Agricultural tourism is proving to be a big draw for urban Indians looking to unwindand get back to nature, but with a bit of comfort. Some choose working farms for their breaks instead of holing up in five star hotels. This has resulted in a gradual increase in agri-tourism that ranges from a stud-farm stay to a dairy farm, bee farm, rabbit farm and even a full-agriculture farm holiday. These vacations offer the experience of living on a farm with a certain level of activity, which would mean basically taking part in what is happening around or even just watching others do it. As a concept, farm stays offer enough potential to attract hoteliers who are willing to pump in money to create alternate tourism, and keep their guests from going off their books. Here we bring you a list of some of the top agricultural tourist destinations:
Destiny: A Littlearth Group offering, Destiny which is located in Ooty. Destiny is probably the largest, full-fledged farm stay in the country, apart from being one of the first.
It is run on a professional level, with activities like agriculture, dairy and horse breeding. Pastimes such as fishing and trekking are popular. There are also plots where guests can learn about the entire cycle of a vegetable.
Cost: Deluxe room Rs1,775 per person per day inclusive of all meals and the luxury rooms are Rs2,475 per person per day.
Divarose: Divarose, located in the in the Terai region of Uttranchal, is run by Devinder Singh Bhooi and his wife Rachel Lawrence. On the four-acre farm guests can milk the cows and wash the buffalos. In summer, people are encouraged to swim in the tube well. They learn to grind wheat, pick vegetables and cut sugarcane. There is river swimming or fishing trips available among other activities.
Cost: Rs2,000 per person per day.
Emerald Isle, The Heritage Villa: Located in the backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala, it became commercial in 2000. In Kerala, ancestral homes are being repositioned as farm stays, but Emerald Isle is among the few to have Grihasthali certification from the government. Emerald Isle is an 150 years old ancestral home on an island. Some of its activities include fishing and cycling. Those who wish to experience a slice of rustic life, can also visit the village close by. There’s also country boat cruises and motor boat cruises, apart from kayaking to choose from. A visit to Alappuzha Town can give guests a chance to see coir products being made.
Cost: Rs4,800 (AC room) Rs4,000 (non AC room) per couple (including meals)
Sawe Farm, Dahanu: This idyllic spot is located about 150kms from Mumbai, in north Konkan region of Maharashtra state. It was established in 1970, on a barren piece of land. Dahanu also has many temples like the Mahalaksmi Temple, the Santoshi Mata Temple apart from Jain Temples and also has Mosques, Churches, a Gurudwara and a Fire-Temple. Dahanu, since ages has distinctly been identified with Warlis and Zoroastrians.
Cost: Rs600 per day onwards.
The Agri Tourism Development Organization (ATDO), a non-governmental organization that started farm tourism in Maharashtra a few years ago, has compiled a directory of agri-tourism farms in the western state. The directory has listed 52 farm stay options in various parts of the state from Neral near Mumbai to Aurangabad, Nashik, Amravati, Ahmednagar, Ratnagiri and Dapoli.
Village Jogawadi, Tal Baramati
Farmer: Sunil Bhosale, 13 acres, organic farming activity, various fruits, vegetables, flowers, dairy farm, goat farm and tourist attractions such as the Morgaon Ganapati temple.
Cost: Rs500 per day per person onwards.
Village Golwadi, Tal Junnar
Farmer: Rashmi Abrol, 22 acres, green house, fisheries, exotic vegetables, hoarse riding, various vegetables farms and tourist attractions such as Shivaneri Fort and Leynadhari Ganpati temple
Cost:Rs600 per person onwards.
Village Titeghar, Tal Bhor, Pune
Farmer: Ram Kelkar, seven acres, dairy farming, paddy crops, self-help women’s group, and tourist attractions such as Fort Raireshwar, old temples and dams.
Cost: Rs500 per person per day
Village Katewadi , Tal Baramati
Farmer: Pandurang Taware, 15 acres, traditional Maharahstrian bungalow for over night stay, various fruits, vegetables, farms, dairy farm, goat farm, solace well for swimming, bullock cart and tractor rides.
Cost: Rs600 per person per day onwards.
Village Malegoan, Tal Baramati
This is owned by the Agriculture Development Trust Baramati, 110 acres, farm tours, fruit plantations tour, cow farm tour, cow milking, goat walking, milking, silk farming and producing with retail counter to buy silk cloth and silk sarees. It also has practical demonstrations of various experiments on crops and fruits. They will also teach you rural games such as gilli danda, vittudandu, gotya and bhavra.
Cost: Rs600 per person per day onwards