I could feel the crisp air kissing my cheeks and the refreshing scent of pines tickling my senses, when I open my eyes to an amazingly beautiful landscape of Kumaon hills. I am on my way to Village Sunkiya, Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand. An 8hrs beautiful drive from Delhi has bought me to this unknown little paradise – Mukteshwar Homestay.
Energetic young man Pooran Singh Dangwal is there to receive me at the roadside. Without asking he takes out luggage from my car and we start walking downhill towards the homestay. On the way that goes through the dense oak and rhododendron forest, he speaks passionately about the sustainable hideaway he’s developed for city people while keeping his farm intact. He is a farmer and is practicing traditional organic farming from ages. He started welcoming travelers in his house as a means for an alternate income 2 years back, but now it has become his lifeline. He takes prides in hosting guests from all over the world and introducing them to the simple life of the Himalayan village farmer.
Farmer’s homestay is a small house nestled in the oak forest and is surrounded by fruit trees. Pooran takes me to a cozy comfortable room with an independent entry. Though a village home, I am pleasantly surprised to find all the required essentials in the room and the house. There are two guest rooms that open up to a huge balcony overlooking the valley.
The quiet and the serene surroundings have immediately switched me off from the city life I come from. All I hear is the music of wind chime as the cool breeze passes through it. To add to it is the chirping of birds and occasional mowing of cows at a distance.
My mind is relaxed and totally in sync with natural surroundings. Tired from my journey I want to retire early but first the mesmerizing sunset from my balcony and then the starlit dazzling night keeps me awake and happily so. I am enjoying all of that is a super luxury for city people like me.
I wake up to the sound of cows’ mowing and birds’ chirping. It is a beautiful day and the lady of the house, Beena is busy in daily farm chores like taking the livestock out for grazing, then milking them. After feeding us, she gets busy in the farms… weeding is what she is doing, I guess. I so wish I had bought my young daughter along too who would have loved to see how a cow is milked and also how the vegetables she eats grow in farms.
During breakfast Pooran informs me of the options I have for the day. There are many nature trails around. I can take a walk or go cycling, he will arrange a cycle for me. Or if I am a trekker, there are options for trekking too. I am overwhelmed to hear this and decide to trek to an old Temple of Adi devta, which I can see on top of a hill from here. I am happy to be guided by Pooran’s son.
I come back home to piping hot crispy pakoras and herbal tea. In the evening, I was delighted to see the bonfire set up for me. I quietly enjoy the silence of the place soaking as much peace as I can and gazing at the stars remembering my childhood.
Meals at Farmer’s Homestay are soul touching home-made affair. At Dinner I was pampered with dal tadka that has heavenly flavours, farm picked vegetables cooked with Himalayan herbs along with freshly prepared curd and green salad. Not to mention rotis that are coming directly from mud oven served with so much love.
These are the simple joys of life I miss living amidst busy city lights. My weekend trip from Delhi to Mukteshwar turned out to be so perfect, I wish to come to farmer’s homestay Mukteshwar whenever I can get break from my work.
Contributed by Krutika Bhasin
She visited Mukteshwar homestay in Sept 2019