Parekh Farms on Airbnb: A Sustainable Homestay Far Away From The Bustling City


Set amidst beautiful gardens and orchids, Parekh Farms is a homestay property in the lush outskirts of Nashik and has been the Parekh’s home for three generations since 1982. The family has been hosting on Airbnb since 2009, sharing their abode with interesting people and building lifelong, meaningful connections along the way. Anjali Parekh, who is an architect by profession runs an independent practice at the property.

Guests will find that all the rooms have an attached courtyard garden to watch the moonlight dancing on dew strewn leaves at night and hear the music of rain. The farm has an abundant bounty of fruits like mango, guavas, bananas, papayas and mulberries along with seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, chilies, aubergines, lettuce, basil, and leafy greens etc. The hosts love investing their energies in growing local rice by the use of a fast-disappearing technique. Find out what the hosts, Anjali Parekh and Sumit Parekh have to say about their homestay as they talk to ELLE about sustainability and the old-world charm of their farm.

ELLE: What was the reason behind putting up your farm on Airbnb?

The Parekhs: Initially, when we had asked around on platforms that we could host on, our friends who had experienced Airbnb both as guests as well as hosts, had recommended it to us. Personally, we also liked the idea and ethos of Airbnb that aimed to being together like minded guests and hosts.

ELLE: You’ve been hosting guests since 2009, in all these years, what are some moments that have stayed with you?

The Parekhs: We are very fortunate to do the work we do. Hosting someone who has come to the farm for a holiday means that we get to meet people who are happy. Somehow, the cares of city life just seem to vanish, or at least recede into the far background, whilst in residence on the farm. And, in this relaxed atmosphere, yes, we have had a chance to hear of life experiences that are astounding. Having heard from others, we can say this: it does take an extraordinary amount of luck indeed, but it is possible to survive a tsunami; an earthquake; miracle babies sometimes do get born; adoption papers can miraculously bring children and their parents together; and, to borrow freely from the end credits of 1970s Bollywood, love can indeed conquer all.

ELLE: What is the best part about hosting people from all over India?

The Parekhs: Both the divine, and the wine, do bring people from all over India to Nashik. We are blessed to live in a country with such a rich cultural past and meeting travellers from our diverse country definitely enriches our hosting experience.

ELLE: Sustainability is at the heart of your farmhouse. As an architect, what are some sustainable additions you’ve made to the property while keeping in line its old-world charm that your guests can look forward to?

The Parekhs: As an architect building on ancestral land, there is a doubled responsibility of preserving the hard-won experiences of the past while making the everyday seamlessly modern and relevant to the times we now live in. My architecture is about building in harmony with the environment. Incorporating design and technology to sustainably use resources has been the foremost priority. I have tried my best to build such that our energy requirements are low, using solar power generation, wastewater recycling, water harvesting and making a bio diverse food forest.

ELLE: Describe what a day in a guest’s stay at your property would look like.

The Parekhs: For someone arriving for the first time, it might be a bit simpler. To explore a bit, the garden, the farm, the books cupboard. To start hovering around the dining area because lunch aromas waft, and waft temptingly. To have lunch, especially the home-grown rice and daal and heirloom recipe achaar. Yes, lunch is often an event, which one discovers after the post lunch nap!

Then, if one is exploring Nashik’s wineries, it is a lovely time to be there at sunset. We like to keep it a bit understated, but there is also fantastic weather almost every day, some lovely treks and gentle walking trails, and the rural countryside. And then dinner and, in cold weather, sometimes also a bonfire post dinner. Homemade bread and jams and farm fresh fruits. Somehow, one always wakes up hungry on the farm and there always seems to be place to have just one more omelette or just a little more pohe. 

After breakfast, there is always some work happening on the farm and, often, our guests do join in the activity of the season. Everything from planting rice in the paddy field to plucking mangoes or sowing vegetable seeds. There are always vegetables that need planting and caring for. And kids, also sometimes their parents, enjoy doing this work. Perhaps a visit with our parents to some of the social projects or the village schools, that the family is involved with in the village and in the surrounding rural areas.

ELLE: Lastly, is there any selection criteria that you use to make sure that the people you host abide by the sustainable practices followed at your property?

The Parekhs: The Airbnb platform seems to do a very fine job of introducing our farm to visitors who will enjoy Farm Living. Our guests have the entire world available as an option for their holiday, yet they seek out our farm for the experience it offers. We, in turn, welcome the gentle soul who wants to live in happy peace on this wonderful earth.

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