Before the intense summer heat could take its toll on us, our team decided to have a team retreat in the hills. What better place for this than the land of the Gods? Hence, the destination was chosen to be the state of Uttarakhand where many of our farmer partners reside.
As the Shatabdi train approached the Kathgodam station, we could see the magnificent hills of the region. We made the journey to Ranikhet from there in a car admiring the beauty of nature in the hills, valleys, and rivers. We stayed at a homestay where the view from our windows was ethereal and the quiet of the place was soul-satisfying. We were accompanied by chilling rainfall at night when we went to meet one of our farmer partners and had a delicious traditional Pahadi dinner.
On the second day, we met with one of our women farmer groups and had a tour of their fields while getting to know their stories. We were caught in rain and a hailstorm mid-morning and ended up going back to our homestay for shelter. The chamomile fields that we visited afterwards seemed to be calling us to them with their distinct fragrance from far.
We reached Bhikiyasain by nightfall where we stayed at a guest house by the river bed. This place was warmer and we were looking forward to visiting some new farmer groups here. After an early morning trekking expedition, we set out to visit 2 women farmer groups who were growing the famous Lakhori chilli. We talked to them to get to know more about them, the state of agriculture in the area and about how we can partner with them.
After a long day, our team bonded over games of taboo and chausar before having an amazing Pahadi dinner. The next day, we bid goodbye to the hills with a promise of coming back soon. We were soon on the train watching the landscape change from the hills to plains with the stories of farmers etched in our hearts.
Devbhoomi was beautiful, and so were its people.