On Escaping City Life at Prakriti Farms in Punjab.

By Amandeep Kaur. 

Aman, who joined India Untravelled on the Baisakhi celebration trip to Punjab in April 2012, shares her experience of travelling by herself for the first time.

When you get tired of the monotony of everyday life, even the idea of a break in the lap of nature feels like sheer bliss. Such monotony happened to me, and I felt like escaping from the hustle bustle of city life. It was not easy for me to take more than a few days off from work, so while looking for an ‘offbeat’ weekend trip, I googled and got in touch with a group going for a trip to a countryside farm in Ropar (in Roopnagar district) to celebrate the colourful harvest festival of Baisakhi in Punjab. Excited, I joined in and the journey began!

We reached the beautiful Prakriti Farms nestled in the foothills of Shivaliks in the late afternoon. I couldn’t imagine that I had been oblivious to such a peaceful place existing so close to my hometown of Patiala. We received a warm welcome from the Kaushal family, the owners of the farm. The popular chilled lassi was served with snacks, and we were left to ourselves to get a feel of the place. The pleasantness of weather during April, when it is usually hot in Punjab, was a welcome surprise. After the snacks, we went for a walk around the farm, with Kaushal who doubled as our guide. 

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
Mud & thatched-roof cottage at Prakriti Farms.

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
Tents at Prakriti Farms.
The farm was spread over many acres of land, and the Shivaliks surrounding the farm gave it a heavenly feel. Nature literally reigned supreme in the farm. There was a cottage perched high on a hillock, made of mud and thatched roof, to give the inhabitant the feeling of living close to the nature. A part of land on atop a hill had been flattened and work was in progress to construct a place for meditation. Kinnu orchards, small rows of vegetables, and some farm animals lent Prakriti Farms the feel of a real Punjabi village. I felt nostalgic and drifted into a reverie of my childhood summer vacations at my grandparents' village. 

As the sun was about to set and the birds retiring for the night, we climbed up a hill to watch the resplendent setting sun and capture its beauty in our cameras and minds. After dark, we retired to our respective tents, which were simple and modest, yet so comfortable. At night, a special program was arranged for us. The local artists were invited for a beautiful musical night. We all enjoyed and basked in the warmth of music and some fire that was needed as the weather changed from pleasantly cool to a little chilly. We relished our dinner with folk tales in the form of traditional Punjabi songs. One of our fellow travellers, who is blessed with a melodious voice, sang a song for us. This way our first night at the farm came to an end.

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
Inside of the tents.

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, Punjabi folk music, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
Folk music performance at Prakriti Farms.

A visit to a nearby Gurudwara, Anandpur Sahib and Tibbi Sahib was planned for the morning. We all left in the morning after a breakfast of delicious hot aaloo paranthas with butter. It took around an hour for us to reach the holy place, where we paid homage to the God and had Langar, a community meal of Kadhi chawal (curry and rice). Our bus journey was marked with cool weather and a drizzle outside. It was evening when we returned back to the farm and it was still raining. We were afraid that the harsh weather condition could mar the zestful Bhangra performance and bonfire that was scheduled next at the night. And again, thanks to the almighty, we had a clear sky soon. All were gathered at the venue, music was on, Bhangra had started and i could smell the barbecue snacks being cooked along with the heavenly fragrance of just wet earth. We all enjoyed the music, dance and of course the delicious meal with the drinks. The stamina and zeal of the dancers was mesmerizing, which held our eyes for almost two hours. Being a Punjabi, I couldn’t help but shake a leg with them ;) We all had a gala time and chatted till late night even when the party was over. But as all good things come to an end, this night ended too.

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, Punjabi folk dance, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
Bhangra performance on the farm.

Next morning I woke up early to have a look at the rising sun but luck didn’t favour me and it was a little cloudy for a clear view of the sun. I had to settle for a morning stroll in the farm which was quite refreshing. I could feel the cool breeze on my face, I could smell the fresh morning air, hear the chirruping birds, feel the cool wetness of dewy grass under my bare feet and see the rising sun at last! Ahh, I didn’t realize that so many of my senses were working together at the same time. I felt really alive! The whole experience was so surreal, basking in the soft light of dawn in a tranquil ambience. I really have to thank my tent-mate, Sujana, for this. 

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, Shivaliks, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
A beautiful misty morning in the Shivaliks.

Now was the time for some adventure and we got ready to leave for our small trek to a cave around a kilometer away from the farm. Sadly, the old lady who used to live and meditate there had passed away and we could just click the pictures of the cave and a temple on a nearby hill. After returning from the trek we had a dip in the farm tube well which was really soothing and rejuvenating after the tiring walk in the hot day. We had our brunch and started packing our bags for the return journey. Had tete-a-tete with the fellow travellers  and  bid adieu to our  wonderful hosts and Prakriti Farms. And I returned home with some marvelous experiences, happy memories, new friends and above all - “ A passion to travel discovered” :)

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, tube well, Shivaliks, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
A refreshing dip in the tube well.

Prakriti Farms, Punjab, forest cave, Shivaliks, organic farm, weekend getaway, India  Untravelled, offbeat travel, Chandigarh
At the forest cave in the surrounding forest.
The author studies & works in Patiala in Punjab. There are many things she loves, and travelling is one of them. Recently, she realized she loves to write too, and is trying to balance her work & travel these days as she discovers herself on the go.

For more stories off the beaten path in India, visit www.indiauntravelled.com or join India Untravelled on Facebook and Twitter. To contribute guest posts / photo essays to this blog, please send your story ideas to shivya@indiauntravelled.com

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