stretch out on a khatiya to watch birds, take a cooking lesson on an open-air chulha, and indulge in delicious farm-grown food.    

Prakriti Farm, Punjab

Prakriti farm, Punjab, India
Prakriti farm, Punjab
Kaushal fondly remembers his childhood summers in the forests and farms of his ancestral village, Rail Majra, near Ropar. Freshwater springs ran through these lush forests, and farms of sarson painted the land yellow in winter. After studying in the cities and corporate stints abroad, Kaushal felt heartbroken to see that the forests had completed dried up and villagers were abandoning their withering farms to get jobs in factories. Like Arvind, he took to organic farming on the land his family owned – using traditional farming practices, he revived the soil to grow popular trees, keenu orchards, and seasonal crops and herbs. In the gentle backdrop of the Shivalik hills, Prakriti Farm now offers weekend breaks in a charming mud cottage and farm tents, promising a slice of the Punjabi countryside (complete with makki di roti, sarson da saag and daal handi) an hour away from Chandigarh.

Tathgata Farm, Darjeeling

Set in the dramatic backdrop of the Himalayas, Tathagata Farm is an organic tea estate, which also grows cardamom, ginger, vegetables, oranges and other seasonal crops, and offers respite to weary travellers from the tourist track of Darjeeling. You wake up in your huts or tents, to the refreshing mountain air, stroll along the quaint surrounding hamlets, and soak in the tranquility of the Himachali countryside, just an hour away from Darjeeling.

Danapani, Uttarakhand

In the charming locale of Danapani, at the foothills of the lower Himalayas, the village has come together to organically grow vegetables and fruits for their consumption, as well as for travellers looking to adopt an organic lifestyle just for a few days. Travellers are invited to help with daily chores, including farming on the vegetable garden and taking the cattle out to graze. Traditional Kumaoni fare meets the captivating tales of the village folk at night, on starry nights; a true escape from the maddening pace of the cities.

A woman starts her day at the farm
A day begins at the farm

This story was originally published on The Alternative.

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