Bookmark These 6 Rural Homestays In Maharashtra For A Long Weekend

Maharashtra is home to some fabulous homestays that allow visitors to reconnect with the living planet and the people who grow our food. One visit won't be enough
A quaint cottage in Tural run by the duo behind Rustic Holidays
A quaint cottage in Tural run by the duo behind Rustic HolidaysCopyright: Rustic Holidays

Maharashtra is much more than simply the metropolis of Mumbai or its Maratha stronghold of Pune. The state is a major agricultural player, producing sugarcane, millet, rice, cotton, tobacco and peanuts, among many other crops and fruits. Today, farmers in the regions of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Baramati and Palghar are inviting visitors to experience rural life and a change of pace from the daily grind.

For urban travellers, a stay in rural Maharashtra not only provides a connection to the very earth on which our food is grown but also to age-old traditions and practices, both agricultural and cultural. Here are six farmstays that will make you start drawing up plans for a permanent move away from the city.

Hideout Farm, Palghar

A room at Hideout Farm
A room at Hideout FarmCopyright: Hideout Farm

The Hideout Farm is just a two-hour drive from the dust, pollution, noise and traffic of Mumbai but it will feel like you have stepped into an alternate universe filled with greenery, birdsong and fresh air. The brick-and-mud property is set in acres of lush vegetation, filled with fruit-bearing trees and plants like mango, banana, sapota, guava, pineapple and lime, along with teak, gulmohar, frangipani and bamboo. The plants have been carefully nurtured by the Chhabra family, who have built and run Hideout for 35 years.

The farmstay is run on the concept of simple living so the food is vegetarian and organic. Milk and milk products are optional. Guests can wash their own utensils after meals but must bring their own toiletries. Their reward is fresh organic food, much of it grown on the farm itself or bought from the local markets.

Visitors can get their hands dirty by helping out with farming activities, relaxing with neuropathy massages, visiting the Warli villages nearby and enjoying the deepest sleep they are likely to experience in the pitch-dark and soundless nights with only crickets for company.

Farm Of Happiness, Phungus

Guests can partake in farming activities
Guests can partake in farming activities Copyright: Farm of Happiness

‘Aanandache Shet’ or Farm of Happiness is where you will find answers to questions on farming, growing plants, fruits and vegetables, and observe first hand the work that goes into it. This farmstay is set amidst Alphonso mango trees, cashew trees and other crops along with many wild trees. Stay in the traditional Konkani house built from local laterite rocks and relish traditional Maharashtra vegetarian meals cooked on wood fire. Guests can try their hand at farming activities, trekking, stargazing, birdwatching and sleeping on an open machan on a star-studded night.

Maachli, Parule

Cottages are built in the traditional style with sloping roofs, comfortable verandahs and great views
Cottages are built in the traditional style with sloping roofs, comfortable verandahs and great viewsCopyright: Maachli

Located in the beautifully lush Sindhudurg district, Maachli is a unique homestay hidden away in a preserved forest. The accommodation consists of cottages built in the traditional style followed by local farmers for their huts, with sloping roofs, comfortable verandahs and great views. Eat delicious local vegetarian and non-vegetarian food made from produce grown on the organic farm or procured from local suppliers by the host. All of it is cooked on mud stoves.

Visitors can enjoy long walks through a plantation growing coconut, betal, spices, banana and mango, visit nearby beaches like Bhogwe and Khavane, stroll through orchards and jungles, or learn pottery in the nearby village.

Baramati Agri Tourism, Bapkar

A tented room
A tented roomCopyright: Agricultural Development Trust of Baramati

Promoted by the Agricultural Development Trust of Baramati, this agritourism initiative offers stays in tents and dormitories amidst swaying palm trees. The experience includes home cooked vegetarian meals, traditional Maharashtrian folk performances, campfires, winery visits and farm visits. The traditional meals are a highlight, featuring dishes like bhakri, a type of roti made with jowar or bajra flour; pithla, a curry cooked with gram flour; and thecha, a green chilli and garlic chutney. 

Rustic Holidays, Tural

Run by Nitin and Shilpa Karkare, Rustic Holidays is a homestay in the Konkan region of Maharashtra
Run by Nitin and Shilpa Karkare, Rustic Holidays is a homestay in the Konkan region of MaharashtraCopyright: Rustic Holidays

For those whose families originated in villages and lived in cities, going back to the village home was the highlight of summer vacation – having the run of the house, nipping in and out of the kitchen and pantry for treats, playing in gardens, orchards and fields, using towels as fishing nets to catch tiny pond fish, listening to grandmothers' tales, enjoying their meals, and just chilling. Now that nostalgia can be experienced in person in a 200-year-old ancestral home in the village of Tural in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district. 

Run by Nitin and Shilpa Karkare, Rustic Holidays is a homestay which grows numerous crops organically, such as mangoes. The homestay is located in the Konkan region which is well-known for its greenery and scenic beauty. There are thick jungles in Tural that are home to over 160 species of birds. Enjoy traditional Maharashtrian meals, get your hands dirty and farm in the mud when it rains, and enjoy the folk art and dance performaces by local village troupes.

The Happiness Estate, Sawantwadi

The pool at The Happiness Estate
The pool at The Happiness EstateCopyright: @G3768HKandreab on Tripadvisor

This farmstay is located in a region known for its pristine beaches, lush forests, green farms and delicious local food. The Happiness Estate is a 15-acre private forest where the grounds, which are mostly left wild, abound with birds, squirrels and rabbits. Guests can expect delicious home cooked Malvani-style food made mostly with vegetables grown at the property. Considering how close the coast is, seafood – fish and prawns cooked in a fiery red coconut-based curry or fried in a rava or semolina batter – features heavily on the menu. The kokum and coconut milk digestive solkadhi accompanies most meals. 

Besides the majestic forests, waterfalls and beaches, the farmstay offers a selection of non-motorised activities and authentic cultural adventures. One can visit the local market in the morning to buy fresh produce or forage in the property’s grounds – where over 60 species of vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown – and take part in a cooking demonstration afterwards. Or, you could join the local Koli fisherfolk on an expedition in their wooden boats at the crack of dawn.

The farmstay will also link you up with a group of fisherfolk to take you on a boat ride through the mangrove filled backwaters nearby. Visitors can also avail of a guided cycling tour in the country lanes of Sindhudurg. A popular ride is the 30km trip all the way to neighbouring Goa, which ends with lunch at a Goan home.

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