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No Man’s Land

 

...days are fairly cool and the
entire place wears a freshly
washed look after the monsoon...
 

Overview

Susheela and George moved to No Man’s Land in 2007 and have been cultivating it organically every since. They grow paddy, sugarcane, arecanut, banana, mango, pineapple, citrus varieties, ginger, turmeric, pepper, etc. They have had three daughters since they moved to No Man’s Land – Amrita, Deepika and Mridula.

A few years after they started farming they realised that it is not easy to achieve break-even through just farming. Between the vagaries of nature and the fluctuations in the market, the farmer has little or no control over the profits s/he makes regardless of the knowledge levels or scientific principles that s/he uses. They also found that other urban couples like themselves, were curious about how a farm actually works and how their food is grown. So they built a large cottage with a kitchenette and a bathroom, for families to come and stay there with them. This would help in achieving break-even as well as share a farmer’s life with urbanites.


What we've planned for you...

Fresh air, nature all around, plenty of fruit, good food and excellent company – these are just some of the simple pleasures awaiting you at No Man’s Land. Try your hand at any of the farm activities – milking the cows or buffalo, cleaning them, feeding the chicken, plucking fruit, shelling arecanut, planting and harvesting rice, weeding, harvesting sugarcane and making jaggery – you have a wide variety to choose from each day. The couple also process some of the fruits either by making chutneys and jellies or by simply sun-drying them. (Their farm produce is available for sale when you visit). You can have a tour of the farm and hear about the various organic farming and sustainable living practices that have been implemented.

Sirsi (15 km away) can be a day trip with the famous Marikamba temple, the local market, or just walking around the narrow shop-lined streets, to get a feel of small-town India. Further afield is Yana whose mysterious black stones in the midst of dense forests make you wonder about higher powers and life and such matters. Banavasi (22 Km from Sirsi) is the erstwhile capital of the Kadamba kings and the first Kannada capital from the 4th century. It still has a 9th century temple that carries within it the vibrations of the ages. Day trips to Jog Falls (58 Km from Sirsi) or even down to the pristine beaches on the coast (55 Km from Sirsi) are possible. There are also several lesser known waterfalls in the forests around the area.

When...

If you want to see it rain non-stop, visit during the monsoon between June and September. Life on a farm cannot be stilled, but activities are at a low-key during that time. Late July is when the paddy planting begins.

From October to May, the farm is continuously active and there are different activities each month. October to December is a good time when the days are fairly cool and the entire place wears a freshly washed look after the monsoon.
Food and Stay

Susheela is in charge of the kitchen and provides delicious meals that draw from the produce of the land. The food is of the region with influences from all the places she has travelled to and belonged to. She cooks using both solar power and gobar power. Remember to leave some space for the yummy dessert that is sure to follow. Susheela gets the solar cooker to churn out excellent cakes, so hope for a bright sun while you are there. There is plenty of fruit growing and based on the season, you could have your pick. Summer is the best time for fruits – mango, papaya, jackfruit, banana, guava.

There is a large cottage with a double bed and a window seat. Both offer a superb view of the arecanut, bamboo and the surrounding forest. A sit-out offers the option of an upright view. In one corner of the cottage, a kitchen has been made so that you can have your morning cuppa by yourself without disturbing the family. The spacious bathroom is modern and has running water from taps. Hot water is piped to the bathroom from the “rocket” boiler just outside. It takes about 15 minutes to get the water hot and there is plenty of it coming for a leisurely bucket bath.

Tents are available if you want to experience camping out under the stars. Sitting around a campfire on a cool night is a wonderful experience.
How to get there?

No Man’s Land is in Danandi village of Sirsi Taluka in Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka.

The nearest town is Sirsi about 15 km away. From Bangalore you can get an overnight bus to Sirsi. The nearest railway stations are Karwar or Kumta on the Konkan Railway or Haveri or Hubli on the Southern Railway. The nearest airports are Hubli about 100 km away and Dabolim in the neighbouring state of Goa. A taxi could be organised, at cost, for a pick up or drop to Sirsi, Karwar, etc.

If you are driving up, you can get detailed and precise instructions from George by email.
 

Holiday with a difference...

George and Susheela were an idealistic couple who wanted to get back to tilling the land and organically at that. They gave up their urban jobs – George is a (non-practising) IT Engineer and Susheela is an architect – to live out their idealism. They are hands-on farmers who work alongside their farm hands. Their lifestyle has been turned around so as to be more sustainable and to leave a smaller footprint on the Earth.

To make it work, they are growing a variety of crops, fruits and vegetables on their land. They keep chickens, cows and buffaloes. There are two dogs and a kitten. They have hired their neighbours to help them run the farm as it is too large for them to manage on their own.

At a time when agriculture yields have plateaued, it is rare to find someone who has gone back to the land and is working hard to ensure a decent life. At a time when the Earth is facing many crises, not least from pesticides, fertilisers and plastics, George, Susheela and their children are trying to live a life that is simpler and less burdensome on the Earth.

Surely they deserve to be encouraged in their endeavour. And if in the process, you have a good time, why not?

How Much?

The cost per person is 1500 per night. For a child between 6 and 16 years it is 750 per night.

Tariff includes: All meals and taxes

Tariff does not include:
Transport and anything not specifically mentioned

Payment details
Please pay 100% advance 72 hours before you are due to reach for confirmed bookings.

Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellation charges are 15% of the total amount before 15 days.
  • Cancellation charges within 15 days of the arrival date would be 50% of the total amount
  • Cancellations done within 7 days of arrival date would be 100% of the total amount.

These prices are valid till 31st March 2015.
Guestspeak…

" spoke to George last year (2013) and promised to visit right after the monsoons. Finally I was only able to visit in May barely a week before the next monsoons! And I am really glad that I made it.

The area around Sirsi is one of the most beautiful parts in the country. Nature has been very generous here. Driving into Sirsi town, I was struck anew by what a cute little town it is. Following George’s precise and detailed instructions, I reached in time for a meal that was a feast for all the senses. Food is served on the terrace which gives a great view of the land around. Organic food smells better and tastes better. Being lovingly served meant that I overate, for every meal.

I basically lazed around for two days, trying to write, trying to read. Between the kids and the scenery, I didn’t do any writing or reading. I slept a lot. And totally relaxed. I think a family with kids would love it here. The kids would be totally entertained and the parents could relax a bit. And I decided that I need to come back here when I am ready to write my book!

If you are interested in understanding issues related to agriculture or sustainability, both George and Susheela have been at it for eight years now and can speak from their experience. They are both gentle people, so you will have to give them the space to talk – else they are happy to listen to you prattle on.

If you are a solitary traveller like me, then you are in for a lot of peace and quiet interspersed with good company and excellent food.

I would recommend this holiday for anyone who is thinking beyond themselves and today’s consumerism. No, you may not find all the answers, but you will find fellow passengers for your journey."
  WTM
                   
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'It is not down in any map; true places never are.' -
Herman Melville

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