Dreaming of a ‘total’ get away from your busy city life in Mumbai? Can’t say I blame you. Stress at the workplace, pollution, constant noise, junk food, etc. can pile on!
But fret not. You can now have a dream outing filled with beauty and bliss while empowering villagers – all without applying for leave!
For Rs 1,800 per person, enjoy a thoroughly authentic village life experience, amidst lush surroundings where you will work in paddy fields, harvest vegetables, build a ‘chulha’, and make rotis from farm-fresh produce.
All of this in one day!
A weekend getaway does not get more perfect.
Grassroutes, a community-based rural tourism enterprise, will show you how rural India lives while giving villagers access to opportunities beyond agriculture and learn of life on the outside. You get to hike to the fields, eat a Maharashtrian meal and play games that a village child plays after school is over.
A win-win on both sides.
Since 2016, founder Inir Pinheiro and his team have been working in the villages of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh to make this a daily reality.
Shreya Thaker, who has been designing itineraries for Grassroutes for the past two years, spoke to The Better India about the organisation.
“We are not into ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping). So although you will get quality tents with beds and mattresses, there will be no attached bathroom. There are no ACs and no guarantee of 24-hour electricity or water supply. That is not the aim of Grassroutes at all. You will be served delicious authentic Marathi meals but no bed tea and no buffet system. Your stay will be comfortable but not luxurious. The trips are all about interaction with communities and travelling for an intimate experience of rural life,” Shreya explains.
“We also understand that every individual wants something different. If it’s a group of young friends, you would want activities that give you some adventure, some thrill. Families with young kids would prefer activities which involve children. Couples most likely to want a relaxed day. So, our packages are tailor-made according to your tastes,” she says.
Another noteworthy factor is that the trips are led by the villagers and not the urban instructors. It won’t be a city dweller telling another city dweller how rural life works. That gives your vacation another mark in the authenticity box.
“We have stitched itineraries blending your activities and the activities that a villager would do in that particular season. It is to ensure you have fun without disrupting the life of your host,” Shreya explains.
A village guide will be assigned to you as soon as you enter the village. If she or he has to work in the field the day you arrive, you are free to join them in an impromptu manner.
But there are also curated activities, like woodcutting, to keep things moving along.
Participants can also get involved in making bhakris (similar to rotis), cleaning a cowshed etc.
(Have you ever layered a floor with cow dung? It’s surprisingly fun!)
You can also walk the cattle to their grazing fields, learn about medicinal plants straight from the farmer who cultivates them, get involved in woodwork or Warli painting workshops or volunteer to play a game with the school kids.
Or just relax in the fresh air that the lush forests have to offer.
The locations have infrequent to no internet connection. So there will be no check-ins or Instagram live updates – just a complete break from your regular life.
You can check out the itinerary, destinations and prices by clicking on this link. Happy travels!
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)