Kunwarji's Eco Farm is good for couples and solo adventurers. It is an excellent place for bird watchers. You can go for trails around the house or little farther way to enjoy the scenic waterfalls. Good place to do nothing , enjoy a book or paint or just relax and enjoy the calls of birds and animals
This little Garhwali village house is located close to Maandlu, 60 km away from Kotdwar.
The way to reach Kunwarji's Farm from Mandlu, the last motorable point, itself is adventurous in a way. Heavy rainfall and cloud burst took away the kuchcha road leading upto the village of four houses and brought in big boulders to the stream down below. Its one and half kms trail of walking and crossing through this stream to the accompanying calls of the birds and sometimes roar of the mammals. The last half kilometer is a steep climb and it does test one's stamina if you are a person with tender bones and soft muscles.
The little water-mill and then the huge fish tank welcomes you after the accent, crossing over the stream once again, this time over a small rickety bridge.Few more uphill steps and you are at Kunwarji's home. Usha Bhabhi , his wife will greet you with a glassful of Malta or lemon juice.
As growing crops is becoming non-remunerative to this small community, this once otherwise a very abundant place of many villages, has only few left in the neighboring hillocks surrounding Shila Tonk where Kunwarji's house is located.Most of the farmers have migrated to the cities for getting employment. Due to migration, the land under cultivation is getting smaller. The crops are increasingly getting destroyed by wild boars, deer and even (URL HIDDEN) the crop area has been decreasing over the years as they grow only to feed themselves for the year .The other big challenge is taking the small produce from the village to the markets. If they grow ginger or turmeric and somehow manage to take a quintal to the Kotdwar market - the prices are bashed down by the wholesalers, knowing well that the farmer has to sell for sure before he heads back to his village. They do grow some fruits like Amla and Malta ( tastes like orange to an extent).. but have to trek for 2 hours to a place called Chelusain to get that processed at a Government supported unit wherein again they have to purchase the sugar themselves for the processing.which is not a feasible and viable option. So villagers keep taking up different initiatives many of which infact leaves them with precious little.. be it keeping cows ( it is uneconomical to trek 2 miles to sell 3 liters).. or keeping goats , sheep which are again at the risk of being attacked by the big cats which are commonly sighted here !Kunwarji himself lost his horse to a tiger which was getting him decent income. But then when adversity strikes, people do find ways.. and villagers are opening up to the idea of homestays.. for they have the beauty of the nature all around.. the rivers, mountains, waterfalls, birds, tigers, leopards ,bears and many other wild fauna !
Kunwarji is the first among the four houses ready to take in guests in his simple house. He knows the forest around well, and can take you around for trails surrounding his hillock and the villages . His house itself is a great place to watch birds . All that are grown are organic as none of the villagers use any kind of pesticide , so one can enjoy farm grown fresh vegetables prepared lovingly by Usha Bhabi. Once the rain starts and stream is full, they grind all the pulses and wheat using the water mill. The night sky is beautiful from here. And if your bones permit you can trek for around 5 km to Silogi to get a great view of the mountains. For the lazy ones, he can organize ponies to take you up there.
If you love watching birds, if you love the forests, if you are non fussy about spending a day or two in a simple village house and understanding the pitfalls and difficulties of loving your roots and hanging onto it inspite of all the difficulties with a innocent villager's smile , then do make a visit to Kunwarji's Farm. Every guest visit will help this family with their little big dream of a better future. Stay is with all meals and a wonderful company of the hosts. This project is part of IT Nature Trust's livilihood initiatives.
Your stay is inclusive of simple homely meals, breakfast,lunch and dinner.
Travellers can access all the rooms except the bedroom of the host family.
Interaction with guests
Kunwarji is always around for any help and assistance.
Other things to note
This place is not a hotel or resort or a guest house. It is a simple Indian village house with very very basic facilities.
Kindly note that Kunwarji and his family can converse in Hindi and can understand little bit of English
Alcohol serving and consuming is strictly prohibited .
It takes around six hours of time to arrange a pick and drop from the place to the nearest bus stand and railway station Kotdwar, in case you are coming by bus or train amd will cost Rs.900 one way
- This is a family house. Hence, the visitors are requested to follow the rules mentioned. At the same time the hosts will mingle and help you around for your trails
- As the house is surrounded by forests , there are wild animals sighted frequently around the house, hence request the guests not to venture out alone after dark alone
A wanderer by heart,mind,feet and soul. Watching birds, listening to classical music are hobbies close to my heart. Trying to see myself by travelling to the nooks and corner of our country.
Happy to be featured and written