From being the cradle of Indian civilization to encompassing varied ethnic and religious diversity, the fertile plains of Punjab offer a glimpse into the country&rsquos rich and dynamic economy. For travellers, the fields covering the state in gold and green hues offer respite from the crowded towns that hold much of its tangible heritage. At a crossroads, Punjab is straddling two worlds emboldening its natural prowess and pandering to the demands of a fast-growing industrial world. Nonetheless, beyond the gold-gilded religious center of Amritsar and forts of Patiala and Bathinda, the vast expanse of farms and orchards allows you to take in Punjab's rural pleasures truly. The pastoral image of lush green fields, painted in our conscience by Bollywood, warrants a personal experience.
Rural Life At Farm Stays
Punjabi hospitality is legendary and the first stop where one can experience it is in Gurdaspur, where Maharaja Ranjit Singh once held his summer court. Today, lush green countryside beckons tourists to spend a day here exploring the village life.
The Kothi Village Stay, which one must include in their itinerary, retains the character of a traditional Punjabi kothi (bungalow) that showcases a mix of Punjabi and colonial architecture. Surrounded by fields, you can partake in activities like tractor and tanga rides, dairy farming, learning how to cook Punjabi food and gaining an insight into the region's agricultural know-how by interacting with locals. Punjabiyat is another welcome farm stay that can offer myriad activities to you if you are seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
While many people choose a farm stay for a weekend, a longer halt is recommended, especially when travelling with children, to enjoy the tranquil pace of the countryside. Another site that allows one to plug into rural life is Citrus County, a large villa within Chhauni Farms in Hoshiarpur, nestled close to the foothills of Shivalik. The farm belonged to the owner, Harkirat Ahluwalia's family, with a 70-acre citrus orchard planted over half a century ago. Here, you can get a taste of traditional life by partaking in local activities such as visiting a dairy farm, culinary tours and a jeep safari to explore the rural idylls. Puri Farms and Kailash Farms
are also incredible options for you if you are seeking an authentic rustic getaway.
While Amritsar's religious fervor is infectious, its scenic exteriors are also a charm worth noticing. Located approximately 9 km from the Harmandir Sahib, Green Acres Haveli Retreat is a farm stay nestled among fruit orchards and allows guests to enjoy the farm ambience. From here, you can immerse yourself in another vibrant aspect of rural tourism cultural delights. You can also opt to stay at Chahal Tree Farmhouse, where you can partake in activities like turban-tying class, a tractor ride and even get mehndi on your palm. Only a short 15 minutes&rsquo drive takes you away from the big city's noise and fuzz to the Farmer's Villa farm stay, where you can enjoy all the typical farm activities on the weekend.
In Patiala, Gary Farms is an oasis where you can feel closer to nature and experience rural adventures and Punjab's cultural life to the hilt. Pind Virasat is another traditional rural-themed Punjabi venue located on Patiala Bypass Road that has a lush green lawn and a small hall that can cater to many travellers. In the beautiful city of Rupnagar, there are multiple options for farm experiences.
Bharatgarh Fort is a 250-year-old heritage homestay that is nestled inside a fort. Offering a truly regal experience, you can connect with nature, enjoy scenic views and dine on authentic Punjabi fare.
Other places to consider in this city include Sukh Amrit Farmstay, Anand @TheSatluj, Barota Farm, Nisarga Farmstay, and Kahlon Ranch and Farms.
In the stunning commercial centre of Mohali, officially known as Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Casba Farm Retreat allows you to explore Punjab through a host of statues.
Westonel Farmstay here is a boutique pet-friendly property. This farmstay has an organic café, "Picasso", which offers farm-grown baked dishes, smoothies and juices, and offers activities such as art workshops and canvases to share a sense of creativity. At the same time, you are hosted along with Jazz music to relax and unwind.
Whistling Hills, Master Farms, Sidhu Farmstay and Mystic Meadows are equally experiential options.
The growing prospects for rural tourism also make themselves perceptible through recent announcements where Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, will see itself being promoted as a tourist destination. The district administration would identify ten farmhouses under a farm tourism scheme where people could stay and pay tribute to the martyr besides having a glimpse of rural Punjab.
Best Time To Visit
Rural tourism is a magical route to a true Punjabi getaway, away from the pretentious luxury of staying in a big town. As the shadows lengthen and a spectacular sunset follows, one can watch farmers tending to their crops or sit and sip tea in a village home with welcoming hosts. The best time to schedule a stay in the rural hinterlands of Punjab is from November to March good roads in the state also take care of accessibility.