I was floating in the pool, trying to trace Orion with my little fingernail, but something wasn’t right. The stars were twinkling a little too much and there were simply too many of them moving around. The pitter-patter of Marshall’s paws on the wet ground soon drew my attention away from the dancing sky to the wagging tail, when suddenly, the lights went out. And there they were, hundreds or thousands of them, on every bush and every tree. Fireflies.
The sugarcane and paddy fields stretched as far as the eye could see, broken only by herbs and vegetable patches. There was marigold to attract bugs, garlic to repel them, and the urea for fertilisers came from the resident cows. “That’s where the wild elephant stepped,” our host Ashok Singh pointed at a crater in the field. It had come looking for some hooch the local villagers were brewing.
About 40 minutes away from Dehradun city, Dudly Manor is a charming, not-so-little organic farmstay at the foothills of the Himalaya. You can drive down to Rishikesh or Haridwar for day trips, but there’s enough to do at Dudly itself. We spent a morning exploring the vast farm, and dairy unit. Ashok’s innovative farming practices are fascinating to watch. You can try your hand at pottery, go birding or for a safari, and also take a private cooking lesson with Chef Amal Kumar from Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney; we highly recommend the hand-rolled pastas!
With the Ganga on one side, and the Yamuna on the other, the old-hunting-lodge-style manor sits at the mouth of the Rajaji National Park. If you peer beyond the woods on a clear day, you can even see as far as the Shivaliks on the other side.
Based on the concept of agro-tourism, Dudly is a family-run organic farmstay managed by Vista Rooms deep in the Suswa valley. Dudly recreates local experiences for guests where they can indulge in tractor rides, traditional Garhwali cooking on a chulha, and even milk cows.