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TBI Blogs: How a Himalayan Farm Retreat in Uttarakhand Is Encouraging Reverse Migration of Farmers

From reviving abandoned villages to encouraging reverse migration of farmers, this community in the Lower Himalayas is combining Rural, Eco-, and Agro-Tourism to bring about development alongside ecologically responsible means.

Have you ever longed to escape to a place that would take you far far away from the madding crowd, and the hustle and bustle of your city life? Then The Goat Village in Tehri, Uttarakhand ought to be on your travel bucket list.

The Nag Tibba Trek is today one of the most popular treks in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas, and is fast catching on as the ideal weekend trek from Delhi, given that it is only 57 kms. from Mussoorie. It also attracts mountaineering and trekking enthusiasts for the thrill of scaling the highest peak of the Lesser Himalayas. Halfway along this trek route from the village of Pantwari is The Goat Village. Of the many initiatives by The Green People to revive abandoned villages in Uttarakhand and encourage reverse migration of farmers, The Goat Village is one.

This Himalayan farm retreat boasts of traditionally curated Garhwal homes built only from wood, mud, and the slate that chips and falls off the mountains. It is a little village of wooden cottages nestled in the mountains, where to touch the clouds, all you have to do is extend your hand.

With no electricity or Wi-Fi to distract you with updates every few minutes, that is just what you end up doing.

Agro Tourism at The Goat Village
Traditional Garhwali cottages at The Goat Village.
Agro Tourism at The Goat Village
The Cafeteria, which also doubles up as a polyhouse where organic vegetables are grown.
Agro Tourism at The Goat Village
With the clouds within touching distance, the moon rises as the sun sets.

With this initiative, The Green People offer travellers an interesting destination to escape the mundane, and a chance to experience a “Happier Himalayan Village”, as they call it, in the most earthy and ecologically responsible way possible.

Agro Tourism at The Goat Village.
Sunrise view from the cottage.
Agro Tourism at The Goat Village
Wild flowers in the rustic bathroom.

Through this model of agro tourism, they are also bringing development to these remote areas in a way that the locals themselves are involved.

From getting trained in the hospitality sector before starting work at any of The Goat Village properties in the mid- and lower Himalayan regions, to farming and goat rearing at the village itself, the locals are every bit a part of this process. In addition to this, The Green People also procure the farm produce from other local farmers to promote them, along with their own organic Himalayan products under their brand Bakri Chaap, giving these people of the mountains a fair shot at staying back and taking up occupations that are gradually becoming redundant.

They also want to bring back indigenous crops and plants slowly fading away due to lack of commercial value. Eventually, they also hope to bring back the all but obsolete traditional ways of farming.

Guests staying here can also join the farmers in the village to indulge in some agro-tourism.

Agro Tourism at The Goat VIllage
A mother and son from one of the local farmer families living and working at The Goat Village.
Agro Tourism at The Goat Village
Cherry tomato plants inside the Cafeteria.
Agro Tourism at The Goat VIllage
A breakfast of sandwiches made from home-cooked finger millet bread, raw vegetables, and the local wild mint.

So, do off-beat places call to you? Are you someone who wants a bit of adventure in your holiday? Then, the trek to Nag Tibba with a stop over at The Goat Village would be just about perfect. You can also volunteer here for an extended period of time in any capacity. Become the guest manager, get involved in their marketing, or simply become an organic farmer and get closer to nature.

“Some of us here volunteer for the love of the hills,” their website proudly proclaims. In fact, you must sign eco-tourism norms and guidelines before you can stay or volunteer at The Goat Village.

Explore agro-tourism opportunities or volunteer at The Goat Village on their website.

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Neeharika Satyavada is an award-winning travel photographer & writer blogging at Map In My Pocket.