Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
We were a group of 12 friends, setting out from Bengaluru, eager and excited about a weekend stay at Barekal Farmstay. We had researched online and froze upon this mix of a homestay and a farm. It promised to be an experience to remember! Setting off on Friday afternoon by the Yeswantpur – Shivamogga express train, we were received at the Shivamogga railway station by a tempo traveler, arranged for by Vikram Udupa, the gracious host at Barekal Farmstay. A 70 kms drive ensued as we reached the Farmstay at 10:00 p.m, where there was hot and homely food awaiting us. The silence and the beauty of the night sky kept us company as we retired for the night after dinner. We found the rooms to be spacious, clean and well equipped for all of us to be comfortable.
The next day morning, the beauty of the Western Ghats and the farms greeted us. Some of us accompanied our host as he took us for a tour of the areca and paddy farms. Later, following another healthy and filling breakfast, we set off for Kodachadri – the place where Adi Shankaracharya is said to have meditated. The host had arranged for jeeps to take us uphill to the pundit’s house.
It was a bumpy ride to the top, but well worth the views that were awaiting us as we trekked a short 30 mins distance to the peak. Things had changed since the last time I was there many years ago. Noticeably now, there was a statue of the saint in the stone sanctum where he is said to have spent time in meditation. A pujari was eager to narrate the story and was happy to accept any donations as he conducted arathi and offered “prasadam”. We spent about 30 minutes there, catching our breath before heading down, back towards the jeeps.
We reached the Farmstay a little late in the afternoon, but having intimated our hosts early, we once again had sumptuous lunch, prepared in true Malnad style. A game of volleyball followed as we helped set up a court – excellent teamwork and a team building activity, if there ever was one! Later in the evening, we made our way to the SiddhiVinayaka temple, a beautiful temple, hardly 2-3 kms from the farmstay. It was a pleasant and calming experience. The night was spent watching a T20 International match, back at the Farmstay. An excellent day had drawn to a close.
The next day, on our day of departure, we visited the backwaters of the Sharavati river. We went on a nice little Motor Boat ride out into the backwaters, with the greenery on both banks giving us company. All too soon, it was time to depart. Loaded with memories of a great stay and some choice local produce including pure honey and ghee, we made our way back to Shivamogga, in time for our train scheduled to depart at around 3:00 p.m. from the railway station.
Easily a place to recommend time and again, it is a must-visit. Be it with friends or family or even a corporate outing, Barekal Farmstay has something for everyone.