Punjab instantly takes you from its green & gold mustard fields during daytime to courtyards filled with khaats (rope beds) around a fire pit at night. People with big hearts and a simple lifestyle rule this sacred Sikh land. And it was a hunger for love that drove me right into the heart of this state.
Known as the ‘wheat bowl of the country’, farming is the heart and soul of Punjab. So I decided to explore and experience this for myself with a farm stay in the land of five rivers (“Pun” – Five; “jab” – Water).
On the Road Again
It was the first week of December of 2018 when the four of us (Vaidehi, Miloni, Surbhi & I) finally managed to take a trip together. And not the regular stereotypical holiday; this was a planned road trip with my girl gang to a quaint and peaceful location, away from the rush of city-life. We had booked a cab from Delhi to Hoshiarpur with a trusted car rental service.
We hit the road sharp at 7 am on a Friday morning. With endless chitter-chatter and a dose of fun Punjabi pop music (preparing our taste buds for the main course), we passed through Panipat, Kurukshetra & Chandigarh to finally reach Kailash Farms, at around 3 PM.
Kailash Farms – Bringing Together the Best of Farm Life
The sights & sounds of Punjab were our constant companions, as we drove on the kutcha sadak (mud road) that led us to the farm. It was mesmerizing to watch the beauty of the Shivalik hills reflected in this farm stay.
While we were all engrossed in completing the check-in formalities, Raghav Puri & his wife Sheetal Puri (owners of the farm) walked in with extraordinarily long steel glasses of the famous Punjab ki Lassi (a sweet concoction made from yogurt and water). Well, this was just the start of our pampered stay at the Kailash Farms.
Day 01: The Garden of Plenty
The crisp country air and the magnificent countryside had already won our affection, when our hosts invited us for a leisurely stroll in the garden. Nature truly unfolded its miracles with a delightful harmony of colourful flowers and soulful silence punctuated by the chirping of birds and bees. While Raghav entertained us with stories of the village and their farm stay, Sheetal got us engaged in plucking fruits & vegetables for our upcoming meals.
As the starry night took over the chirpy sunlit day, we lit up a bonfire. Having enjoyed some finger-licking Punjabi food (home grown & home cooked) and wonderful conversation, we finally called it a day; an idyllic day spent in the treasured countryside.
Day 02: Posing for Postcards
We woke up to a sensational panoramic view of the mango orchards in the farm. Over tea, we contemplated the itinerary for the day and after a sumptuous breakfast of aloo parathas loaded with makhan (white butter) – a staple diet of the land, we set off on a bicycle ride along the orchards and the dusty village lanes. As we passed through the mustard fields, we observed a couple of cheerful turban-clad men tending to their lands with utmost resolve and dedication. It was this hardwork and willpower that turned Punjab into onto one of the success stories of the green revolution- a fecund and abundant paradise from a land that was once upon a time, marshy and barren. The next fun item on our list was a tractor ride amidst the open fields. As we channelized our inner Bollywood divas, Raghav captured those candid moments on our mobile phone cameras.
Immersed completely in the pastoral pleasures of village life, we came back to the farm stay to while away our time, chatting and basking in the soft winter sun.
Once again, the day transitioned into a magical night, but this time, the episode was completely different. Sheetal invited us to experience the organic & authentic cooking style of the Punjabis. So we sat by the chulha (Indian stove) and observed the art of making those piping hot, crisp and fluffy rotis (if you can source three flattering adjectives to describe your food with ease, it’s got to be good food). Our hosts then lovingly served us some freshly prepared murabba (a sweet fruit preserve) from earthenware pots along with the world-famous makki di roti and sarson da saag with makhan (again) dripping off the plate. A hearty meal to end the day!
Day 03: A Tough Goodbye
The next morning was a gloomy one, as it was time to bid adieu to this ‘home away from home’. It was a bittersweet feeling to leave behind the peace and simple life and step back into urban existence. But like life, we too moved on, taking with us with some everlasting memories and the experience of a lifetime.