Sleeping Spotlight is a weekly review of unique & offbeat places to stay.
My first (impulsive) trip to the fruit farms & cotton fields on the countryside of Punjab had me itching to go back and discover, experience & savour more of my Punjabi roots. I remember smiling from ear to ear when I first read about Prakriti Farms. Not only did it sound like a true-blue Punjabi experience, but also its location in the Shivaliks, whose very lap I’ve grown up in, made it a double win. Admittedly, I was in love even before I got there.
Contrary to the name, this is not your usual countryside farm. There are no vast expanses of green or yellow or brown here. This is a mountain farm; the slopes of the lower Shivaliks have been contoured to grow seasonal vegetables, their edges dotted with popular trees that give them a different color each season. Rough & rocky as the soil seems, it spurts out yellow mustard, green leafy plants, even beds of white, purple & red flowers. And in the backdrop of this piece of earth, the Shivalik range stands tall and mighty, albeit brown and rugged.
All vegetables grown & served here are organic, right down to the free range roosters that lay orange-yolked eggs, which are whipped into spicy Indian-styled scrambled eggs for breakfast, served with piping hot aloo paranthas, home-made lassi & chilled dahi. The aromas float in the air, as though marking this territory as Punjab. Complementing such indulgence is the typically Punjabi warmth of the Kaushal family, which immediately reminded me of my own. It took me no time to become part of them.
The chirpy yellow mud cottage with a thatched roof, that stands on a quiet hill of the farm, offers unobstructed views of the Shivaliks and becomes surrounded by yellow chrysanthemum flowers during spring. The farm tents, cosily huddled together on another hill, stare the curious summits of the Shivaliks. After my second trip to the farm this April, I know that there isn’t a better place to reconnect with the earth, and rejoice in the spirit of Punjab.
Essential Information & Contact:
Getting There: The closest airport is at Chandigarh, from where you can take a taxi or bus towards Ropar. The nearest train station and bus stop are at Ropar. Prakriti Farms is located about 7 km from Ropar, past the Ropar wetlands.
Where to Stay: The Cottage is the obvious choice and you’ll know why when you get there. The Swiss tents (with attached bathrooms) and the Safari tents (with common bathrooms) are equally comfortable and offer a more outdoorsy experience.
Activities: Short hikes up to forest caves where Punjabi men & women have been meditating solitarily for half a dozen years. Bird-watching at Ropar wetlands in spring. Night walk in the forest. Volunteering in farm activities. Dip in the tube well. Folk music at the farm, on prior request. Do-nothing.
Responsible Travel: Kaushal’s inspiration to start organic farming is rooted in his childhood in the neighboring village of Rail Majra, when the forest was green & streams ran through it. Excessive consumption of firewood and neglect of the natural resources by the community spurred him into action, to salvage his ancestral land and rejuvenate the dying soil.
Good to know: Good mobile connectivity. Home-cooked food. Working farm. Fair amount of walking involved. Good for anyone looking for an escape from daily life, farming enthusiasts, culture seekers, nature lovers, foodies.
Contact: Website: indiauntravelled.com/prakriti-farms.html. Phone +91 8527 141 626.
Have you ever lived on a farm in India?