The school was to close only for a week starting New Year and the man had to take his leaves before year end which would otherwise lapse. That’s when we spoke to the teachers and got their nod for taking two days off without much pending work stress for the daughters.

As always the man gave me three choices and asked me to check out the reviews and get back to him with a few hotels and their reservation charges. From Jodhpur to Jaisalmer to Udaipur to Jaipur, we finally zeroed down on Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. Why? Only because of Golden Creepers Farm Retreat which the husband had noticed on some of his friends’ timelines.

We stayed for three nights at this boutique property near Gurgaon. Just 12 kilometers from Gurgaon and about 4 kilometers to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is this lush green farm spread over 45 acres of land.

A farm by all means. Don’t expect the luxuries of air-conditioners and electric water heaters. Room heaters are provided in the tents and hot water is provided as and when requested.

They have a few rooms and a good number of Swiss Style cottage tents to make your stay cozy, comfortable as well as adventurous. Though we love staying in tents, late Decembers in Delhi can make anyone change plans. Daljeet was thoughtful enough to offer us their lavish cottage which they refer to as Baithak (Lounge in English) because we were accompanied by kids. 

That’s Baithak, their ancestral remain that they are still preserving. Hygienic linen and clean bathrooms are a must for us and we were not disappointed at all.

Farm stay is something we enjoy as a family. The commotion of the city is extremely chaotic. So this was the perfect place for a family like ours who wanted to spend the new year away from the mayhem.

As you can see there’s enough to keep the children busy and active. And there’s enough for a budding photographer to sharpen their photographic observations and techniques. You’ll slowly know what I mean.

I was telling Daljeet that he should get the farm declared as a mini bird sanctuary. They have resident owlets  (about five of them) and a resident peacock family.

Apart from these resident family members they also have many guests that grace their farm with their beautiful presence.

Indian Grey Hornbill

Pied Bushchat

Fork-tailed Drongo

Red-wattled Lapwing

White-throated Kingfisher

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Indian Roller

White Wagtail

Hoopoe

Hoopoe

Red-vented Bulbul

Black Redstart

Indian Peafowl

Food is another concern while travelling. You can imagine our delight when we munched on this farm fresh organic meal.

 

A perfect balanced diet. That salad says it all. Juicy and pure organic stuff. And what’s not to like about those three different kinds of hot chapattis (wheat, corn and maize) that my namesake served me with.

We just kept hogging on all that delicious food plus the finger-lickingly delicious snacks that were served around the bonfire in the chilly winter breeze in the evenings. These angithis used to keep the food warm took us back to our time with our grandparents when natural resources were still used for cooking and cooking ranges, LPG and CNG were unheard of.

But the best thing about our stay was what the girls learnt. Going Back to Basics. Advancement has been misused and health has been taken for a ride. It is in these farms that you learn why you should promote organic. The fresh produce that is grown organically is something we city-dwellers miss. And thus our health has gone for a toss.

Be it milk, veggies, cereals, pulses, eggs or poultry, everything is organic. What I love about farms is that it is a ‘Zero Waste’ project. Absolutely eco-friendly. Something we want our children to learn. The touch of soil is so soothing and refreshing.

Kitchen waste goes into composting or as fodder. Paddy, Wheat, Carrot, Cauliflower, Radish, Turnip and other leaves get consumed by the rabbits, cows and buffaloes. Milk, ghee, Paneer, Dahi and all from home-fed cattle. Dung used for manure and dung cakes for cooking and bonfire.

And such a huge setup will not function effectively enough without personal involvement. That’s where Daljeet and his parents, Mr.& Mrs. Ajit Singh Kataria, play a vital role. Their energy, enthusiasm and determination is what is behind the warm hospitality that you enjoy in this serene village-like atmosphere. I was mighty impressed by the way both uncle and aunt kept themselves busy in the overall functioning and maintenance of the farm. Their hard work and positive outlook towards life is infectious.

Daljeet and his lovely family made our stay absolutely homely and  our New Year a memorable one. The children bonded so well that I was free enough to enjoy my stay around the place.

Stay tuned for the next post on the migratory birds at Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. A Birwatcher’s paradise indeed.