yellow periscope farmstay maachli plantation konkan malvan roadtrip

Konkan farm stay – Meet the real life with nature

While ideas for a trip were being discussed and google searches done, Mahesh found a farmstay near the Malvan coast that looked promising. This involved a long road drive and being near the sea. It had been 6 months since our Kolhapur road trip, so for the yellowperiscope team another one was on the cards. Thus, the plan for going to Maachli was passed. As soon as we browsed their website www.maachli.in and read about the concept behind it, we knew it added another dimension to the road trip; that of experiencing a real living with nature.

Growing up in India, I often visited family friends or distant relatives in different cities and stayed over at their homes and vice versa. During the stay, we got to know them, their lives and of course they cooked amazing stuff for us! Some of them owned farms and visiting the farm was always a fun getaway. I was particularly looking forward to experiencing the joy of that earthy and simple life again.


The road to No-Network-Land

Our exciting but demanding drive to Maachli farmstay started in the morning from Mumbai, continued through Mumbai-Bangalore highway and then got us to Amboli ghat by the time it was pitch dark. We were driving through mountains on one side and a hollow on the other, where the not to be seen valley was, along with approaching headlights on high beam!

yellow periscope road trip maachli konkan malvan farmstay google map

Once we descended the ghat (a mountain pass), crossing into the lowlands, we sensed the sights and sounds changing. We were now driving through narrow roads, complete silence, silhouettes of coastal trees on both sides and an occasional vehicle passing us. Prathamesh, our host, called us for final driving instructions and informed us that we will soon lose mobile network connectivity. Though, offline google maps contributed to the excitement as countdown to location continued. Every 15 or 20 minutes, a little hut with a small light or a deserted village square would appear, confirming that we were amidst civilization.

yellow periscope roadtrip konkan malvan villages
An outcome of driving into the countryside, is immersion into an idyllic pace and a time slowdown that happens around you.

Transporting to a different scenario

Maachli, our farmstay is like a hidden getaway, located in a remote part of the village with no signage or boards around. But following our hosts instructions we soon reached our destination, a house on the Sagari Mahamarg, near Parule village. We were escorted with torches, through steps leading into a farm. Then a small stream with a bridge appeared.

maachli farmstay yellow periscope konkan road trip plantation betelnut trunk bridge
This bridge was hand built with betelnut trunks from the plantation and looked straight out of The Jungle Book! Like a video game, in a few moves, we were magically transported to another universe.

On the other side of this magical bridge was a shaded hut (the dining area), a dense plantation and cricket sounds. We reached a well and then steps made of stone led us to a beautiful and welcoming cottage.


Build local, think global.

The name of the farmstay is inspired by Maachli, a word native to Konkan, for huts made by local farmers to store produce and stay on the farm. It is living with what they do for a living.

The design is based on this idea. The cottage is a triangular structure that uses local materials like laterite stone (locally known as chira) and wood. The high ceiling along with innovative natural ventilation keeps the room cool and there is no need for air conditioning. The triangular structure also provides good waterproofing, an important feature for this area that receives high rainfall during the monsoon.

yellow periscope place to stay maachli farmstay road trip konkan india

 

The makers of Maachli decoded the divide that exists for urban travelers – while we want local experiences of staying on a farm and country living, not many of us are really prepared to let go of our western toilets, the shower consoles and hotel style beds. So they came up with what is a good example of glocal design.

 

yellow periscope farmstay maachli konkan malvan roadtrip cottage sitout easy chairs

My favorite getaway images: A sit-out area with easy chairs, surrounded by a forest, with a stream flowing nearby and cup of tea.

yellow periscope farmstay maachli plantation konkan malvan roadtrip

yellow periscope farmstay maachli dining area plantation konkan malvan roadtrip


Waking up to a ‘screen saver’

After a sleep that should follow a very long drive, we woke up next morning, refreshed. We woke up to bird sounds. And woke up to a huge window with a view that brought the farm inside.

yellow periscope farmstay maachli konkan malvan roadtrip cottage window
Dhruv looked at it and said, “this looks like a screen saver”. The window-wall is another modern feature fused into the structure that reaches right upto the ceiling and makes it room-with-a-view.

