It’s not often that people choose to visit Goa during the monsoon season, mainly because Goa’s natural beauty truly shines during these rainy months. The lush green landscapes take center stage, showcasing their dominance in the areas you traverse, as if nature itself is eager to make its presence known.
The monsoon season in Goa is traditionally a time for exploring the surrounding areas, but this time, we decided to do something different. We ventured a little further, crossing the border to discover new landscapes and connect more deeply with nature. During our journey, we stumbled upon a hidden gem called Maachli, nestled in the picturesque western region of India. The drive from Goa to Maachli takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, and it’s well worth the journey.
About Maachli – The homestay
Maachli is an eco-friendly farm stay/homestay that provides the luxurious experience of being intimately connected with nature, set amidst a delightful tropical forest, far removed from the chaos of city life. The name seemed somewhat familiar, yet its significance remained quite elusive. Before venturing into the farm, I was determined to clarify this matter. Up to this point, I held the belief that this experience would be worthwhile. As we arrived at the location, the first thing that caught my attention was my mobile network acting up. It was a clear sign that the homestay had no network connectivity. Now, some may wonder, “Why does it matter?” Well, for someone heavily on connectivity for business, this is of utmost importance. The need to stay connected to the outside world is paramount. However, I decided to set this concern aside for the time being and hoped silently, “I hope there’s a network.” Curious, I inquired with someone about the meaning of the name, and they explained that it referred to “huts constructed by farmers to safeguard their farms.”
The walk before the Maachali homestay is about a few minutes but it’s serene. But just a few steps I knew this would be a great chance to relax in the embrace of the natural world. Here, you can immerse yourself in the harmonious melodies of chirping birds, a far more soothing symphony than the cacophony of city traffic. You can also explore the diverse array of plants and flowers, which is infinitely more calming than waiting in long traffic queues.
Before arriving at the Maachali homestay area, you encounter a sturdy wooden bridge designed for single-file passage, offering a picturesque route from one side to the other. It has been quite some time since my last stroll along this pathway. Upon crossing this bridge, you will find a collection of cottages thoughtfully positioned at a safe distance from each other. There are approximately 8-9 identical cottages currently in place, with plans for additional ones in progress.
The house is constructed primarily from wood, giving it a distinct appearance compared to typical village houses. These houses are compact in size. As the houses are located on a farm, it’s common to encounter mosquitoes, so they offer mosquito-repellent incense sticks. The bathroom features remarkable antique copper utensils, and the flooring has a nostalgic feel. What stood out was the door, which had a thick sliding latch, reminiscent of those commonly used in the past. The rooms are suitable for 2-3 people, and they also offer extra beds if needed at an affordable price.
What truly caught my attention was the room’s view. There’s a curtain you can pull to block it, but I doubt you’d want to. It offers a breathtaking morning vista, with lush green trees and the soothing sounds of birds acting as your personal wake-up call. I was a bit concerned about my morning tea, wondering if I would receive it. However, to my pleasant surprise, the owners of the Maachali homestay, Prathamesh, and his family, kindly arranged it for me in the morning. When I inquired if this was a regular service, they mentioned that snacks and tea/coffee could be arranged if requested in advance.
After settling into the Maachali homestay, and since it was evening, it was time for snacks, which were included in the package. We were pleasantly served with Bhajiyas and chutney. These weren’t the typical fancy snacks you find in the city but rather a classy rural variation. The chefs were gracious in accommodating our requests. As the number of cottages is limited, the caretakers personally contact each guest. It follows a customary arrangement where all guests gather and socialize in the dining area. From our observations, we noticed tourists coming from Pune, Mumbai, and various western regions of India. Prathamesh’s father is usually very interactive during the visit and ensures the well-being of everyone.
Before we could finish enjoying the Bhajiyas (Yes, we could smell them back in the cottage), what truly caught our attention were the outdoor seating arrangements outside the cottages. These beautifully crafted old-style seats, primarily consisting of cloth and wood, brought back memories of days gone by when we had similar ones. Just by looking at them, I could tell that we would spend some quiet mornings seated there, listening to the soothing stories told by the morning birds, feeling the gentle breeze, and admiring the majestic trees. Evenings could be a bit challenging due to mosquitoes, but the incense sticks proved to be quite useful.
The Lady MasterChefs
It was snack time, and naturally, we congregated in the dining area. Just a few steps away, we found the Kitchen Hut, reminiscent of kitchens from the past. It featured simpler kitchen tools and a rustic setup, with an excessive usage of wood-based cooking and cow dung floors.
The entirely female chef team is completely dedicated to assisting you with anything you require from the kitchen. One of the women from the group kindly gave us a tour and allowed us to participate in cooking practices that are still prevalent in many Indian villages. The kitchen is open for use, and they even permit guests to use it for special requests. During our stay, we observed a family cooking pasta, and the women were curious and interested in what was being prepared.
The woman in the photograph guided us through the cooking process. While she was busy preparing the Bhajiyas that were about to be served, she explained the steps and demonstrated how they were made. The sight of the red-hot boiling utensil was somewhat intimidating, but she handled it with great care and precision. It was quite the experience, as they say!
The Bhajiyas were served in the dining area which is another authentic seating area, and a wooden structure with benches. Reminded us of the School days. It’s a self-service area where the helper boys keep placing the items that are ready and you simply have to follow the typical buffet system. A blend of a modern touch. The area is common to all, hence you tend to cross paths with other families that stay at the other cottages.
