Why are we doing this?

Do you ever wonder if Rishikesh is just about Yoga and relaxing? Do you ever wonder what influence the tourists have on the underlying Rishikesh culture? Do you ever wonder if there are any alternatives for caring travelers to experience the real indigenous lifestyle? Is there a way you can visit Rishikesh and leave a positive impact behind it?

In the Rishikesh area today, tourism is shaping the movement of goods within a local context full of history and traditions. For this reason, we wanted to provide a way for the tourists to truly witness this context and to interact with it in a genuine manner, leaving a positive footprint behind. To achieve this, a part of Uddibaba’s profit is donated to the Kyarki Foundation to work towards the uplift of the hill farmers through Sustainable Rural Development projects. 

Our goal is to help you find these answers. For example, did you know that just over a decade 50% of the hill population of Uttarakhand migrated away from their villages? Did you also know that the hill population of Uttarakhand highly relies on agriculture and natural farming practices but these sectors are in a crisis? And what about those ancient trading routes that went all the way to Tibet passing through Uttarakhand – and probably Rishikesh as well – known by the Europeans as early as the 1600s? 

Why are we uplifting Farmers?

Ans. Because the farmers are the backbone of our economy. They are the ones who are working in the fields in any weather at any time of the year in order to provide you with the food you eat every day. Considering that 75% of the Indian population derives its livelihood from agriculture, and every fourth farmer in the world is an Indian, this statement holds even greater importance when doing business within such fragile areas. 

Why are we supporting the farmers of Uttarakhand Himalaya?

Ans. We are supporting the farmers of Uttarakhand Himalaya because we are born in Rishikesh and we feel responsible for protecting our local farmers from the phenomena of globalisation and mass tourism. 60% of the hill population of Uttarakhand depends on farming, and agriculture is an integrated part of the Garhwali culture. For these reasons, we want to support those projects that improve the financial security of the farmers and the quality and safety of the food our tourists eat. On top of that, we promote agriculture as a tool to achieve a circular economy, and we promote the diversification of incomes by integrating Uddibaba’s ecotourism services within the agrarian lifestyle of the villagers. 

Why are we running a Farmstay?

Ans. Uddibaba Farmstay is an active part of a larger Rural Development project in which we are working for reverting hill migration. You can find out more details at www.kyarkifoundation.org We are producing solutions to diversify the incomes of the hill farmers so that they will have alternatives to the cheap labor work they can find in the city. We believe that hill emigration is partly due to the fact that villagers’ resources are not properly managed and taken advantage of. Our first solution has been the Seven Super seeds Model, whereby a farmer can cultivate seven different crops throughout the year and earn higher returns as compared to traditional crops such as sugarcane, wheat, and rice. We began experimenting with our first crop (chia seeds) back in 2017. Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) is a very healthy functional food. When farmed, it is resistant to pests and bugs. Chia needs no irrigated water and it is not sought after by wild animals. We have been the first to introduce the chia crop in Uttarakhand. We are now conducting an agribusiness research study to assess the best marketing and pricing strategies for the farmers to join the project and benefit from chia farming.

Why did we come up with the idea of a farmstay?

After analyzing the local context for three years, we understood that agriculture alone cannot be the solution to hill emigration in Uttarakhand. Other sectors in the plains look more promising, despite the low wages and job insecurity. The young generation tends not to be interested in farming because of their witnessing the unstable economic status of their parents involved with farming, who are as well discouraging their children to follow their example. The young generation is left with the sole option to migrate and find employment in the new mass tourism industry, or in traditional sectors such as the military.

In the Garhwali region, most people opt for a job in the hotel and tourism industries, hence we thought of a farmstay as a way to bridge the gap between the future and the past. 

We discovered that in Uttarakhand a lot of beautiful spots are still unvisited because of a lack of roads, facilities and tourist services. If we built a model that could fit within the existing realities, perhaps we could reach all of the Uttarakhand hills even before those things are built! 

Then, the catchy name Uddibaba naturally came up… it means “Oh my God!” in Hindi.

And that’s exactly what you end up uttering, after a God-damn steep and unsignaled path, when you will have found yourself in the middle of nowhere, only surrounded by peaceful locals and beautiful ancient scenery. 

check out how are we doing it?