During our stay, we spotted many birds that Mahesh helped us identify. The malabar pied hornbill, kingfisher, Indian pheasant crow (bharadwaj) or greater coucal, shahi bulbul, fork tailed drongos, golden oriole at the farm and last but not the least, a white bellied sea eagle at the nearby Nivati beach, were some of the species we spotted. The night sky here, is a perfect place for stargazing, if you are into it.

yellow periscope farmstay maachli roadtrip konkan india
Maachli’s farm mainly has coconut, beetlenuts, banana, mango, kokum, jackfruit along with spices and herbs with a stream flowing through the property. A walk around the farm revealed other cottages, positioned to offer privacy to each, and a well that provided fresh spring water for drinking .

Malvani food – the fame is well deserved.

The food from this region is called Malvani food and it has earned its place as a separate cuisine on restaurant menus. We got the real taste of homemade and authentic recipes. Although the cuisine is famous for its seafood, we were delighted to discover how flavorful the vegetarian dishes made from farm-fresh produce were.

yellow periscope farmstay konkan india malvani cuisine food kitchen local

yellow periscope farmstay konkan india malvani cuisine food kitchen local

yellow periscope farmstay konkan india malvani cuisine food kitchen local ghavne

yellow periscope farmstay konkan india food kitchen jars earthen organic local

I also noticed that earthen pots were used to serve the food along with wooden spoons and lids. I noticed beautiful coconut ladles being used to serve the food. The drinking water served to us in the room was stored in a copper vessel, an Indian tradition that is known to infuse medicinal properties to the water.


Local experiences

When interacting with the host family, there is a wealth of stories and knowledge about their local culture that I gathered. Their son, Prathamesh told us about the farm and the activities they organize. We made short trips to charming towns and pristine beaches, nearby. In the evening we went for a walk in the village. And much to the surprise of villagers, Mahesh went for a jog. Dhruv did not like the idea of sharing a farm stay with insects. But the bridge and trips around the farm were a big hit. The food was relished by all three of us .

yellow periscope farmstay maachli konkan malvan roadtrip hosts mr mrs samant
Our host, Mr. Pravin Samant or ‘Bhaiyya Samant’ as he’s known in the village, told us how he meticulously built this place, over 25 years, all by themselves on land that was owned by his family for generations.

We visited Maachli in the first week of June. So, on our last evening, when we were driving back from the Vengurla port nearby, the rain gods decided to smile, then thundered and lastly showered us with a downpour that announced the arrival of the Indian monsoon. That night at the farm was full of different sounds, mainly the loud sound of toads, almost like a bark.

After the thrilling rain drive, when we were back to the farm, Mahesh went for a jog in the rain. One of the cooks at the farms kitchen spotted him on the village road, and could not restrain herself from questioning “why are you are running in this rain?” And he answered, “because I don’t get to do this in Mumbai”.


yellow periscope farmstay maachli dining area plantation konkan malvan roadtrip

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

-Henry Miller

 

8 Comments

  1. Very Nice Sapna! Write more..

    1. Thank you for reading and liking the blogpost, Itishree! Will surely write more.

  2. Sapna, Thank you for sharing! Wonderful pictures, captions and the journey!
    Such a beautiful retreat and would love to experience it some day!
    Pooja

    1. Thank you for visiting the blog Pooja. So happy to know you enjoyed reading the post. Hope you visit this place soon…

  3. Wow Sapna, beautifully written. Gave me the experience as if I was seeing and experiencing all of this.

    1. Thank you Amita for visiting my blogpost. I am delighted to know you liked it!

  4. superb writeup Sapna….vividly described..readers get a feel that we are visiting the place firsthand…excellent writing skills.Amazing photography…clarity and minute details are captured beautifully…no wonder you both are ARTISTS..keep it up!

    1. Rajashree, thank you so much for all the compliments!! Your continuous feedback and encouragement has kept me motivated to go on. After every article, I am always looking out for your comments now 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *