While on a trip to Pune with my family, we decided to take a road trip to Panchgani. While searching for accommodation, I found out a farm house named Redstone Organic Farms, the pictures were enough to convince my family for staying there. The farmhouse has an English touch to it, additionally it’s made with the idea of sustainable architecture. Without much of discussions we proceeded with the booking, and our host Mona Patrao confirmed the booking and coordinated with us about the directions and about the check-in procedures.
Finally, the day had come and we left from Pune around 9 in the morning and I drove myself, so couldn’t take much photographs. It took us almost 4 hours to reach Panchgani with several stoppages for breakfast, for fresh sugarcane juice and what not!
The farmhouse is situated in between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar and has direct access to the main road. The first look of the farmhouse gave me a feel of old houses from western films. On entering the main gate we were welcomed by their pet dog. The entrance to the house is just beside the farm’s barn, they have two cows living there. Beside the barn is their organic farm. And on another side is a stair that leads to the hallway of the house.
On the upper deck, there’s a huge balcony which overlooks the western ghats, it’s a zone of pure tranquility, with a wind chime rhyming to the pristine scenery, a hammock to bring out the boho soul in you and what not. Beside the balcony there’s a small library, or should I call the whole house a library, because it’s filled with books in every corner, for every kind of readers. There is a huge kitchen cum dining room which has supplies like no where, and an age old dining table with benches.
We entered the house and found our host Mona in the dining hall, having her lunch, she has a very welcoming attitude towards her guests, she stood up and offered us water and strawberries and showed us the way to our room. The rooms there don’t have attached bathrooms except one. The room with the attached bath costs a bit more than the others.
We spent the afternoon having beer and I lazed in the hammock witnessing the sunset.
In the evening we were off to Mahabaleshwar, which is just 14 kilometres away from the farmhouse, we spent the evening in the bustle of Mall Road. Later we took away dinner and had it in the age old dinner table, it surely gave an old gothic feel. After dinner we played couple rounds of Monopoly, and called it a night.
Next morning, Mona insisted on taking us for a farm tour, and we couldn’t refuse to it. She took us through the history of the farmhouse, how it had started and how she chose it over going abroad with her husband. She’s given all her life into this farm, and she wants people to know what’s happening in commercial agriculture, and how farmers can refrain from it and stop relying on big shots for buying seeds as they can produce it themselves, heirloom seeds, which can be replanted, unlike the ones the farmers are buying right now.
She also showed us how she is using the excreta of the cows for the production of manure. She even has a bio gas plant, which is used for running geysers, and cooking. One of the most amazing thing which we came to know from this farm tour is that they don’t have any man made boundary walls, rather they’ve planted Shikakai (Acacia concina) trees all around to make natural boundaries as they have thorns, and another thing is they use the shikakai to make natural soap, shampoo, dish washing liquid and what not. It’s really amazing how she doesn’t use anything that contains chemical and for that she has alternatives for everything. The whole farm house has not been painted, because it contains chemicals, rather they have got walls covered with cow dung which restricts fungus and bacteria. There are numerous more instances where her idea of organic farming and Eco living is reflected. Her basic idea remains to be Living Simple, Living Happy.
It’s really astounding how she has almost single handedly made this farmhouse what it is, she went against all the odds to stand where she is today, definitely inspiring!
Did you get inspired by this story of determination? Do you want to work with her for a short period on an internship? She would take care of your staying and fooding, you need to help her in her work and you get to learn about eco living and organic agriculture. Oh! You get amazing strawberries and serene views too! You can comment below if you’re interested.
If you want to stay here, contact me and I’ll forward you the details.
Drop your views on this piece below!
Till we meet next time! 😉