When fellow blogger Rutavi from PhotoKatha recommended a quaint homestay in the remote village of Mawphlang during my trip to Meghalaya, India; I wasn’t really sure what to expect. So, with zero expectations, my hubby and I made the journey from Guwahati to Shillong and then eventually to Mawphlang.
Even after very clear directions provided to us, we lost our way. However, after an hour of wandering around acres of farm land, we found a stream which led up to where we were staying – Maple Pine Farm. As soon as we saw the place, we immediately fell for it. It was love at first sight.
Picture this – two lovely dogs running around open fields surrounded by streams on either side and greenery as far as the eyes could see; sheep and cows scattered across the horizon which was dotted with tiny cottages; solar panels, windmills and colorful cabins for our stay – Who wouldn’t jump with joy at this sight? Coming from a big city and always yearning for the great outdoors, I sure did! So, not only was it a lovely cozy farm but also self sustaining with very low impact on the environment.
This was my first real experience living on a farm. Surely I have visited farms in villages and seen big city style farm houses but this was something right out of a fairytale. Several treks, fresh mountain air and heck you could even see the milky way at night. In Delhi, I can barely spot the ‘dog star’, so now you know why Jo is always wandering!
Our Cozy Cabin at Maple Pine Farm
Our cute cozy cabin at this amazing farm stay in remote Mawphlang village in north east India. The village is enroute from Shillong to Cherrapunji and offers scenic valley views. The farm stay in itself is the perfect peaceful retreat for travelers (not tourists). Thanks to @rutaagayire for this kick ass recommendation. #farm #farmstay #northeastIndia #shillong #cherrapunji #village #nature #farmhousestyle #farmlife #meghalaya #meghalayadiaries #incredibleindia #offbeat #travelingourplanet #cabinporn #travelblogger
I literally squealed with joy when I saw our colorful green cabin and even more so when I opened the door to our room. Clean, cozy and cute were the three words that immediately popped into my head. A small double bed and two bamboo chairs were snuggled up in this tiny space. What I totally flipped on, was the attic above the bed. Yes, this wasn’t all, there was a lovely ladder leading up to a single bed with two portholes. How adorable is that?
Plus, I could totally see a black cow grazing by the stream from one of the round windows on top. I was in love with this place but there was more…
Food at Maple Pine Farm
Yup! Apart from the awesome views, cute room and the fact the farm is totally sustainable, the food was simply out of the world. Breakfast was included in our tariff of $20 per night with a choice of french toast, pancakes, eggs, sandwiches and the likes.
We made it a point to eat dinner at the farm itself. Their pork BBQs, mashed potatoes, soups and salads were delectable. In fact, so much so that we extended our stay for one more night (just so we could squeeze in another flavorsome BBQ).
Mawphlang Sacred Grove
With so many options to trek around the village, we decided to take a day tour to Dawki and Mawlynnong on day 1 and explore more of Mawphlang the next day. Sacred forest of Mawphlang was our choice for that day and it was just what the doctor ordered.
Gulping in fresh mountain air and crossing our usual stream, we started our steep hike up to the sacred forest. With the faithful farm dog in tow, we set off to conquer the hill and enjoy fantastic views of the valley below.
It took us around an hour of lazy hiking to reach the top. We stopped to enjoy our victory and soak in the epic 360 degree views. Then, we were approached by a local tour guide and informed that no one can enter the sacred grove without a guide. This is correct as you need to be very careful in the sacred forest and not take anything out – not even a twig, nor leave anything behind. As responsible travelers, we need to understand these basic rules of the jungles and even more so if they have been used for sacred animal sacrifice over the ages.
We saw an amazing variety of flora – trees, flowers, shrubs, orchids and then some interesting add-on’s like lady bugs, mushrooms and ofcourse the burial stones. Yes, we even saw the exact stones where red-brown bulls were sacrificed to bring good luck to the village. It is being said that after the sacrifice, if the villagers saw a leopard it meant the sacrifice was successful. Isn’t it so very interesting to learn about these ancient forms of worship and the stories attached to them?
The entire experience was very rewarding for us. We also wanted to do the David Scott trail but with lack of time, we have kept it in the back-burner in hopes that we make it back there for this amazing trek one day.
At the end of our three nights, we still didn’t want to leave Maple Pine and Mawphlang, but since it was my first time in north-east India, I wanted to make the most of it by exploring as much as I could possibly squeeze into my short 12 day trip.
Our hosts James and Valerie were truly amazing – Always smiling and ensuring we had a comfortable stay. They do have some rules and if you are just a tourist looking for a place to party or expect to be visiting a resort, let me tell you now – this is NOT the place for you.
If, however, you enjoy being close to nature in a peaceful environment and respect your hosts, do visit Maple Pine and I promise you will have an enjoyable stay. To book, simply email them at – [email protected] but first read this to understand what the farm stands for and their simple rules.