Immerse yourself in the great outdoors among heaving plum and apple trees as the odd goat ambles around you.. As the heat sweeps across the country, take off to these pristine outposts that combine agrarian delights with a cozy, comfortable stay. Laze in hammocks, dip your toes in the bubbling brooks, and nibble on the goodness of nature plucked straight from the trees. Here is a list of some of the most beautiful farm stays in North India you can check into.
Tucked between a profusion of peach, plum and orchid trees in a lovely farm stay in the village of Satoli, a few kilometres from Mukteshwar, The Woodhouse Farm is around 45km from Nainital. Under cotton candy clouds are cleverly designed wooden cottages offering magnificent views of the Himalayas, including glimpses of the peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul. Amble around the property to discover the vegetable plantation, take hikes on the surrounding trails or hop onto a cycle to a waterfall, while indulging on the freshest produce. It’s indeed a holiday to remember.
Eat guacamole for breakfast or drink an avocado smoothie at the quaint A-shaped glass, wood and stone villa appropriately named Avocado. Set amid avocado and kiwi orchards, this dog-friendly ancestral home has been built on the foundations of a stable and is located in Bhimtal Nainital. Gaze upon the lovely lake, loll around in the hammock, visit the gurgling spring, stalk some chirping birds and gorge on avocados day and night.
Step back in time with this beautiful four-bedroom timber bungalow. Meena Bagh Ratnari is nestled in the centre of an apple orchard in the verdant hills. An intimate escape from the bustle of the city, the quiet retreat is around 85km from Shimla. This Himachali home has a menagerie of well-behaved neighbours, such as the free-roaming residents - cats, dogs, sheep, chicken and ducks - who keep you in good company while you explore the area. Lounge in the sunroom with the crackling fireplace, gaze at the night sky through the telescope, and walk through the apple orchards with your new-found friends on this blissful holiday.
Experience a farm-to-mouth stay at Soulitude that’s set by the lilting Kalsa River in Chanfi village on the outskirts of Nainital. Try your hand at a spot of gardening at their organic farm, splash about in the emerald green rock pools and explore the wilderness at this rustic seven-room farm stay. Growing their own vegetables, lentils, fruits and herbs, the food is oftentimes prepared on open-air wood-fired chulhas and angeethis, bringing the flavours of earth to your plate while you sup under the blue sky and canopies of trees.
An ecological oasis started by Goverdhan and Usha Rathore in 1989, Khem Villas is a wildlife camp that skirts Ranthambore National Park. Offering a healthy dose of luxury, experience their Age Veda Spa scattered over the property through its water bodies, natural grasslands and thick forest cover or end the day with a nightcap at The Library & Bar. The indigenous trees planted all over attract jackals, jungle cats, hyenas, desert fox, crocodiles and over 180 species of birds. Get your hands dirty on their in-house farm at the all-vegetarian property (they serve a few egg-based dishes), so you can dine on fresh produce in the lap of nature.
Plunge into farm life at this modern seven-bedroom haveli sitting in an expanse of 24 acre of forested land that’s sequestered in by a piquant amla (gooseberry) plantation. Just a mere 30 minutes from the Jaipur Airport, the majestic mansion is surrounded by blossoming jacaranda, amaltas and gulmohar and acacia trees. Take camel rides, visit the town of Bagru famous for block printing, and dine on home-cooked food while getting your daily dose of vitamin C from all the amla.
Live off the grid at Shivgarh, a sprawling eco reserve of 200 acre and home to an intimate haveli. Enjoy picnics on the farm, indulge in their own or hyper-locally bought produce such as mulberry, papaya, cucumber and banana. And if you want a spot of farm adventure, take a ride on the tractors across the land. There’s stuff for toddlers too. They can pick out vegetables from the farm and walk with the horses, among others. Your pets can spend languorous days chasing birds and snoozing in the sun. At the end of the day, you can relax on your porch and watch the glowing embers from your private fire pit, as the moon rises and stars take over the sky.
In 1857, the British established the Wah Tea Estate in Himachal Pradesh’s Palampur, now managed by the descendants of the Chaiwala family who took over in the 50s. The lodge, lovingly built using materials and scrap from an old Palampur Courthouse, is ensconced by a kitchen garden and fruit laden trees. They also grow their own wheat and fruit, bake bread and make preserves. And after sauntering through the 526-acre tea estate, you can settle down for a hot cuppa of the freshest Kangra tea.
Michael and Devanshe are Himalayan farmers, cheese-makers, cider and wine producers and run the fabulous orchard farm in the hills outside Shimla. A complete rustic experience, there is no broadband internet or TV here. Instead, enjoy the pleasures of living on a working farm, where you can potter around. The farm also holds regular events, such as forest and village clean-ups, poetry reading, wild food foraging and jam, bread and artisanal cheese making. So, roll up your sleeves and plunge into the best holiday ever.
Step into the garden of Eden at Thanedar that’s cosseted by fragrant pear, apple and cherry as well as almond orchards speckling the hills. Around 80km from Shimla, at an altitude of 7700 feet, you get a bird’s eye view of the River Sutlej and dreamy pine trees draping the hill. Explore the retreat’s gardens, step out and mingle with the villagers and pick some apples or cherries for dessert. Guaranteed your cheeks will be red like rosy apples after this lovely holiday.