Himachal Pradesh farm and orchard stays
Nurtured by swift mountain rivers and blessed with fertile land and a condusive climate, the state of Himachal Pradesh is filled with fruit orchards and farms growing a range of grains and vegetables. The entire state is stunningly beautiful and so all the hotels and homestays here are primarily set in picturesque settings. However, there's something extra special about the hotels and homestays set in orchards, farms and even a tea estate! Check them out:
1. Banjara Orchard Retreat, Thanedar near Shimla
Beautiful Thanedar is a land of fruit orchards, undulating mountains and valleys and with heart-stopping views of high peaks. This is where Satyanand Stokes first successfully cultivated apples in India and is among the prettiest places you can visit. On a mountain slope, amidst acres of apple and cherry orchards, is Banjara Orchard Retreat, run by Banjara Camps & Retreats. The lodge offers 10 rooms and suites, including two log cabins. The log cabins are extra special as they have attics—something children (and even adults) will truly enjoy. Going on walks amoung the orchards—the region grows pear, cherry, almond, apple, peach plum, walnut and other fruits—is among the most pleasant experiences one can enjoy.
2. Himalayan Orchard, Rukhla near Shimla
Located in the village of Rukhla, 65km from Shimla, in the Kotkhai-Jubbal-Rohru apple belt between the Pabbar and the Sutlej Rivers, Himalayan Orchard is a self-sustaining, eco-friendly farmstay. The farmstay is set in one of the oldest apple orchards in the area. The farmstay offers four ensuite bedrooms and two basic singles, which are a separate unit. There’s also a self-catering wing. The farm grows numerous fruits and vegetables and keeps cows, goats and chickets. So expect lots of homemade jams, juice, pickles, preserves, ghee, butter, yoghurt, cheese and bread! Plus local Himachali food made of produce fresh off the farm. Guests can join in the cooking.
3. The Lal Kothi, Raison near Manali
The Lal Kothi, nestled in the Kullu Valley amidst fruit orchards with views of soaring mountains and tree covered valleys, is that quintessential retreat that those in love with mountains dream of. Lal Kothi, built in 1941, is a great example of the ‘kat-kooni’ Himachali style of architecture, with its 20-inch thich stone and mud walls and heavy use of the wood. The building is wonderfully preserved. The homestay offers just four rooms, all comfortable and offering great views of the surrounding orchards. Expect delicious meals made of ingredients from the organic vegetable and herb garden or sourced from the local markets. Also, expect home made jams and pickles. The idea of a stay here is to be far from the crowds and enjoy being in the lap of nature.
4. Peepal Farm, near Dharamshala
Peepal Farm, located in the village of Dhanotu near Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, is a stray animal rescue center, no-till organic farm, a smallscale social enterprise selling vegan products including food and a farmstay all rolled into one. Travellers who are aligned to the philosophy of Peepal Farm or are interested in it can stay in the farmstay as guests or stay and volunteer with the rescued animals, in the organic farm or help with the vegan product line. The idea is not just to share your knowledge and learnings but also to learn from those working here and from the villagers who are associated with Peepal.All the meals provided at the farm are healthy, clean and vegan!
5. The Lodge at Wah, Palampur
Set in the green rolling hills of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh with glorious views of snow capped peaks, The Lodge at Wah is an eco-friendly but glamorous plantation stay in an organic tea estate. The Lodge has eight ensuite rooms spread across three cottages—all made of eco-friendly materials like wood, slate and mud. The Lodge, set in 500 acres of land, uses only organic and local produce in the crafting of meals here, with the Lodge’s farm growing everything from wheat to vegetables and herbs. Expect the dining tables to be laden with seasonal homemade jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces and juices. The meals are meant to showcase local and seasonal produce and a premium is placed on the Kangra style of cooking, though pan-Indian and European dishes too find their way into the menu.