We are a British-Vietnamese couple. We stayed at Amrit Kunja farm for a week. Jeeban and his family made us very welcome and we felt part of the family almost immediately. There is a happy and active feeling at the farm, with three generations including the healthy and happy children. Their permaculture project is impressive, and we could have learned a lot if we had spent more time there. The mix of tree species, vegetables, medicinal plants and pepper vines create a productive system which is also friendly to wildlife, especially birds. Although we arrived in winter, a quiet time for farm work, we were still able to take part in building a new house, cooking traditional Nepali food, and helping with household tasks. This left us plenty of time to explore. The village of Syankudi and the surrounding area are peaceful and beautiful. Wildlife is abundant and there is easy access to hills with breathtaking mountain views. People in the area are relaxed, friendly and helpful, and traditional culture is strong. We would love to come back next time we are in Nepal.
Michael and Mai Linh
This was our first ever agro-volunteer experience and it has truly been one of the most enjoyable experiences of our time in Nepal. We stayed for two weeks with the Bastola family and it was nothing short of wonderful. They made us feel a part of the family right away. We learned so much — the culture, the food, the language, the plants, and more. We were immersed in nature. We woke up with the birds and bugs to wonderful views of the hills and lake. We helped with the digging and planting of vegetables, helped cut grass for the buffalos and goats, and harvested fruits and vegetables. They have so many different useful plants (fruits, vegetables, and medicinal)!! The days were laid back and relaxing, and we were able to simply enjoy being there. We also enjoyed going to the lake as well as the waterfalls.The food was delicious (dherrai mitho chha!!) and the family was unforgettable. We recommend Amrit Kunja to anyone looking for a true Nepali farming experience with a wonderful family.
Thank you Bastola family for everything. We miss you and are looking forward to returning.
Brian and Whitney (shiva ra parbati)
We stayed with the Bastola family on their organic farm for a week with Julian. Their farm is incredible! It is gorgeous and bursting with life, with amazing views of Begnas Lake to make it even more beautiful. There are over 500 different organic plant species including vegetables, fruits, and medicinal plants. Their main crop is black pepper, which can be seen sprawling around most tree trunks on the farm.
As flowering season was upon us, beautiful colors burst all around us. Many gorgeous birds visited and left us in awe of their bright hues. Butterflies frequented the area, fluttering around trees and lotus flowers.Every day we would wake up quite early and help out as needed on the farm. My favorite activity was helping plow one of the fields to plant maize.
We used buffalo borrowed from neighbors to plow the earth and spread manure. They were in the process of planting many new crops, so most of our work revolved around getting field space ready for planting.It was incredible living with the Bastola family.
They made room for us in their home, a traditional Nepali-style house with a mud-floored kitchen and a few bedrooms. Nepali houses feature a covered porch in front, as well as a narrow staircase leading to another covered porch upstairs where more bedrooms can be found.
We ate delicious dal bhat prepared by Ama (the mother of the home) daily. Her dal bhat was by far the most palatable we ate in all our time in Nepal. She also made delicious roti, as well as our favorite treat, masala milk tea.Having the experience of living with a Nepali family made us understand Nepali culture so much more deeply. We had a chance to see how genuinely Nepali people value family. Family members work together, encourage one another, tease each other and always stick together. Family closeness extends to neighbors as well. When walking around the village, we could tell how well everybody in the area knew and respected one another.We wish the best for the Bastola family as they expand their farm, and recommend others visit their farm if they are in the pokhara.
Dani Haims and Taylor Engels
Our time at Amrit Farms was very positive and inspiring for us, and easily one of the highlights of our 3 months in Nepal. We only wish that we had visited sooner in our trip so that we could have spent more time there. The entire Bastola family was so welcoming to us, and we truly felt at home. Everyone was very patient in teaching us what they knew so well about permaculture farming, cooking, and daily life in rural Nepal. The family was able to speak and or understand English very well, which made communication easier, us more at ease and even taught us some Nepali. They were happy to answer any question we had as we learned new ways of doing things. One of the times ‘Ama’ (Mother) was making Dal bhat, the traditional meal of Nepal and what is eaten twice a day, she had me sit in the kitchen and took the time to teach me all of the spices she used, how to grind them by hand and their Nepali name. She was also very patient with our relearning to peel potatoes when we helped out! ‘Baba’ (Father) was extremely knowledgeable about traditional medicine/farming and was enthusiastic about teaching it.