One of the highlights of the dining system is that Prathamesh and his team inquire about dietary restrictions, and the meals are customized accordingly before you arrive. They are very accommodating when it comes to food preferences. Given our discerning taste buds, we made a special request for mutton for the next day’s lunch through Prathamesh’s father. What we discovered was that Prathamesh’s father traveled nearly 20-30 kilometers to source fresh mutton, and the preparation was exceptional. Typically, these meals are accompanied by Bhakari, a labor-intensive process, but he made sure that the food prioritized quality.
Please excuse my lack of photography skills, but I was so engrossed in the natural surroundings that I didn’t prioritize improving my photography. They offer excellent options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Typically, the meals consist of bread, rice, curry, and some local sweets. The fish they serve is also locally sourced, which is not commonly found in your usual town. It doesn’t take long to realize that food cooked over a wood fire is exceptionally delicious. The cost of the food is typically covered in the price of the stay.
As darkness falls, a profound silence envelops the maachli homestay, broken only by the gentle rush of water and, of course, the sounds of our own talks. The night insects assert their presence, but we usually counter them by lighting agarbattis, which we strategically place near the dining area.
On a different note, by this point, I had already discovered the network situation, and it was a challenge to find even a single bar of signal strength. They did provide us with Wi-Fi, but its coverage was restricted to certain areas. Usually, you wouldn’t receive a network signal in the rooms or the dining area. The best reception could be found just outside the individual cottages. However, staying disconnected from the network turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to truly connect with nature. We could immerse ourselves in the surroundings with the assurance that once my network connection was restored, the notifications would certainly make up for their silence.
The Natural Fish Spa, For Free at Maachli
Nestled in the serene embrace of nature, this enchanting place offers a delightful treat for the senses through its small access to a meandering river. The experience of dipping one’s legs into the backyard stream of water is nothing short of rejuvenating. It’s a moment that allows you to reconnect with the simplicity and beauty of the natural world.
As you sit on the riverbank, the gentle current of the water caresses your feet, soothing away the weariness of everyday life. The cool, crystal-clear waters create a refreshing contrast to the warm embrace of the sun. You can feel the stress and worries melt away with each passing ripple.
What truly sets this place apart is the unique Pebble Spa it offers. The riverbed is adorned with smooth, round pebbles, creating a natural and therapeutic surface. As you walk or gently massage your feet over these pebbles, it’s as though nature herself is providing you with a relaxing foot massage. The pebbles stimulate acupressure points, invigorating your senses and leaving you with a sense of tranquility and well-being.
But that’s not all; this place has a special surprise waiting for you beneath the water’s surface.
Natural fish therapy is a fascinating experience you won’t want to miss. It’s a unique sensation, both ticklish and soothing, and it leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft and rejuvenated.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation, a deeper connection with nature, or just a memorable and unusual experience, this place’s river access, Pebble Spa, and natural fish therapy offer a truly remarkable journey. It’s a reminder that sometimes the most beautiful and therapeutic experiences can be found in the simplicity and purity of nature. Here, you can immerse yourself in the healing embrace of the natural world, allowing all your worries to flow away with the gentle current of the river.
My Favorite Dining place
The owners informed me that just a day before our arrival, this place had been submerged in a flood. There were several broken pieces of wood, and the dining area had even been filled with water. However, thanks to their dedicated efforts, the situation had significantly improved by the time we arrived. While the tables were still slightly damp (which was expected), it didn’t in any way compromise the overall experience. This lunch with my family turned out to be one of the most picturesque ones I’ve ever had. The lush greenery, the expansive sky, and the surrounding water created a stunning backdrop. Isn’t it remarkable? Well, it was in this very place that we savored the delicious mutton dish. Not the same, but got reminded of an experience I had a few years back at Giri Manjas – The best thali of Mangalore
Sachin Tendulkar Celebrating his 50th Birthday at Maachli
I was also told that Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar had his lunch for his 50th Birthday at this very place. He also went on to share his experience on social media.
Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday celebration at Maachli farm stay garnered significant attention, drawing attention to the undiscovered treasures of the Konkan region and the rising popularity of experiential travel. Travel enthusiasts in search of distinctive and immersive journeys are increasingly shifting their focus to unconventional destinations such as Sindhudurg, taking inspiration from the cricket legend’s preference.
Take a look below on the tweet he shared:
It's not every day that you hit a half-century, but when you do, it's worth celebrating with the ones who matter the most. Recently celebrated a special 50 in a quiet serene village with my team – my family! ❤️
PS: Missed Arjun a lot as he is busy with the IPL. pic.twitter.com/KjIrRvciOu
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) May 5, 2023
More about Maachli
Maachli has been popularly covered by many presses (for example, Travelers of India, Tripoto) and also won awards in the responsible tourism segment. It also has been a MakeMyTrip IFHA (India’s Favourite Homestays Awards) finalist.
There are a few things you can explore such as Parule Bazaar, and Devbag Beach which are closer to this place. In addition, the Sindhudug airport is nearby too.
In case you want to know more about this place, here are the contact details:
Whether you prefer to lose yourself in a favorite book, practice yoga and meditation, engage in meaningful conversations with our hosts, or simply cherish quality time with your loved ones, Maachli is the perfect place to rediscover yourself.