Location: Vikramgarh, Mumbai
Nestled in a tribal hamlet, a couple of hours from Mumbai, this kaleidoscopic organic farm is straight out of a postcard picture. Laden with a complete experience of the natural world and its goodness Hide Out by Hemant and Sangeeta Chhabra unfolds a lifestyle lived in harmony with nature. Sojourn in this exotic land and grab an opportunity to live and learn from the most unsullied landscape encased by farmlands and forests, escaping for a weekend, for a break or to celebrate special days in this surreal settlement.
The rooms are creatively designed for the perfect natural ambience. Dwell in spaces that open to the sky and have bricked walls, floors mopped with mud and crickets giving you company while you acquaint with the elegantly simple lifestyle. The rooms with modern amenities as well as a display of antique furniture also have attached bathrooms, except when camping where there is a common washroom facility. The four choices are
Camping: Reach out to the stars while your bed is set outdoors with flickering lamps around, covered with a mosquito net
Mud house: Floors plastered with mud and cow dung keep it cool and curtains replace the walls
Brick house: The brick house is relatively enclosed, has white washed walls with sari cloths as windows, and bamboo gate doors
Eco cottages: Spacious rooms with brick enclosures and lined with curtains.
The authentic taste the food here acquires is largely due to the olden style of slow cooking on a mud chulha. Served in hand painted pots the simple and wholesome meal usually consists of rice bhakri, jowar bhakri, five types of pickles, seasonal vegetables, papad, dal, fresh curd and coconut sweets. Dinner is similar along with corn soup and the traditional til-gul ladoos as dessert.
The calorie conscious can also indulge in fresh farm fruits like black grapes, papayas and tender muskmelons.
Foray into the nearby Jawahar town that has the tribal palace and Mahalaxmi temple-seat of Warli deity. A little ahead the coastal town of Dahanu once under Irani settlers nurtures Udwada, place of worship for the Zoroastrians. The beautiful temple has the sacred fire astonishingly kept alive for a thousand years
With plantations galore one can also lend a hand at farming activities in addition to marveling at 21 varieties of bananas, coconuts, mangoes, lettuce, cilantro and so on, six varieties of basil (Italian, fine, Thai, violet, lemon, monstrous mammoth basil) and French tomatoes. The five feet sunflowers are a superb sight.
The weekly Wednesday market is an interesting site to be, close by the potter and blacksmith can be seen at work and you can also visit the oil press and rice mill nearby. Among the various farms and poultry, the emu farm is a place to see.
You can also learn the Warli paintings, mud plastering or try your hands at brick baking and weaving a basket or making a broom. Plough the field or ride the power trailer in the day and set up a bonfire at night for stories and late night soirees.
Learn about starting up and maintaining vermicompost pits, organic fertilizers, eco friendly pesticides, drip and open canal irrigation and septic tanks.
Reston the swings and hammocks while reading your favourite book or listening to your best music or the music of nature. Here is also a waterfall stream to get soaked and hot springs around where you can tread with a camera and wind up later at Sajan Dam for the spectacular sunset.
Celebrate occasions like birthdays and weddings, or hold school and college eco camps and those keen on practicing yoga, meditation or alternative medicine, the place also hosts many such workshops sessions.
Kids can try out various innovative activities such as making bricks, brooms, baskets and flower garlands and learning to plaster mud walls.Pick fresh fruits and vegetables at the farm, and take hobby tips from the local artisans
Hide Out is a place that transfers you completely to nature and has meticulously retained the idea all over the years. It is an amalgamation of culture, tradition and environment, and about learning from all of them. Besides the activities and silent moments, hide-out can be the perfect location for a spiritual escape through meditation. It began with children’s camps over ten years back which eventually became more frequent and popular giving way to a bigger venture for getting in more people to experience the setting and lifestyle the place boasts of.
The hosts had been following ahimsa farming for more than a decade allowing the land to flower and flow unreservedly. Currently farming is practiced with fertilizers produced within the premises. The farm has been a home to the Chhabras for over 20 years. “It was the desire to come close to nature, our love for birds and fruits that made us turn this barren land into a forest in the last two decades,” adds Hemant Chhabra who has been highly inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka, Japanese farmer and philosopher.
Organic products like Italian lemons from the farm along with the many other fruits and of course the beautiful Warli paintings.
Art and craft from ParamparikKarigars.
Textiles, bags and artifacts designed by craftsmen.
Hide Out abstains from smoking, drinking, playing loud music or video games and littering. The minimal use of plastic is suggested keeping in mind the location.
Hide Out needs you to pack your own toiletries, water bottles and bed sheets for the stay abiding by their no-waste policy
Vehicles/transport can be arranged for visits to adjoining places at extra cost.
Day Trip: Rs.1,000/- per head
Weekdays: Rs.2,000/- per head
Weekend: Rs.2,500/- per head
On days of special event weekends: Rs 3,500/- per head
(Inclusive of meals)
No refunds on cancellation
Children below 4 free
Children above 4 same rate as adults
10% for senior citizens
15% discount for existing customers on room rent only.
15% discount on weekdays (except bank holidays) on room rent only