We were fortunate enough to be able to spend Teej festival with the family and all of the visiting relatives, welcomed by all. Family is one of the most important things in Nepal and we were honored to be included. Since we came during monsoon season and a festival, there were less intense projects to do on the farm at this time but we were able to help with smaller projects such as tilling a vegetable plot by hand, harvesting grass for livestock, and preparing seedlings of black pepper plants. We learned a lot about both permaculture and traditional medicines even in such a short time frame. We really hope to be able to come back to Amrit at some point and would highly recommend them to anyone else.If you have any questions we would love to answer them.
All the best,Kendal and Ian Smith
(aka Radha and Krishna)
Such a beautiful place especially because of this wonderfull family ! I love you so much, you are in my heart for the eternity.
My time at Amrit Kunj Organic Permaculture Farm. was simply incredible. The family are such warm and welcoming people. They really treat you as their own. I really felt part of the family, so I do miss being there very much. There are so many positive things to say, so many reasons to visit this wonderful place. The farm itself is amazing. Such a variety of plants and opportunities to learn about organic farming. The food was not only the best I had in Nepal but some of the best food I have ever had. The farm is close to Begnas Lake which is a great place to swim on warm days.
So I not only highly recommend visiting, I will say that if you want to have an experience on a permaculture farm and the Nepali culture then don’t miss out on coming here. It was not only a wonderful experience for me, it was life changing. The outlook Jeeban has about life, organic living and creating a strong family unit has inspired me. He is full of love and light. When you are there you will feel the love, peace and positive energy flowing.
The Amrit Kunja Organic Permaculture Farm (A.K.O.P.F) was started 1987 AD by my parents Surya Mohan Bastola and Sita Devi Bastola. We are the first black pepper producing farm in the Western Development Region, Nepal. Besides being a highly renowned cooking spice, organic pepper has a multitude of medicinal benefits.
The Black Pepper or Piper Nigrum plant of the family Piperaceae is a perennial vine and climber that requires supporting trees or pole to grow. In our farm, you will witness hundreds of black pepper vines climbing their way up the variety of tres in a harmonious symbiosis. We preserve more than 600 types of medicinal plants, herbs, shrubs, fruits, vegetables and our farm spread in many acres land. Besides all crop, the top most crop of our farm is black pepper. We produced around 200 kg organic black pepper every year and sell in the local market. It is widely used as a spice and as a medicine all around the world. The pepper plant begins producing small round berries after about three years of plantation. It can reach heights of many meters by its aerial roots. Its flowers are slander, dense spikes with about 50 blossoms each. The fruits are green and when they begin to turn the red the fruits are ready to harvest. They are spread out to dry in the sun for couple of days. Black pepper has disease preventing and health promoting properties. Black peppers has significant role in fighting fat deposition, anti cancer effect, anti oxidation effect, anti bacterial activity etc.
For anyone wishing to learn more about Black Pepper, natural organic permaculture farming, medicinal plants, Nepali language and culture, the best Nepali cooking, and just life in general, make your way over
If you are currently in Nepal, or happen to find yourself here in the future, do yourself a huge favour and come visit or stay at Amrit Kunj Organic Permaculture Farm.
It is the most beautiful family owned farm looking out over Begnas Tal lake. I have been completely blown away by the warmth and love in this home. I have only been here a few days now but have been completely welcomed as part of the family and feel so at home. For anyone wishing to learn more about natural farming, medicinal plants, Nepali language and culture, the best Nepali cooking, and just life in general, make your way over.