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Retired Couple Turn Ancestral Land into Cozy Homestay Inspired by Ancient Konkan Tradition

Priya, Pravin, and their son Prathamesh Samanth run Maachli, an eco-friendly homestay inspired by a rural Konkan tradition, where you leave the hustle and worries of the city life at the door and enter a serene world of sustainability and tradition.

Retired Couple Turn Ancestral Land into Cozy Homestay Inspired by Ancient Konkan Tradition

Pravin and Priya Samanth had spent most of their lives in the corporate world — the former as a pharmacist, and the latter in an insurance company. When the couple retired in 2009, they began thinking of what they could now set their minds to. 

As fate would have it, the answer was right before them — their 10-acre ancestral land in Sindhudurg’s Parule village in Maharashtra, where the Pravin, Priya, and their son Prathamesh had spent their entire lives. The area, surrounded by nature and plantations, had been a sense of comfort and safety for a long time. 

“What if we were to set up cottages here and invite people to book their vacations?” thought Pravin one day, sharing this idea with his wife, who was excited at the prospect of having city folk over and sharing their village culture with them.  

“That moment was the inception of Maachli,” Prathamesh tells The Better India

Maachli, an eco-friendly farm stay, encourages guests to leave the hustle of the city at the doors and walk into the world of nature. He shares a recent experience when veteran cricketer Sachin Tendulkar spent his 50th birthday at the farm stay, adding that it was a milestone for the family. And there are many more to come. 

Maachli farmstay is an eco friendly, sustainable property in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra
Maachli farmstay is an eco friendly, sustainable property in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, Picture source: Prathamesh

‘The maachli concept of rural India’

The family thought it wise to test the waters first. They decided to lease out two rooms in their house for guests who wanted to experience the authentic Konkan lifestyle. “The whole experience of being on the farm, eating traditional food cooked on the chulha, and taking a detox from their hectic lives was the highlight,” says Prathamesh. “They loved it.” 

As a hotel management professional, Prathamesh knew the ins and outs of setting up a homestay. The amazing response from the guests only fueled the family’s dreams, and Maachli was opened to the public as a fully functioning eco-friendly homestay in 2012. The years spanning 2009 to 2012 were filled with big decisions and construction of the huts and cottages, which provide for great cross ventilation and cool breeze. 

Prathamesh says the idea was always being on the same page as nature. 

A traditional Konkan feast is prepared for guests by the local women at the farmstay
A traditional Konkan feast is prepared for guests by the local women at the farmstay, Picture source: Prathamesh

“The name maachli borrows inspiration from an old concept by the same name. Farmers would build themselves these huts for getaways or as places of rest and spend months here with their families. My grandfather, a farmer himself, did this many times. So when we decided to start homestays, we wanted to imbibe this concept.” 

The idea of Maachli was to help people experience what living on an actual farm means, spending time amidst the expanse of banana, groundnut and spice trees, and leaving with a bucketload of experiences to treasure.  

Live the Konkan life to the fullest

Everything at Maachli imbues sustainability — right from the six cottages made with coconut wood and devoid of ACs to the activities planned for guests. 

Mornings begin with glorious views of the spice plantations that span for miles around the farm, while evenings end with fried Konkan snacks prepared by the local women. The core idea is for guests to get out of their rooms and into the heart of nature. The climate, too, is in favour of this.  

The cottages at Maachli are in the A frame shape and do not have any ACs due to the abundant cross ventilation
The cottages at Maachli are in the A frame shape and do not have any ACs due to the abundant cross ventilation, Picture source: Prathamesh

“As soon as people enter the premises, they experience a noticeable temperature drop. It is cool and pleasant,” notes Prathamesh. Perhaps the plantations and gardens filled with trees are to thank for this. Coconut, betel nut, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, amaranth, radish, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, and more bloom and make their way into the Konkan dishes at the homestay. 

The family also encourages guests to take a much-needed digital detox while here. 

And what is there to do with all the time on hand, you ask? Well, a lot. 

“Plantation tours are conducted where we take guests around the place and introduce them to the benefits of all the medicinal spices and plants. There are also grasslands and jungles in the area where they can simply relax or take a hike,” explains Prathamesh. 

He adds that the neighbouring pottery village is a fascinating draw, and for Rs 1,000, guests can take a class from an expert potter. For those who wish to relax or engage in water sports, there are the nearby beaches. The Bhogwe Beach is a walk from the farm stay and a secluded beach if you are looking for serenity, while the Khavane Beach is popular for water sports. 

Guests can enjoy their meals cooked the traditional way on the chulha
Guests can enjoy their meals cooked the traditional way on the chulha, Picture source: Prathamesh

No one who comes to Maachli leaves without paying a visit to the glorious Sindhudurg Fort. Standing tall near the crescent-shaped Malvan beach, the fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj around 1665. While it has seen several changes through the years, several temples in the premises are still functional and garner a lot of attention. For those who would like to spend time on the farm itself, you can learn organic farming, go for a boat ride on the backwaters and even cook your own meal on the traditional chulha.  

The spice plantations at Maachli include nutmeg, cinnamon, tea, and other plants
The spice plantations at Maachli include nutmeg, cinnamon, tea, and other plants, Picture source: Prathamesh

Geetanjali, one of the guests who spent three days at Maachli, says she couldn’t ask for a better getaway. “The cottages are elegant and tasteful and responsible tourism shines through every aspect of their hospitality, such as the dining and the amenities in the cottage. But the loveliest part about our stay at Maachli was the hospitality extended to us by the Samanth family.” 

Just the way guests love the aura and ambience of Maachli, so do Pravin and Priya. “I have grown up with trees and nature around,” says Pravin. “The trees at our farm have always been our companions. So today, when our guests enjoy the same environment, it gives us great joy.” 

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“We don’t regard this period of our life as our retired ones. Instead, we consider it as a more flourishing, focused and purposeful time,” he adds. 

Edited by Divya Sethu

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