Karthik Ramaraj quit his New Zealand job to move with his wife to a place closer to nature, setting up the Velanga Homestay amid a mango orchard, which he built on a barren piece of land.
While working as a marketing professional in New Zealand, Bengaluru-native Karthik Ramaraj came across a book that forever changed his perspective. ‘The One Straw Revolution’ by Masanobu Fukuoka inspired him to live close to nature, and he quit his job to return to his home country in 2009.
Later, Karthik bought a piece of land in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, with the idea to create a farmstay. His little work experience in an apple orchard helped him build a beautiful orchard filled with coconut trees and paddy.
Velanga Homestay, owned by Karthik and his wife Nikita Dawar, is made of second-hand roof tiles, antique furniture, and other sustainable items. The stay welcomes at least 25 guests per month and provides them with interesting activities like pottery workshops, bicycle rides in the forest, swimming and kayaking.
Out of the total 50 acres, 30 acres is reserved for cultivation of trees and vegetables. Around 40 per cent of the food needs of the homestay is met by the farm itself.
“Guests can explore the surroundings, relax, come visit the pottery studio, and bask in nature, with clean air and clear skies. If guests are thirsty, there is always a glass of freshly juiced toddy available,” says Nikita, who conducts slow pottery classes too.
The couple plans to turn the space into a fruit forest with over 20 varieties of fruit trees.