There comes a time in everyone’s life when all you want to do is slow down, hold yourself up, and take a stock of circumstances to stop your head from spinning. Even though I am a city person through & through, the endless work (32 weekends working & counting!) & unexpectedly quicker advent of heat had me clamouring for a quick escape. While a REAL holiday looked unrealistic, the Husband and me relented and accepted an invitation to visit an Organic Farm Resort – Dyo – nestled in Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand. And boy, was that a good decision!
With excessively busy lives, a quick getaway that you can fit over an extended weekend sounds just about perfect. Though not bound by tyranny of weekdays or weekends, we planned our trip beginning the last Monday of March. Early in the morning, we raced to New Delhi Railway Station & boarded Kathgodam Shatabdi express at 06:00 hours. While Mukteshwar can also be reached by driving down from Delhi, if you are a train enthusiast like Sheldon Cooper (or my Husband) the ride is pretty comfortable and scenic for most part. By 12:00, we had reached the quaint little station of Kathgodam and boarded a cab to finish the rest of the journey. Passing through Bhowali, Bhimtal, & numerous small villages, we reached Dyo at 14:00 hours – just slightly over half a day. The sharp contrast in the locales was immense though. Not just in the physical surroundings, but in the way of living too, life in Mukteshwar couldn’t be further off than the quick pace in Delhi.
Spread over 125 Acres, which is quite a lot in hills, Dyo – or Heaven in sanskrit – is aptly named. A boutique property, it never can be overcrowded since there are just five rooms done up keeping in mind a basic element of nature each. On arrival to Dyo, we were welcomed by a pleasant short walk that leads up to the main building, lined up on both sides by various fruit trees and herbs. Even though the cities are already reaching boiling points, Mukteshwar is cool and pleasant. The warmth of Sun during day is actually welcome and nights are cool enough to sit beside a bonfire while gazing at the endless stars.
Dyo has an abundance of apple, peach, apricot, plum & walnut trees which – though not laden with fruits yet – were in various stages of flowering already. Inside the greenhouse is a different story though. Right beside an old abandoned stone cottage that I fell in love with, is Dyo’s greenhouse.
Teeming with fresh peas, all sort of herbs – basil, thyme, rosemary, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, potatoes, tomatoes and a host of other vegetables – it is a wonderland grown with love – & organically too! We pulled up a few vegetables we were keen on, and the chef turned them into a delectable meal.
Speaking of, whether you crave authentic pahadi thali, or Chinese, Thai or Mexican fare – the chefs present you with a fresh meal bursting with flavours. Of course, the varied cuisines are not always absolutely authentic. Nonetheless, the flavours are quite enjoyable and the meals hearty and healthy. Accompanying chutneys, pickles & preserves – lime was my favourite while the Husband was partial to the Rhododendron that the owner made fresh right before us – elevate the entire meal experience.
No matter what your holiday style is, Mukteshwar has something for everybody. We enjoyed a sunset at a gorgeous point at Dyo one day and headed out to Choli ki Jaali for another the next.
Jungle walks (supervised though, for snow Leopards are aplenty and commonly sighted), cycling, bonfire, relaxing on the swings, stargazing, humming songs beside a bonfire or reading – there is so much to do and so much peace prevailing that it makes for the perfect weekend.
While I hopped, skipped and jumped reaching out for wind chimes and chased butterflies, the Husband picked up his camera and ran around clicking locals, different varieties of flowers and even stars. Major plus? I even scored THE Baal Mithai from local sweetmeats shop!
The best time to go to Dyo is honestly anytime. You can escape the brutal heat now, run in the fruit orchards during May/June or even have fun in snow in colder months. Depending on what you want, there is always an option to entertain you.
What set apart Dyo for us was not just the business model but the way all the people working on the farm are treated as family too. Each person has been given a house on the property itself to reside in and their children’s education too is taken care of by the resort management. In addition, they are each allotted area to till for their personal benefit. So they can grow their own food, or sell the extra produce – whatever they deem fit. Now that is a work environment that keeps the employees happy and it was apparent in the way they treated us, the guests, in return. Never have I seen more genuine, involved and polite staff ever.
What – Dyo Organic Resort
Where – Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand
How to get there – 6 hours on train from Delhi, 1.5 from there in a cab
Nearest Airport – Pantnagar
WHY – Organic food, farming for your own meals, large, isolated area, fresh air, birds & flowers, fresh fruits, jungle walks, peace, great weather AND beautiful sunset views & stargazing.
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