When I was told that we would be going for the session end picnic to Lohagarh near Badshahpur, I was not very sure if we would be going to a place I used to visit many years back, in fact, twenty-five years ago while going for a trek in the Aravali mountains. I became sure once we reached the camp, for it was indeed on a left turn from where we would take the straight road towards the Ansals Settlement on top of the Aravali range close to Baas Gaon. We used to take the short-cut climbing the sheer cliff face right next to the farm. In those days, we would park our bikes and scooters at the Sarpanch's house in Baas Gaon, and Amma, would serve us a couple of glasses of Chaach, (the sour-salted buttermilk drink that is so refreshing) prior to our climbing the mountain for our trek. My father, many many years before I was born used to go on same treks in these very mountains, and it was on one while he was accompanied by Dr.Murari, an animal vet. and a few others that they were stalked by a tiger ( I have written about the incident in my Book, 'The Andromeda Connection, A Journey in Time' which is available on Amazon). The common factor for my father and me was, of course, Amma, and her husband, whom we both knew in different eras, though. While at the Lohagarh farm, I did ask the lady who was serving us with Makki ki Roti and Sarson ka Saag (Corn flour chapatis and a mash of mustard leave) about Amma, and she told me that she was very much there - she must be more than ninety years old!
A lot has taken place in the field of transportation since the times when there were Jugads and those ubiquitous Diesel three wheelers that looked more like monsters belching out smoke while emitting a loud chest-thumping roar. There were two of these antiques at the farm house that helped us relive our memories of times when life moved at a snail's pace and we had lot's of time to laze around!
Eco-tourism is a concept that provides people in rural areas opportunities for employment. A large number of local residents are employed as chefs, guides, camel drivers, tractor drivers, and so on. A typical rural extended kitchen comes to life with guests coming in to sit on stools waiting to be served a variety of dishes, most of which are cooked in the traditional way on wood stoves in the traditional way.
While Eco-Tourism farms like Lohagarh close to Baadshahpur and Pratapgarh Farms in Jhajjar, Haryana are ideal destinations for corporates and other organized entities, families too find it convenient to take a day out at these spots, and to add to all this is the food that is provided by the farms. Besides providing various activities like Burma Bridge crossing, target practice, archery, and catapult aiming, these farms also have aviaries that may contain a few exotic species of birds, the Guinea fowl included. Well, I did try to take a few snaps of the parrots inside the enclosure, however, the wire mesh defeated the very purpose!
And if the inmates of the aviary are not interesting enough, visitors to the farm can go for a camel cart ride, a bullock cart ride, or for that effect, a tractor-trailer ride, all of them are guaranteed to give you a good shake.
Besides, if the camel ride doesn't fancy your attention, then you might as well try priming and then firing a blank at the enemy in the fort across the road! No, well I am joking as these guns are most probably dummies and might not take the load of the shot.
And if at the end of all the activities you get tired, you can always take a respite under one of the trees: